13 Ways to Restart Your Home for the New Year

If you're as weary of your home as you are of 2014, it might be time to shake up your space. Let's be honest: If we want changes to stick, we have to know ourselves. Be realistic about what you can reasonably do in the time you have, and pace yourself. Complete just one improvement a day, and watch your love for your space—and your brand-new herb garden—take root.

  1. Plant an Indoor Herb Garden

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    In winter, when everything green goes dormant, it's a good idea to focus on something to nurture. Adding plants isn't just an aesthetic practice: Studies cited by Psychology Today show that houseplants can help us improve reaction times, reduce stress, and even lower blood pressure levels. 


    Related:  10 Forgiving Houseplants You Can Grow Anywhere

  2. Organize Your Closet

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    That's right: It's finally time to clean out your closet! Your first challenge? Thinning the hoard of clothes you've accumulated over the years. Once that's done, sort through all the miscellany you may have also stashed in the closet: all your mementos, photos, and old letters. Pare down the collection, but take your time so you won't have any regrets when you take out the trash. 

  3. Make Your Own Rug

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    On these frigid winter mornings, your tender little tootsies take a real beating, especially when you forget to wear socks to bed and you wince in anticipation as you lower your feet to the cold, bare floor. Thankfully, this is an easy problem to remedy. Make your own rug, and you can even customize it to suit your bedroom's dimensions and colors.

  4. Spray-Paint Something

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    You know that one piece of furniture that's always looked out of place? You snatched it off the sidewalk or plucked it from your grandmother's house, and now it just sits there all alone like the new girl in a middle school cafeteria. If it's bothering you, don't stop to figure out why. Grab the furniture and a can of spray paint, head out to the backyard, and give the piece a thorough coat. Let it dry completely before bringing it back inside.


    Related:  Sitting Pretty—11 Amazing Chair Makeovers

  5. Frame Anything

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    There are no rules when it comes to what to frame—and that's a good thing! Sure, some people don't like living without boundaries or interior design dictates, but you're adventurous. Who really needs guidelines? Hang up old albums, dried flowers, or plates for a touch of the unexpected. 

  6. Fix Your Lighting

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    Lighting is all about degrees: too bright and you feel like you're being prepped for surgery; too dark, and you're like Indiana Jones stumbling through a cave. You need multiple light sources—floor lamp, desk lamp, pendant light, and more—to create a balanced effect. And don't neglect the closet! If yours lacks light, consider adding LED strips around the door frame. You'll thank yourself in the morning when you actually make it to work on time.  


    Related:  10 Classic Ways to Brighten a Dark Room

  7. Mix Up Your Furniture

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    Moving the big stuff around is fun and instantly gratifying. In fact, rearranging the furniture is the perfect zero dollar upgrade. Focus on your largest freestanding pieces first: your media console, bookcase, couch, or coffee table. Are you moving furniture in a small space? Pull everything a few inches away from the wall, take a seat, and see how the new arrangement feels. Practice trusting yourself in the New Year—you'll know if it's right. 

  8. Update Hardware

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    Are you a renter who hates your kitchen? Are you dealing with outdated cabinets, perma-stained walls, and depressing linoleum floors? Welcome to the club. Switching out the hardware on your kitchen cabinets, dresser, or desk doesn't seem like a whole lot of change, but it will update your space. Just trust us on this one. 

  9. Refresh Your Shower

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    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American takes an eight minute shower. That seems like plenty of time to get clean, but if you've ever trekked five blocks in a snowstorm, you know that a shower's purpose goes beyond good hygiene. The shower is an antidote to the cold, a standing sauna, and a place to think and make plans. So go ahead and replace that worn-out shower head. While you're at it, treat yourself to new shower curtains that amp up the style—and your mood.

  10. Organize the Office

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    Clutter will always congregate where you spend the most time. The first step toward organizing a work space at home is to make sure you have some kind of system for incoming paperwork, even if that system just consists of shredding everything. Designate areas for writing utensils, create a management system for cords, and add a plant to liven up the joint. 


    Related:  11 Ways to Keep Your REAL Desktop Organized

  11. Paint the Front Door

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    Nothing makes you re-evaluate your place in this universe quicker than a chipped and peeling front door. As the daily divider between your private space and the outside world, your door makes a statement about what kind of homeowner you are—and you might not like what it has to say. A fresh coat of paint creates a major impact with minimal work. And really, isn't that the best kind of DIY?

  12. Empty the Medicine Cabinet

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    If you haven't examined your medicine cabinet in months, this one's for you. Like closets, medicine cabinets benefit from a good purge every once in a while. Check the labels on your medications and dispose of anything that's expired. Did you find blue eyeshadow you haven't worn since the '80s? Chuck it. Once everything has been cleared out, scrub the shelves and neatly replace the contents. Consider magnetic paint to gain more storage on the inside door.

  13. Buy New Bedding

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    You can't wait to get there, and you never really want to leave. Am I describing a a Caribbean getaway in January, or your bed on any given winter morning? And does it really matter? If we're talking about winter beds, flannel sheets are the standard for good reason. A new pillow wouldn't hurt either. 

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