With spring on the horizon, it’s natural to revisit, revise, and resolve to spruce things up in the coming months. Similar to “resolutions,” the choices we make each spring are really goals, and working towards and achieving our goals is a sure way to feeling accomplished and fulfilled. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your life or just make a few small but important tweaks, here are some starter ideas to help you make your own “decorating resolutions” – and design the coming months to be your best yet.
Start with a clean slate. The most economical way to make any home look brighter and better is to clear out what’s no longer necessary. Take a weekend to tackle the home office, attic, basement, or crammed closet. Non-profits like the amazing Dress for Success (dressforsuccess.org) accept gently used clothes to help struggling men and women feel confident when going on interviews.
Freshen up the bath. What could be your master bedroom’s private spa often turns into a storage space for neglected lotions and potions. Review your medicine cabinet and toss outdated medications, half-used bottles of skin treatments and years-old cosmetics, many of which lose their effectiveness after prolonged sitting. Once you’ve cleaned these out, consider freshening up your bathroom with a monogrammed bathmat, new hand towels, or scented candles.
Bring the outside in. Even if only for special occasions, treat yourself to fresh flowers. A simple orchid in the guest bath or new potted plants grouped near patio doors introduce natural elements to your home, can be long-lasting, and add a fresh, organic touch to your surroundings.
Think little luxuries – with big impact. Small changes can make a big difference. A sofa is one of your biggest decorating investments, but you don’t have to buy a new one to bring up the tone. Instead, new throw pillows can give your sofa a fresh look, without a big price tag. A luxurious throw can make that old, cozy club chair your favorite new reading place.
Curate your personal library. Many people are switching to e-books for new book purchases. All the more reason to tend to your existing library. Decide on a system that works for you, be it grouping books by size, subject matter, or style. A stack of handsome coffee table books, magazines or periodicals next to a favorite reading spot is informal and inviting. Consider donating those texts that don’t inspire you anymore to a local nursing home or hospice.
Picture your loved ones. Digital cameras have us printing photos less – but they then often go unseen by visiting family and friends. Pick stand-out shots from the last few years, have them professionally printed, and group together those with a common thread in similar frames. Less is more, so choose only your favorites – and spread them throughout your home.
Set down an anchor. Anchor and define common living areas with large rugs in durable fabrics like seagrass, wovens, and durable sisal, over which you can layer smaller rugs. In doing so, you help guide the eye to gathering spaces in your home.
Send the orphans packing. We’ve all got beloved “orphans” – the last remaining items of what once were stemware, silver, or china sets. Donate these items and start fresh with a new pattern – or, if you’re still in love with a style, hunt down pieces to complete the set by scouring ebay or finding online companies that replace pieces of retired china patterns.
Design the rest of your year. As mentioned before, resolutions are really goals – and goals are worth pursuing year-round. So plot out your design goals for the entire year. With the inspirations you’ve torn from magazines – both from past issues and things you see throughout the year – start your own design notebook with patterns, objects, colors, and rooms that catch your eye. Tackle projects one-by-one – not all at once.
Start small. Most importantly, start with a manageable mission. Repainting a bathroom or just getting your home office space clutter-free will give you a sense of accomplishment – and that feeling will inspire you to keep achieving your design resolutions at the speed that’s right for you.
David Phoenix is the principal and owner of David Phoenix Interior Design, one the most sought-after West Coast design firms. Though Los Angeles-based, Phoenix serves clients on a truly global scale, from Hollywood celebs to Middle Eastern royalty. With 20 years of design experience, Phoenix’s relaxed but chic designs have earned him a reputation as one of the country’s most influential designers. He’s been called one of America’s Top Young Designers by House Beautiful magazine, and his most recent collaborations with clients can be seen in Fall 2010’s Luxe Interiors and Design and the November 2010 cover of Architectural Digest.