A few weeks ago I was chatting on the blog about how small, inexpensive changes and updates can make a big difference to the look and feel of your home. I've been thinking more about it and I thought I'd continue the theme this week but with a bit of twist. Here are a few low/no cost tips that will keep your home looking and feeling its absolute best. The twist is that they aren't decorating as such and would probably be considered more as maintenance and, therefore, not quite as fun or exciting. But with a bit of time and elbow-grease the results are well worth it!
1. Clean Your Windows - I know, I know...it's not a favourite chore for anyone but clean, sparkling windows not only improve your view and increase the amount of light into your home, they make it feel fresh and airy. And, with right tools, it actually doesn't take too long. A simple vinegar and water solution is usually best too so no need for expensive cleaners.
2. Paint Touch Ups - all of those little nicks and chips in paintwork, particularly on door architraves and skirting boards, literally takes the shine off your walls and trim work. A good clean with sugar soap and a quick dab of paint returns the lustre and life back into the finish. This is why it's always a good idea to keep a little bit of extra paint from any paint job in an airtight container. Just jot down the colour details and where used for future reference.
3. Clean Carpets - it's amazing what a deep clean can do for your rugs and carpets. They look brighter, feel more luxurious, and smell better. Short of a professional clean though, a really thorough vacuum can also fluff and freshen carpets. I have to admit I'm now a total Dyson convert. We have two dogs who have run of the house and our Dyson "Animal" does short work of the fur and completely freshens the rugs in the house. And, their Stick Vacuum is fabulous for quick pick-ups!
4. Declutter - the old saying "a place for everything and everything in it's place" is absolutely true. And, the less "stuff" you have the less you have to find a place for. While I could never live in a minimalist environment and I'm definitely not a clean freak, I do find that having the things we use everyday in their place certainly helps to eliminate those extra stress points in your day and make us more effective. One of the most useful pieces of furniture is a console or hall table with drawers to corral keys, sunglasses, wallets and, with a power cord tucked into one of the drawers, a great place to store and recharge all of our electronic devices out of sight.
5. Swap out Cold Light Bulbs - as our beloved incandescent bulbs with the beautiful warm glow are being phased out we have, until recently, been faced with cold, life-sucking compact flourescent bulbs (CFLs). As time has progressed though, so has, thankfully, the technology available for energy saving light bulbs. So, get yourself some "warm" light globes, not cool or daylight, with zero light up time and good rendering qualities. They'll never match the beautiful warm glow of an incandescent but they are getting much better and, while you may mourn the loss of the incandescent, feel good in the glow of doing the right thing by the environment.
6. And a bonus tip: Just Add Flowers
- whether you cut a few stems from your garden, pick up the daily special from your local shop, or splurge on a special bouquet, add flowers! They inject beautiful colour & texture, a fresh vibe, and, often, a gorgeous scent. And, the great news is that artificial flowers have come a long way from the plastic fantastics of our grandma's era. They look incredibly real, and while they don't have a beautiful aroma, they will last forever - without ever having to change the water in the vase.