How to Repair, Reuse and Shop Your Home for a Fresh Look in the New Year


Every New Year, brings with it something…well…new. This year’s “new” began during the Christmas season with a steady stream of calls for slipcovers. Historically, the holiday season is quiet as people focus their time and energy getting ready for Christmas. Whether it’s a sign of good economic times or folks wanting to kick 2016 off with big changes, I am certainly grateful for the work.

For myself, the month of January is about cleaning up, fixing it and mixing it up. I rearrange the winter decorations that began as part of my Christmas displays and then make room for new items gifted to me at Christmastime. Mostly, though, I’m here, in my home hibernating from the cold weather. Naturally, I am focused on my surroundings and hammering out those DYI projects on my list during the next few months.

I begin slowly by mixing up or editing what goes on my table tops. Since all of it was put away to make room for Christmas decorations, now is the perfect time to evaluate what’s going to come back out. Sometimes, I’ll remove something completely – like too many framed pictures. Sometimes, I’ll update the frames. I know there’s a ton of pictures taken over the holidays; hopefully one or two will be great to display.

Next, I shop my home for items to create a new coffee table vignette. I look everywhere from the China closet to the hall closet. Often, I find items in the most unlikely places put away for safe keeping or because I forget where I put it and bam a whole new theme comes into play. Of course, this can lead to swapping furniture from one room to another.

I keep coming into my kitchen and looking at the bookshelf. I thought about painting it. I haven’t decided against it but I am now toying with the idea of moving it to the family room; replacing it with a console table. The bookshelf will definitely fit into the look, feel and style of the family room. I might still paint it, too. And the console table will open the kitchen up and change the energy.

Switching out furniture is a great way to repurpose what you have and change the look, feel and style of your home without breaking the bank. It works for tables, chairs, lamps; nothing is off limits. I recently spoke with someone who is toying with flipping her living room sofas with those in her den. The scale is better for the den and the sofas are more comfortable. And she’s not stopping there as she contemplates slipcovering one set of sofas.

We still have two months of winter so now is a great time to undertake any kind of decorating job. From slipcovers to window treatments or accessories, like window benches and pillows, the impact can be as subtle or deliberate as you choose. Last winter, I replaced my drapes and the fabric I choose really warmed up the room.

Below left, my living room before I replaced my drapes. Below right, after. I recently replaced my slipcovers. Stay tuned for the full living room redo.

Just because we live with something for a long time and love it doesn’t mean we can’t change it. Change is good. Sometimes, the items can be repurposed and other times it must go. Out with the old and in with the new.

I also like to tackle repairs during the winter months and recently noticed the legs on some of my chairs are really scuffed. I’ll give them some TLC. With the wood chairs, a good polish or scratch filler does wonders. The painted chairs will require a little more work, but with some elbow grease they will be spic and span.

As I look around, I see pillow inserts that need to be replaced. This little trick will freshen up a sofa and a room in a snap. Tired of your bed shams; they too can be a quick fix to give your room a whole new vibe.

Years ago, I read a great book, “Simple Abundance,” where Sara Ban Breathnach talked about how handling her “things” was good for her soul. That resonated with me. The TLC I give to my home, filled with the things I love, definitely is nurturing myself. And I find winter is a great time to take stock, reorganize and beautify my nest.

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