Moving into a new home is a lot like starting a new relationship. At first, it’s exciting and fresh, you love its quirks and marvel at how much better it is than your last place. You go shopping for furniture and create Pinterest boards of the styles you want to recreate, imagining the happy times you and your home will spend together.
But after a while the shine can wear off. You get used to the things that once excited you, and can even be tempted to start looking at the property pages, wondering what it would be like to have a bigger bathroom or more outdoor space.
Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. And the good thing is that just because you’re getting a bit bored, that doesn’t mean you need to move or even give your house a complete makeover. There are plenty of ways to re-energise your home and reignite those early feelings without having to make dramatic changes or spend a huge amount of money.
Tackle the clutter
Do you avoid the spare room because it's become an unofficial dumping ground? Or get irritated when you can't find the right pot or pan in your kitchen cupboards, and order takeaway instead? Cluttered homes are no fun to live in, and according to James Wallman, author of Stuffocation: Living More with Less, our obsession with material possessions is making us stressed. Decluttering can help you enjoy your space again by weeding out anything you don't need or want, and leave you with a more ordered environment to live in.
Japanese tidiness expert Marie Kondo suggests going through everything you own in a strict order (as detailed in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and keeping only that which "sparks joy". Or you could go down the more extreme route described by renowned bloggers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists, and get rid of everything that isn't strictly essential. Whatever you do, organise what's left carefully, investing in decent (and ideally attractive) storage, so that there is a place for everything and you can always find what you need, when you need it.
Restyle your space
Sometimes the trick to getting a new look is not about getting rid of stuff and buying a bunch more. Instead, it's about reusing what you have in a different way. This could mean moving furniture around to create a whole new flow for your room, or taking things from one room and repurposing them in another. Whether it's a vase, a handful of cushions, a mirror or a side table, just seeing it in a different spot will make you notice it again and appreciate it once more.
A similar impact can be made by switching out the photos you have in your frames, updating old ones with more recent snaps, as well as moving artwork around. Consider putting up a couple of narrow picture shelves, so you can shuffle your pictures and prints as often as you like.
While you’re doing this reshuffling, take the chance to curate smaller decorative items into groupings that have more impact than the individual components otherwise would. Too many individually scattered candles, figurines, bud vases, gathered shells and other knick-knacks can create clutter.
Grouping them together on a vintage tray or under a Victorian cloche, for example, makes for an eye-catching focal point. If you want a real project, you could even swap out two rooms – the study and bedroom, or the living and dining rooms. Pretend that you're just moving in and work out what would work best.
Have a spring clean
We’re not suggesting your home isn’t clean, but on a daily or weekly basis most of us tend to just do the surface level stuff. Which means other bigger jobs can build up – cleaning the oven, shampooing the carpets, even vacuuming under the sofas. Give your home a proper spring clean, and you’ll realise that it’s more pleasant to live in.
If you're planning to move stuff around anyway as part of a restyle, this is an ideal time to tackle the cleaning, too. If you don't have the time, energy or inclination, get the professionals in. It will be worth it as you will suddenly find yourself wanting to bake in that shiny, clean oven, appreciating the feel of your carpets again and not worrying what you will find next time you have to retrieve a pen from under the sofa.
Fix those snags
You know the tap that’s been dripping for ages? Or the kitchen drawer that jams? Or the loose floorboard that squeaks so badly? None of those are big things, but when you’ve been living with them for ages, they can start to be a real annoyance. It might not feel like they’re really impacting on your feelings for your home, but you’ll notice a massive difference once you get them fixed.
So go around your house with a notebook and pen, and make a really thorough snagging list. Include everything from the sticking out nail that snags your jumpers to the blind that hangs just slightly skew, to the scuffed paintwork that may need a touch-up or possibly a whole new coat (which is still easier than repainting in a different shade).
Then either start fixing them one by one, or bite the bullet and get a handyman in to tackle the whole lot in one go. While you’re at it, think about other irritations that can be tackled without DIY expertise – if your tea cups are in a cupboard that’s too far away from your kettle, now’s the time to move them.
Create comfort corners
Most of us are creatures of habit, using rooms in a set way, whether that’s having a side of the sofa we prefer to sit on or a particular spot where we like to read. Often these emerge naturally, rather than being created, which can mean that they’re not quite as perfect as they could be if we gave them a bit more thought.
Think about which areas in your home are the most important to you, and spend some time making them even more comfortable and convenient than they already are. Add great lighting to your reading nook, move the side table closer to your armchair so you can rest your cup of tea somewhere, invest in some comfy cushions or a fan to keep you cool – whatever it takes to transform your spot from one you mindlessly drift to into a place you actively seek out.
As in a relationship, it just takes a small amount of love and attention to reinvigorate the passion you once felt for your home. You’ll soon forget your itchy feet and put the property pages away. Until next time.