Great transformation: how to freshen up your home in just one year

From clearing clutter to fixing a squeaky door, here’s a month-by-month approach to getting your house in order

flower class viewed by tablet PC. Getty Images
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Are you planning any DIY or ­decorating work at home this year? Chances are you have one or two small projects in mind. But what if you could finish a whole home makeover by the end of December?

With a systematic approach, you can transform your space without having to spend a fortune, bring in the professionals or take endless weeks off work.

January: Begin in the bedroom

Decluttering expert Marie Kondo suggests that when it comes to tidying your home for good, you should start with your clothes. For the remainder of this month, make the bedroom your focus. Ditching any clothes that don't "spark joy" is just the start. While you're in your wardrobe, think about your ­storage – could you use more shelves, sturdy boxes, new hangers or drawer dividers?

Other jobs:

•     Deep-clean any rugs or carpets in the ­bedroom and around the rest of the house.

•     Wash blankets, duvets and pillows, and replace any that are too old.

•     Turn your mattress – this should be done every three months.

February: Show the living room some love

In the living room, consider if you need a new sofa or if decorative cushions will suffice. 
In the living room, consider if you need a new sofa or if decorative cushions will suffice. 

This social space gets a lot of use, so the chances are it could do with a bit of TLC. Think about where your investment can make the biggest impact. Do you need to buy new sofas or would replacing the scatter cushions make enough of a statement? Comfort is key here, so make sure lighting is suitable for different types of activity, for example, and that there are enough flat surfaces near seating areas to rest a cup of tea.

Other jobs:

•     Clean your light fixtures, and wipe fan blades and vents in the living room and throughout the house.

•     Empty your bookshelves and dust each book as you replace it.

•     Take down the curtains and blinds, and have them cleaned professionally.

March: Spring-clean the kitchen

You’re making progress now and are ready to tackle a big job – the kitchen. Have a proper clear-out of your cupboards and throw away any out-of-date spices and condiments, ditch mismatched containers and lids, and get rid of anything else you don’t need. As you replace everything, consider in what order it should be stored to suit your needs.

Other jobs:

•     Replace old dish towels with fresh ones.

•     Change the handles on your kitchen units for a quick and easy new look.

•     Defrost and clean the freezer.

April: Redo the dining room

A handout photo of Green Fern Woodland Scene Wall Mural (Courtesy: Murals Wallpaper) *** Local Caption ***  wk06ja-hg-column-mural.jpg
Repaint the walls or replace the wallpaper in the dining room. Courtesy Murals Wallpaper

Now that the kitchen is sorted, you may be more inclined to spend time in there cooking, so focus on the dining room next. If you want a new look without replacing the table and chairs, consider freshening them up with a lick of paint. You could repaint the walls or choose wallpaper for a more dramatic change.

Other jobs:

•     Wash the windows in the dining room and the rest of the house inside and out.

•     Change or rotate artwork for a fresh perspective.

•     Go through dinner and glassware, getting rid of anything that is chipped or doesn’t get used.

May: Get out into the garden

Before it gets too hot, turn your attention outdoors to your garden or balcony. Tackle any pruning that needs doing, nurse sickly plants and say goodbye to those that are beyond help, buying new ones to fill any gaps. Now is the time to attend to the maintenance of your garden furniture, too, treating or coating as necessary to ensure it weathers the summer well.

Other jobs:

•     Add fertiliser to any areas that need it.

•     Think about adding or rotating plants throughout the rest of the house.

•     Got a barbecue? It’s time to give it a thorough clean and put it away.

June: Let’s get eco

Humankind has not always had a positive impact on the planet. This month, is there a major eco project you could dedicate yourself to? Cut out plastic, reduce your energy usage or buy food with fewer food miles.

Other jobs:

•     Replace all your light bulbs with eco-friendly ones.

•     Fix anything that negatively impacts your green credentials, from leaky taps to drafty windows.

•     Use smart technology so you can control cooling and lighting from your phone.

July: Blitz the bathroom

Break out the mould spray or repaint the tiles for a fresher looking bathroom. 
Break out the mould spray or repaint the tiles for a fresher looking bathroom. 

The hot weather will hit hard this month, so whatever DIY or decorating you get up to is likely to work up a sweat. That’s why this month’s focus should be the bathroom, where you can finish your hard work with a cooling shower. This is your opportunity to tackle those annoying little jobs that have been building up – get the mould spray and a toothbrush out to really make the place squeaky clean, or consider regrouting for a fresh look.

Other jobs:

•     Buff or replace any fixtures that are looking tarnished or rusty.

•     Paint tiles for a colour update that doesn’t cost the earth.

•     Are your towels looking tired? Replace them.

August: Clear out the common areas

It’s easy to forget about hallways and landings when it comes to making over your home, but these functional areas see a lot of traffic and need attention. How is the floor holding up? Are the carpets or rugs getting worn? Do your wooden floors need a coat of wax or varnish? Are there any loose or chipped tiles that need replacing?

Other jobs:

•     Clean any mirrors in the hallway and throughout the house.

•     Use rug grips to prevent rugs from sliding around on tiled or wooden floors.

•     Put up hooks to get clutter off the floor.

September: Sort out the study

Have a go at your paperwork, sorting, filing and shredding until it’s all in order.
Have a go at your paperwork, sorting, filing and shredding until it’s all in order.

This is the space that often collects most clutter. Have a go at your paperwork, sorting, filing and shredding until it’s all in order. Buy new storage systems if necessary. If your study serves a number of people or you do a range of activities in there – from home admin to crafts – make sure there’s a separate place for everything, so it doesn’t all get muddled.

Other jobs:

•     Invest in decent lighting so you can work after dark without straining your eyes.

•     Clean your computer – especially your keyboard – with specialist products.

•     Tame cords from electronic equipment, using cable ties, for example.

October: Get it fixed

As you have been doing the rounds of your home, you have probably noticed various things that need fixing. But day-to-day life is busy, and these jobs can slip down the to-do list. So this month make fixing stuff your priority, whether that's a loose door hinge or a stuck window.

Other jobs:

•     Oil squeaky doors so they open silently.

•     Check if any of your chairs have a wobbly leg and fix those that do.

•     Fill in any old screw holes in your walls and touch up the paint.

November: Get guest-ready

Have you got guests flying in for Christmas? Or are you planning a New Year’s Eve party? Don’t wait until December to get everything ready. Instead, use this month to ensure your guest room is spotless. Check the linen and towels, and replace any that are looking a bit threadbare. At the very least give it a deep-clean.

Other jobs:

•     Paint over scuffs in the guest room and the rest of the house.

•     Use a baking soda solution to get stains out of your tea and coffee mugs.

•     Clean the insides of all of your drawers, especially in the kitchen.

December: Finishing touches

flower class viewed by tablet PC. Getty Images
Sit back and enjoy your transformed home. Getty Images

By now your home should be looking fresher, cleaner and altogether more inviting. So, in this last month, think about those finishing touches. Treat yourself to one or two new accessories or a bunch of fresh flowers. Spend time in every room, relishing your achievements and appreciating all that you have accomplished.

Other jobs:

•     Invite your friends round to enjoy your newly made-over home with you.

•     Indulge in a homebody day – have a lie in, a long bath, or spend time in your reading nook.

•     Make a photo montage of your favourite spot.