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Lived-In Design

Lived-In Design

Lived-In Design

A client once asked me how some people can have “cute things and display them.” She wanted to know how some live in such a way they have space to display décor items and make them look good. From her perspective, this was impossible.

The question does not surprise me, given that some people engage a Professional Organizer because they no longer want to live in a chaotic environment. That means they call an Organizer because they live in chaos.

But I have thought about this question for a long time and realized the answer lies in that inverse relationship between clutter and design.

What A Stylish House Doesn’t Need

Look at this picture (@flamingos.home). What do you notice? Or rather, what do you not see?Minimalist Home | Minimalist Living

You can appreciate this design due to the absence of elements that pull your attention somewhere else, like clutter. 

And clutter happens for two main reasons: 

(1) Owning excessive stuff – Renders even the best storage space incapable of containing and concealing all the stuff.

(2) The lack of decision-making about things at any given moment – Causes stuff to land (and stay) anywhere in the home.

Although most people would not consider their homes magazine-worthy, as long as we have four walls and a roof, we can make the space as beautiful and incredible as we wish.

Elegance, style, and luxury have less to do with money and the size of your home and more with taste, simplicity, and attention to detail.

But it seems challenging for many to envision the possibilities in their homes. Could this be because their homes’ clutter prevents the imagination from visualizing what they desire?

What Happens To That Magic?

Clutter prevents us from seeing the beauty of the home’s potential. But clutter also physically occupies the space that should be left available for new and better things to come into our lives. 

I have extensively discussed the model home magic Vs. the nightmare of moving day. We fall in love with a beautifully designed, perfectly appointed model home, but the magic disappears on that moving day as quickly as it came.

Why does it feel so different even when we selected the same model home, building choices, and décor? This probably happens because:

(1) It is our stuff there now. And our stuff seems less than exciting in contrast to our new home.

(2) We see all our stuff together while moving in. It makes a big difference. But, unfortunately, this remarkable space now seems overcrowded and will be for a while until we get it under control. 

 (3) With the moving process as messy and disjointed as usual, stuff seems even messier and uglier than ever.

 Puff! Magic gone.

Where The Stuff Is

Add to this scenario the prospect of living out of boxes for a while (there’s no time to put things away, and life is hectic anyway). 

At some level, we also recognize that wherever and however things land in the home on that moving day, they will remain for the next three years or so.

Things might quickly improve if we engage some help, like a professional organizer, designer services, cleaning personnel, and such. The new home will probably thrill us again soon. And this better happens soon. A home is one of the most important investments we will ever make. So, we should care how we feel about it.

Life After Moving In

Everyone gets into model homes, HGTV shows (the reveal is grand, right?), Architectural Digest magazine, and all those fantastic home designs on Instagram and Pinterest. However, only a few make the connection between a marvelous design they love and the reality of the day-to-day living in that space. 

No one talks about what happens after people move into a new home or back in with their belongings after a renovation. Having this conversation requires people to confront their mess demons and out-of-control buying. But, of course, nobody wants to go there.

Enjoying the beauty and style of a new home does not happen automatically. After moving in, we must work on it. Even the best design might get drowned in clutter. Clutter is the noise that distracts our senses from the beauty of the space and interrupts how we experience our home. 

The Role of Empty Space

And aside from speaking of design, it is essential to honor space in the home. So many have issues with unoccupied space and try to stuff things in best-left-empty areas (“because I have some space there”). 

However, a house should be a living space, not a storage. Space is our friend, and it is best to make peace with it. Space is to the home like a white mat is to a piece of art – it enhances its beauty by isolating it.

It is possible to have a lived-in design. Clutter has to go.

20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

20 Easy DIY Home Projects to Spruce up Your Space

Is spending so much time inside making you go stir-crazy? Well, with life outside seemingly on hold, this may be the perfect opportunity to make a few easy home improvements to transform your house into a nicer and more refreshed place to spend your days. From adding a pop of color to your front door to cleaning out your closet, here are 20 DIY home projects you can tackle to spruce up your space while you’re hunkered down.

Put Leftover Paint To Use

Many of us probably have an extra can or two of paint lying around. So why not use it to add some pizzazz and depth to your rooms with these DIY home projects.

1. Give your cabinets a makeover

Painting kitchen cabinets a fresh new color is a fantastic way to completely transform your kitchen. If you tend to be more adventurous when it comes to color, your cabinets are a great place to have some fun. If you already have a lot of color in the room or if the space doesn’t have much light, it’s best to go with white or neutral cabinets.

2. Make your mailbox the star of your front yard

Your mailbox is one of the first things people see when they pull into your driveway, so why not give your visitors a great first impression. Whether you live in a ranch-style house in Phoenix, AZ or you just bought a craftsman-style home in Portland, OR, you can instantly boost your curb appeal by adding a fresh, vivid coat of paint to your mailbox.

3. Add a pop of color to your front door

Changing out your front door can be expensive, so painting your exterior door is an easy way to give the front of your home a makeover and also save some money in the process. Painting the inside of your front door is also a fun way to add a bold pop of color and some character into your home.

4. Give new life to old furniture

If the paint is chipped or wear and tear has gotten the best of some of your older furniture, a quick paint job can give it a new life. Transform a dated (but functional) dresser, nightstand, or bookshelf with this fun DIY project for a fraction of the cost it takes to replace it.

Clear The Clutter

Getting organized can feel like a major undertaking, which is probably why a lot of us tend to put it off, and then put it off again and again. But since you can’t go anywhere, you might as well spend a morning or afternoon tackling the clutter you typically ignore.

5. Maximize the utility of unused corners with shelving

Running out of storage space? It’s time to finally make use of the corners in your rooms. Installing floating shelves is one of many DIY home projects you can try to create more space. It’s a simple way to spruce up your wall decor while adding more storage to your home.

6. Clean closets

Chances are, you’ve opened up your closet and grabbed one of the same few items since spending most of your time indoors lately. Now’s the time to carefully clean out your closet and decide what you really need from those you haven’t touched in a few years. Start by taking every item out, setting aside the items you don’t need, and cleaning the inside of the closet. If you’re organizing a closet full of clothes, sort clothes into piles by season. Put clothes that you’re not currently using in the back of the closet, like that holiday sweater. Keep frequently used items in the front for easy access.

7. Organize photos

In the digital age, it’s likely that most of us have our photos stored online. But for those that still have hundreds of photos stored away in boxes, now’s the time to organize them. Start by grouping photos by date or event. Use leftover flashcards or cut-up pieces of printer paper as an easy way to separate groups of photos in boxes. If you already keep your photos organized, think about digitizing them. You can use Google’s PhotoScan app to scan old prints and upload them. Organize your photos online into albums to better keep track of them and finally find that picture of your puppy when someone asks.

8. Rearrange bookshelves

Bookshelves may not initially come to mind when organizing, but they can easily make a space feel brand new. Think about taking some of the books you’ve got hiding away in a back closet and swapping them with the current selection on your bookshelf. Wondering what to do with that collectible mug? Add it to your bookshelf for a fresh take on your decor. Best of all, it’s a free way to change up your space.

9. Tackle under-sink storage

The last place you probably think to organize is under your sink. From the bathroom to the kitchen, it’s likely filled with near-empty cleaners, dishwashing soap, or even makeup wipes. Set aside 10 minutes to toss out those old household supplies, instantly freeing up space to make way for all that hand-soap and disinfectant you just bought.

10. Organize your pantry

You may or may not have months’ worth of groceries in your kitchen right now. Before things get too cluttered, take this time to reorganize your pantry – move things around to maximize space, group like items together, and throw away expired items. You may want to break down the work into smaller parts to avoid being overwhelmed. For example, instead of cleaning out the entire pantry, just do one shelf or area at a time. It will be so refreshing to see the pantry all neat and tidy with everything in its place.

Maximizing Home Space by Redfin

Transform Your Space with Lighting

Nothing can change the look and feel of a room quite like choosing the right lighting. The perfect lighting can lift your spirits and make your home a more comfortable place to spend time.

11. Replace your lightbulbs

If you have a few extra light bulbs lying around, go from room to room and replace any that are burned out. You can also completely change the ambiance in your home simply by replacing any harsh white bulbs with calming yellow ones.

12. Switch up lamp shades

Lamps are commonly overlooked in the design of a home, but they add a lot of character and style to a room. So take a look at the shades on each of your lamps. If you have a similar size lamp in another room, swap the shades to give your space a new feel. You can also update a boring old lampshade with a few DIY home projects such as adding fun print or pattern, or a coat of paint.

Maximizing Home Space by Redfin

Tackle those forgotten about cleaning projects
Since you’re spending so much time inside, you’re probably noticing all of the overlooked cleaning projects around the house. If you tackle them now, you’ll be rewarded with a living space that feels brighter and refreshed.

13. Restore rugs and carpets

By now, you’ve probably noticed that your carpets and rugs might not be in the same state they were when you moved in or had them replaced. Maybe you don’t even remember the last time they were properly cleaned. Even if you can’t hire a professional to clean your carpets, you can likely rent a carpet cleaner from your local hardware store or carpet cleaning company.

14. Clean under your bed

When was the last time you looked, let alone cleaned under your bed? This is one of those DIY home projects that everyone needs to tackle. The space under your bed is a breeding ground for everything from dust to forgotten items. If you use the space under your bed for storage, like seasonal clothes or extra bedding, make sure you’ve stored those items in vacuum-sealed bags to prevent moisture and mold buildup. Bed skirts also collect dust so throw those in the wash while you’re busy vacuuming underneath.

15. Refresh tile grout

Refresh your entire bathroom by cleaning and brightening your tile grout. Cleaning grout requires two things: a grout brush or sponge and a suitable cleaner. While there are plenty of store-bought grout cleaners available, it is just as easy to do this with ingredients you already have on hand, such as vinegar and baking soda.

16. Pressure wash your home’s exterior

Get some fresh air and restore your home to its former beauty by pressure washing the exterior of your house and hardscape areas. You can even bring back to life patio furniture and cushions.

17. Deep clean the refrigerator

With the extra groceries you’ve probably bought lately, it’s time for a refrigerator clean. First things first, throw out any leftover takeout or expired items. When cleaning your refrigerator, use a surface-safe all-purpose cleaner for the exterior and warmer soapy water for the interior. Be sure to wipe down surfaces before putting your items back inside. Keeping similar items grouped together when refilling your fridge will make finding your favorite condiment or coffee creamer easier to find.

Redfin Article Maximizing Home Space

Rethink Your Wall Design

Redoing your wall design is a fast way to transform the look of your living room, bedroom, or really any space in your house.

18. Rearrange or hang up a gallery wall

If you’ve always wanted to try to create the perfect gallery wall, this is the time to go for it. If you already have one, change it up to revive the space. Try pieces here and there: a new mix-up might surprise you and showcase your photos and art in an entirely new light.

19. Use empty frames

Go through the house, pull out any empty frames, and put them to good use. Dust off those old photographs and display them proudly or find some printable art online. Hang your frames throughout your home or place them on tables, dressers, and desks.

20. Put old fabric swatches to use

When we think of fabric, we usually think of curtains, linens, or pillows, but there are plenty of DIY home projects you can do to turn a basic piece of fabric into a statement piece of wall art. So dig up any fabric swatches that you have laying around the house and put them to use. You can wrap the fabric around a canvas, hang it in a frame, and much more, letting your creativity soar.

Originally published by Redfin