12 Ways to Make Your Home Even Better in 2017 (Without Redecorating)
We all have #homegoals. Sometimes they're saved in a Pinterest board; other times we file them away for later… One day I'll have organized kitchen drawers; this year I'll definitely hang my artwork; I should really get around to installing those bathroom wall hooks. The problem is that life often gets in the way, and these goals remain just that: dreams of chores that we'd like to tackle but are too busy to address.
There is a better way. Just as science argues that the best way to be productive in the morning is to complete one simple task, such as making your bed, we believe that the best way to improve your home is to start small and begin with a clear plan. Turning your #homegoals into actionable steps with firm deadlines is the best way to stay on track and get it done. To help with your own #homegoals this year, we came up with an easy month-to-month list of tasks that will dramatically improve the look and functionality of your home—no major decorating or renovations required. Are you ready to take your home to the next level this year? This is your 12-step plan.
JANUARY: Take Control of Closets
The start of the year is always a busy one, and it can be easy to delay starting a project, especially if the end result seems overwhelming, but it's important to start somewhere. A great way to start small is to tackle a space that's physically constrained, like your closets.
Take everything out, and purge all the excess items you never use or wear. Once you've edited down to a minimum, you can start putting things back in their place: Color-code your clothes, use drawer organizers, keep your spaces sparse, and your items visible.
Your guide: Learn a celebrity closet designer's top six organization hacks.
FEBRUARY: Declutter Once and for All
Once your closets are edited and organized, you'll feel more energized to declutter the rest of your home. Keep the momentum going into February and declutter every other storage space in your home. Start with your kitchen cabinets, and work your way into other areas of the home: linen closets, medicine cabinets, junk drawers, jewelry boxes, and paperwork trays.
Your guide: Check the 20 cluttering items to toss in 2017.
MARCH: Invest in Better Sleep
As winter drags on, it's only normal to be feeling slugging and worn out, which makes March the best month to tackle your sleep. Sleeping better doesn't necessarily involve redecorating, but you might want to make a few changes in the bedroom. Assess why you may be having trouble sleeping. Is your mattress comfortable? How are the light and noise levels in your bedroom? Is the temperature ideal for snoozing? By making a few minor tweaks to your bedroom, you could solve your insomnia and be on your way to a better sleep routine.
Your guide: Find out what might be causing your sleep issues, and fix them one by one.
APRIL: Actually Use Your Dining Space
You may have a dining table, but are you actually using it? If you nosh on breakfast at the kitchen counter and eat dinner in front of the TV, now's the time to make a habit of prioritizing meal time and eating at the table like a grown-up. Think about why you're not currently using the space: is it comfortable? Do you have adequate lighting? Are you taking the time to set the table every night? Getting into a routine to set the table every night, light candles, and sit down for dinner might be all you need to improve quality family time.
Your guide: Learn how to make your dining room more inviting, according to your age.
MAY: Make Your Bathroom Feel Grown-Up
It doesn't take a full bathroom remodel to make a bathroom feel luxe and comfortable—take it from one editor whose New York City bathroom is definitely smaller than your closet. There are a few easy steps you can take to immensely improve the look and functionality of your bathroom.
First, address storage issues. Are your products spilling out everywhere? Consider additional storage. Are your linens old and moldy? It might be time to upgrade towels, bathrobes, and shower curtains. On that note, do you have adequate space to dry said towels? Consider towels racks and hooks. Once you've assessed basic necessities, you can spruce up your space with luxe products and pretty accessories.
Your guide: Shop bathroom organization products that will change your life.
JUNE: Tackle the Laundry Room
Laundry room or laundry closet—this space is notoriously neglected in homes everywhere: overflowing laundry, disorganized cleaning essentials, and miscellaneous items often make their way into this space without a proper storage system. Are you short on space to store your cleaning supplies? Do you have a place to sort, dry, and fold your clothes? Take just a few hours to address any issues in your laundry room by putting in place the right storage practices, and go outside! It's almost summer, after all.
Your guide: Find out the only clutter hacks that actually work in the laundry room according to a professional organizer.
JULY: Make Your Home Smart
Another quick task that you can tackle in the summer while you're busy enjoying the gorgeous weather is setting up systems that will make your home work for you. Can your dimmers, blinds, and thermostats all be controlled from an app? Do you have a charging station for all your devices? Can you shop for groceries right from your refrigerator? Is a robot cleaning up your floors? This year's home-tech innovations make it easier than ever to manage your household in a pinch and get back to the things that are actually worth living for, like a day at the beach or lounging by the pool.
Your guide: Read up on our favorite home tech products, and purchase the ones that suit your needs.
AUGUST: Create an Entryway Station
Get organized before back-to-school season by organizing your entryway. You'll find it that much easier to hit the ground running come September. To do this, make sure you have enough hooks for all coats, bags, and hats. Find a functional way to store your most often worn shoes, Make sure your console has a space for keys, mail, and anything else that you frequently need when going in and out the door. Once your foyer is 100% functional, you can add little personal touches to make it look as good as it is practical.
Your guide: Try some tips that will make your entryway functional as well as arrestingly beautiful.
SEPTEMBER: Have More Than Just a Sofa
As you prepare for the upcoming winter and holiday season, consider the fact that you're about to be spending much more time in your living room—whether you're lounging around when it's cold outside or entertaining family and friends. Before you get in the thick of the holiday rush, take a little time to spruce up your living room.
Be honest: does your living room consist of a sofa, a TV, and a coffee table? It may be time to accessorize a little to make your lounge time more comfortable. Add a rug, a side table, a lounge chair, or even some artwork. Make sure your lighting creates the right mood and that every guest has a place to sit and put down a drink.
Your guide: Find out the best living room item to invest in, according to your age.
OCTOBER: Enhance Mood Lighting
Tackle your lighting before daylight savings hits to soften the blow of early sunsets and long nights. Beyond your regular overhead lighting (which should be on dimmers at all times), think of what other places could use additional mood lighting. Is your reading nook dark and gloomy? Do you have adequate bedside lighting? How dark is your hallway? Think of adding lighting at eye level in all rooms with table lamps and sconces to cast a more flattering light, and disperse your light sources around the room—ideally in a triangular shape.
Your guide: Learn our top lighting tips for renters (they're great for homeowners, too)!
NOVEMBER: Upgrade Your Kitchenware
Take some time before the busy holiday season to upgrade some kitchen basics. From everyday dinnerware and cutlery to cooking must-haves like slow-cookers and wooden spoons, there's no better time to update your kitchenware than right before the entertaining season. Be ruthless about culling old or damaged items like rusty knives, filthy baking sheets, and other scarcely used items. If you're smart, you can also save a ton by shopping for these around Black Friday.
Your guide: Toss these 20 kitchen items (and replace them).
DECEMBER: Stock a Home Bar
We've saved the most fun (and easiest) task for last because, holidays. End-of-year is a notoriously busy and tiresome time, so the last thing you need is to burden yourself with extensive home chores. Instead, take a trip to the liquor store, and stock a home bar, just in time for the holidays. Start with a tray, shelf, or bar cart; order a few trusted mixology tools; and look up a few recipes for your favorite cocktails. You'll be well on your way to easier entertaining in no time.
Your guide: Build a bar with these happy hour essentials.
Want to feel even better at home? These resolutions will help.