It's a new year and time for some newness! When was the last time you really refreshed the look of your home? Even if it was at the start of the millennium (that was 13 years ago now!) or even if you're renting, your dwelling could be in need of a refresher. Although we may be entering another year of caution - not too many home renovations to be happening as in years past - refreshing the look of your home need not require an entire overhaul. In 2013, why not try a new shot of color (the color of the year: emerald green) and take some time to rethink the design style of your home: re-energize your outlook by what you look at... with a little shift and shopping thrift.

(RE) PURPOSE (RE) USE (RE) CYCLE: Or in a word UPCYCLE! Whether it’s your own pieces stuck in the garage, tucked up in your attic or buried in a closet, refinish and switch out some existing pieces in your spaces to refresh your home for the new year. Find a new use for something old. A pair of side tables together (but not bumped) can become your new coffee table or relocate a ‘matchy’ bedroom bench into the dining room for new seating. You can even update that bench with the look of a slipcover, made simply from a drop cloth. While clearing through the clutter, let go of pieces you know you will not use. Donate undesirable items to to help Sandy Survivors in New Jersey/New York or your local Goodwill, Salvation Army and Vietnam Vets thrift shops. Your trash could be someone else’s treasure and help them to refresh their home. An afternoon activity can be made by holding a garage sale. With a little time and effort organizing, the money you make from the sale you can treat yourself to a new addition or put it towards supplies to re-style your home.

(RE) VAMP your accessories: What you’ve had upstairs, bring down. What you’ve had downstairs, bring up. Check in the garage and closets for some forgotten treasures. Gather similar shapes into a collection. Inexpensive or old pieces can have new life with a simple coat of spray paint or dipped for an on trend two-tone effect! This is the time to try a new color, like all white, grey, or go for the color of the year: EMERALD! Try varying  the finishes: two flat with one high gloss. If groupings aren’t getting enough variations in height, try a stack of books. Books stacked by color create impact, or books turned in reverse create texture. Books can also be unified by covering them in white or tan Kraft paper - you may already have left over from your holiday gift wrapping.

(RE) LAMP your space: Just like you change your accessories every time you change your outfit, change your lamps from room to room. You’ll be amazed how a space is transformed with new lighting at no cost! Minimal updates to refresh lamps can be a quick spritz of spray paint. Add an updated shade in a new shape, color, pattern or cover an existing shade with new fabric.

(RE) PLANT your entrance, terrace, or outdoor living space: Give seasonal style to your stoop! What do you or your guests see when they come up to your home? Have trees or bushes overgrown? Is there a composition or rhythm in your garden? Try adding some colorful or decorative plant containers. Weather-worn chairs can give a rustic touch or paint in a pop of color for a wow effect. Adding chairs to your entry can help give height to your entry composition. Even if you aren’t into flowers, visual interest can be added through contrasts of solid or variegated plants, pops of color through pots, or textures from leaves. Even coordinated decorative pillows on a back patio can expand the living space from inside your home out. Existing outdoor furniture, containers, and even your grill do tend to fade (especially in sunny Arizona and South Florida!) so spruce it up with a fresh coat of spray paint. Even some left over Jacobean wood stain works on a terracotta pot: it will chip away and looked aged over time.

(RE) PAINT your space inside and out: Even if you live in a development with restrictions (i.e. all the same color) chances are, your front door, garage door, or trim (esp. near the garden) could benefit from a fresh coat of paint to make your home look crisp (and even spark inspiration for your neighbors). Over time, no matter what quality of paint you use, it just doesn't look as fresh. Inside, why not try a new neutral (like a warm grey) and an accent wall in a grassy green or indigo blue? Even glossy white moldings can be refreshed in an afternoon. Freshen all doors in another afternoon with a new coat of semi gloss. If you have the freedom, paint your front door a new color. If you can't do outside because of a community association, at least paint the interior face of your door a new color like black, red, yellow, - or go for that shot of emerald green!

(RE) THINK your space: Do you over use one space and under use of another? Bring balance to your home by re-thinking the way you use your space. For example: A home office littered with magazines and cluttered with books can be reorganized by relocating reading materials to an underused dining room to create a library, or create a reading corner in your great room. Another space solution for the new year can be converting an underused room into a child's craft space or play room. Taking the time now to plan how a space is used, will save you time later when you need it the most.


(RE) ORGANIZE to (RE) Energize: Recycle those old magazines you have stacked in a closet or piled in a corner - but not just by dumping them into the recycling bin: You can also include them into your donations to your local thrift. This is another way to help people people on an even smaller budget than yours. Let go of paper piles, and even go through those boxes of old cards. Ask yourself: Is this really adding any value to my life? When clearing clutter, this is a GREAT question to keep at the top of your mind - It makes it easier to just let things go. Tiny tee shirts you've outgrown can help cloth another - let it go. And to clear clutter even more: take photos of mementos you have put away in storage boxes: use these as the images to create a new gallery wall to tell the story of you. For storage boxes for other items (even Christmas decor) they need not be fancy: You can pick up a pack of 10 office file boxes for $15 at Staples (they stack great, fit through tiny attic spaces and are EZ to carry up stairs because you can't overload them!)

WELCOME 2013 with the promise to (RE)-Salute your home with a (RE)-Style! Don't get overwhelmed ~ Just tackle over time throughout the year - Organize your plan of attack on Pinterest and with Olioboard. Try some thrift shopping this year or venture out to other areas for a newer assortment (location has a LOT to do with items sold at thrift stores). Try a little furniture refinishing project. Try a refreshed editing approach to your accessories. Try a new color - even white can be a refreshing new color to update a dark  space. Apply yourself and surprise yourself for 2013! And if you live in an already perfect home, then take the time to apply these resolutions to help a friend, a family member or neighbor. You’ll be glad you did...

WELCOME 2013 with a REFRESHED look!

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