If you have a big fat home-improvement budget, then making your home beautiful is no great challenge.
But since most of us have a lot of other things vying for our money, I thought I’d make a list of ways to make your home feel more lovely for a grand total of $0.
Clean it up.
I remember my grandma telling me that if you haven’t got much in the way of a home, you can at least keep it clean.
Even a fabulous home doesn’t feel too great if it’s dirty, you know?
And a not-as-fabulous home can be greatly improved with some cleanliness.
Assuming you already have cleaning supplies and a vacuum/mop/broom, cleaning up your house shouldn’t cost you anything out of pocket.
Clear it out.
When I feel unhappy with my house, getting rid of excess possessions usually helps me a lot.
Even a large house can feel crowded when it’s filled up with junk, and a small house can feel (more) spacious when it’s not holding a bunch of unneeded stuff.
Really, unless you have a cavernous, empty home, you’ll probably like it better once you declutter.
Let the light in.
Natural light makes a world of difference when it comes to how your home feels.
So, every morning, opening the blinds/curtains is one of the very first things I do.
Even on cloudy days, windows let in some light, and on sunny day, the outdoor light is positively fantastic.
Open your curtains, people!
Shop your house.
Shopping at stores costs money. Shopping around your house for options costs nothing.
You could rearrange furniture in a room, put furniture in different rooms, dig up some old frames and hang them (the three on that wall above are spray-painted frames from Goodwill), switch curtains around, use on-hand paint to change up a wall/frame/piece of furniture, and so on.
Have you ever been in a home where there’s something in the atmosphere that just doesn’t feel quite right? Where happiness seems to be missing? And it doesn’t feel very warm or inviting?
It’s a little hard to put a finger on this type of thing, but I think the behavior of the people in a house is a big factor.
No matter how beautiful a home is, or how perfectly decorated it is, if the people in the home aren’t being kind to each other, it doesn’t feel like a good place to be.
Greeting each other with a smile, helping each other out, sympathizing with each other, asking about each others’ day, saying good morning and good night….even if you can’t change a thing about the structure of your house, all of those little kindnesses are the best kind of home improvement.
You can’t necessarily control the behavior of your housemates, but one person can often set the tone for a home (especially true if you’re a parent), so don’t wait for other people to be kind first.
Start things off on the right foot yourself and see what happens.
(Please note: I do not do this perfectly, and neither do my five housemates. No one on the planet does! But the point is this: when we are kind, our house feels better.)
See your home with new eyes.
This has nothing to do with changing your actual home, of course.
But adjusting your perspective can make your home feel more lovely in a hot minute.
When I look longingly at Colonial-style houses (or really, any house that’s not a split design!) or open kitchens or master bedrooms with attached bathrooms, I start to feel like my house is pretty…lacking.
(In fact, just as I was typing that, I felt a wave of unhappiness roll over me. I miss having a master bathroom! Even a tiny one! Waaah! Poor me!)
But when I consider that a lot of people in the world live in grass huts or slapped-together buildings in slums, or in refugee tents, my attitude changes and I feel really silly for complaining about not having a bathroom attached to my bedroom.
I have a bathroom with plumbing.
My house actually has TWO bathrooms.
I live in a safe neighborhood.
My house is in good repair.
We have four bedrooms and an office.
There’s a yard to play in.
We have heating and cooling.
When I realize that most of the world’s population would see my home with grateful eyes? Well, that changes the way I view it too.
What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear other ideas for making your home feel more lovely on a $0 budget!