New Year’s Resolutions for the Home


It’s the beginning of a new year and we’ve all thought about and maybe shared our personal resolutions to improve the year ahead. Resolutions for your home make an instant improvement in the quality of your life. I’ve gathered a group of ideas for you to pick and choose a few that will fit just right for your own home life.

Organize. This is obvious but can be daunting depending on how long we’ve let things go. You don’t have to chronologically organize your albums or alphabetize books, but focus on a place for everything and put everything in its place. Group belongings together – scarves in one basket, hats in another. A bills-to-be-paid folder and another for paperwork-to-be-filed. Creating a place for everything leads to a cleaner house. Often messes pile up because we just don’t know where to put everything.

Start a project. Nothing makes a home feel more like yours than changing it to meet your current needs.

Finish a project. Checking projects off your mental to-do list is exhilarating. Begin with a smaller project like hanging a couple pieces of artwork. Then you are ready to tackle larger projects like organizing all your family photos and getting cherished favorites framed.

Make a list. Go room-by-room creating a list of everything you want to change about that room. Creating a master list makes it easier to see the work you want to do now or later. For example, painting kitchen cabinets may have to wait, but painting trim is a quick fix.

Make your home safer. Make sure your smoke detector is working and if you don’t have a carbon dioxide detector, get one. Have your furnace checked because major safety issues can arise. Create an escape route with your family and have a list of emergency numbers readily available.

Buy a plant. This is one of the quickest, cheapest, easiest tasks you can do. Maybe think of growing herbs indoors on a sunny window ledge. Bringing life into your home by having plants or flowers instantly brightens a room and your mood.

Introduce yourself to neighbors you never met.

Freshen up the tile in your bathroom by cleaning tiles, repairing grout and chalking.

Improve home comfort by weather-stripping doors and windows, filling holes in the wall and replacing lightweight sheer drapery for heavier winter-friendly fabric such as velvet.

Buy a new mattress because it’s time.

Play more music while you work/clean/read at home.

Paint a room that needs a freshen up or wallpaper an accent wall. You can even paint your walls white and then trim out your doors in a bright color like red or go neutral with cream, tan, gray or black.

Move your art around and don’t forget to patch and repaint as you go.

Deep clean your carpeting after winter.

Update your cleaning supplies cabinet by getting rid of cleaners you don’t use and buy dedicated cleaners for everything you need to protect.

Clean your fireplace. If you have a mantle move things around on it each month, add fresh flowers and some framed photos.

Be more energy efficient. Change light bulbs, unplug appliances and turn off lights when not in use – all easy things you can do to improve energy resourcefulness. You can even go a step further by replacing appliances with more efficient ones or updating your furnace and A/C to save energy and money.

Thoroughly clean your home once a month. Get the family involved. Make a date on your calendar and stick to it.

Buy yourself something. Don’t think practical here. Buy something for your home you’ve always wanted but never allowed yourself to buy. It may be a new piece of artwork, a new vase, an elegant bedspread. Buy something that makes you smile.

Learn to enjoy your home now. While your kitchen may be less than you desire or the wood paneling in your den makes you cringe, learn to enjoy the space for what it is now. It’s the place you call home.

Happy New Year 2014 to you and yours!


About Karen Carpino

Karen Carpino is an interior designer and founder of Chicago-based Karen Carpino Design. A professionally registered interior designer with over 25 years of experience, Ms. Carpino's clientele includes both residential and commercial projects. She brings you techniques, trends and tips in “Style At Home.”