OVERCOMING the OVERWHELM:
Taking Home Improvement One Step at a Time

We’ve all done it:  We look at our houses and sigh, wondering when we’ll ever have the time, let alone the energy and inspiration, to really make the necessary changes to transform our place from just a residence to a home — a home that we love to wake up to and come home to, a home that we just LOVE being in.

And let’s not stop there—why shouldn’t it also be a home that we relish opening up to friends and family; a home that brings people together—that nurtures us emotionally just by the goodness and beauty of its spirit.

Life is so complicated; the world we live in is stressful and toxic.  But home, now that’s one place that we can usually control to a certain extent. We can create a special environment for ourselves—a haven, a sanctuary, a healing place.

Ahhhhhhh… Doesn’t that feel better already?  At least it sounds better!  When you look around at your home, perhaps you see so many things you’d like to do, you just get overwhelmed, mixed up, and you’re no longer sure where to start let alone whether you want to take on such a project in the first place.

Here are some things you can do to make it a bit easier:

Make a List

It seems obvious, but it helps. Go room by room and write down the things that bother you – the things you would like to change. Look from floor to ceiling. Look with a critical eye. Be ruthless. Really notice that table your roommate from 20 years ago left behind when he moved to Europe. Take in all the gifts from friends you’re displaying for no reason but guilt (yes, do this!). Look at each element. Consider whether or not you like it. If you don’t, why should it take up space in your special place?

Decide Where to Start

It helps to take one room at a time. Which room is most important to you? Which room is making you feel most uncomfortable?  Which room had the most entries on your list?  I often suggest the bedroom, as this is the last place you see when you go to sleep and the first one you see in the morning. It’s important for it to be especially comfortable – particularly pleasing to the senses. A delectable bedroom can be the difference between a rotten day and a glorious mood.

Take This Room One Step at a Time

Now that you’ve chosen to focus on a particular room, think about the primary piece or element in the room that needs to be changed and start there. Look at your list.  Often the first thing you wrote about a certain room is a good indication of what’s really bugging you about it.  Perhaps it’s just an easy chair that’s ripped and needs reupholstering or it may also need its shape updated a bit (a good upholsterer can do this!).

Look down at your feet. Are you standing on a rug or carpeting that’s seen better days? If you have hidden hardwood floors, they add value to your home and beautify any space. It’s time to let them out! Sometimes all they need is to be refinished. To make this happen, simply pick up the phone and call a floor finisher! Even floors in the worst possible shape can be refreshed with a few coats of paint, and of course that goes for your walls as well!

Have you been living with tacky, dated wallpaper?  It’s time to strip it away…  If the walls around you have always been pale or white, consider changing them up with bold colors.  Even one accent wall in an otherwise neutral room can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a space. Is there a certain piece of colorful clothing that always makes you feel happy, or a work of art that makes your heart sing?  Use such items as inspiration for making your color choice.  You’ll find paint chips and samples at your local Lowes or Home Depot.   Try out a few hues by painting patches directly on the wall, or on a poster board if your walls are textured. When you find one that makes you smile, you’ll know you’ve found it.

This is how it all started with one of my clients. She’d been surrounded by white her entire life, but finally decided to branch out into color. It made her so happy—she moved on to more and more improvements. Now her entire home is an enticing mix of color and form.

Like this client, once you’ve accomplished just one of your improvement goals, you’ll be motivated to move on to the next one.

And if this all still seems like more than you can handle, call a Professional! We’re here to take the tough stuff off your shoulders, and happy to help!

Janet Grey is an Interior Designer living in Silver Lake and specializing in affordable residential design.  Janet’s work can be seen on her web site: www.janetgrey.com. She can also be reached at (323) 719-7327.

Don’t be shy. Get in touch!

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