From kitchen renovations to organizing and clearing out to finally painting the walls, why not resolve to get your nest looking its best in 2012?
Changes don't have to be expensive to make an impact.
"Setting realistic goals that provide immediate gratification, such as painting an accent wall or clearing the clutter with new home organization items … can make a huge difference in your home's appearance immediately," says Jaclyn Pardini, a spokeswoman for Lowe's.
Artist Chandra Michaels of Sugarluxe art and accessories (www.sugarluxe.com) plans to spend at least part of the new year pushing a paint brush. A relatively small investment in paint can provide dramatic improvements.
"As an artist, I find I'm so much happier when surrounded by color," Michaels says. "I'm painting walls, the front door — in a retro aqua — love! And I have promised myself I'd finish painting our kitchen cabinets. The doors have been off the cabinet frames for 10 months."
Dara Caponigro, editor-in-chief of Veranda magazine, resolves to have people over at least once per month in the new year. That will encourage her to focus on tablescapes, which she loves.
"I think setting a beautiful table can be such an expression of who you are and so satisfying because it's a little mini creative project," Caponigro says. "I understand that people are so busy, and it's difficult to find the time to entertain."
Caponigro suggests that even if you are ordering takeout, you can wow guests with a fabulous tablescape.
"Tableware is so exquisite," Caponigro says. "I used to be the tabletop editor years ago at one of the magazines I worked for, so I guess I'm sort of a tabletop fanatic. It takes the ordinary to the extraordinary."
Freelance writer and blogger Therese McDonald Odell is setting her sights on the kitchen.
"I swear this is the year we are going to finally redo our kitchen," Odell says, then repeats herself with conviction.
But Pardini recommends a lighter approach.
"In today's economy, homeowners are thinking in terms of what needs to be done and focusing their time and money on refresh-type decor projects," Pardini says. "For example, instead of tackling a complete kitchen remodel, they may update the color and texture of their countertops and cabinets with a paint product called Cabinet and Countertop Transformations for a new look that costs less than $500. They may also update their recessed can lighting to pendant lights over a sink or kitchen island, install a tile backsplash and add new cabinet hardware for a fresh look."
Pardini advises experimenting in the kitchen with a bold hue of paint because with the limited wall space, the color won't overwhelm the room.
"Consider food-inspired paint colors," she says.
Even if you aren't particularly design savvy, there are little things you can do to keep your home looking fresh throughout the year.
"Keep things simple, and buy classics," Caponigro advises.
A sisal rug, a sofa that will never go out of style and white walls are a few ways to keep it clean and bright.
"Then you can change things out if you want to keep things current, change out your throw pillows, change out the little things," Caponigro says.
People want their homes to reflect who they are and how they really live, so small updates will make a world of difference, Pardini says.