Here are seven home improvement ideas that can dramatically change how you feel when you are inside your home. All of these ideas are low-cost or free. You can actually make money by following the advice in one of them. Some of them require some work, others require very little. Together they provide a strong foundation for creating your ideal home environment.
1. Color Your World
Few things can affect the appearance of a home more than the color and freshness of its paint. The color of a room can have a profound effect on your mood. The freshness of the paint can greatly affect the perceived quality and cleanliness of a room.
At a minimal cost, you can dramatically change the look and feel of your home’s interior. Painting is a lot of work, but the rewards are more than worth the effort.
You can also make a room seem larger and more attractive with the strategic placement of different complementary colors and shades. For example, if you paint your ceilings a lighter color than your walls, the ceilings seem higher. I’ve seen many people use white paint on their ceilings to get this effect when their wall colors are a very light shade. Painting moldings, window and door frames, and structural features a different shade or color makes the room more interesting.
Each color brings about a different emotional response. Savvy companies have used the psychology of color to influence behavior for years. Some colors are used to stimulate activity and others are used to calm and relax.
Here are some descriptions of how color affects us.
- Green – Balances, normalizes, refreshes.
- Pink – Soothes, promotes affection and congeniality.
- Yellow – Cheers, increases energy and creativity.
- Red – Stimulates, empowers, dramatizes.
- Orange – Increases appetites, conversation, and charity.
- White – Enlivens all other colors. Purifies, unifies.
- Purple – Creates mystery, comforts, draws out intuition.
- Blue – Relaxes, refreshes, produces peaceful moods.
When it comes to home improvement ideas, painting is often undervalued. A fresh coat of paint can enhance the look of any room and the color can make a dramatic difference. Consider a broad range of colors and take your time in choosing. I would suggest that you test colors by painting a large square of it on a wall that you often pass. Then live with it for a while and see how you feel.
2. Set the Mood & Conceal Imperfections with Lighting Adjustments
By just lowering the lights, you can completely change the mood of a room and enhance its appearance. Lower lighting can also obscure imperfections on your furniture, room paint, and yourself. Everyone looks better when the lights are dim. In contrast, if the lights are so bright that you feel like you’re in a hospital operating room, every imperfection is vividly apparent and colors look washed out.
You can achieve the level of lighting you want, and save money on your electric bill, by installing low-watt bulbs and dimmer switches. I use a lot of these around my home except in locations where I do a lot of reading. In those locations, I use high-watt bulbs.
There is a tendency to have the brightest lighting possible in kitchens and bathrooms. I think this practice is a mistake. These rooms get dirty quickly and they accumulate damage faster than any other room. If you lower the lights, you and your guests will not notice these imperfections.
I understand that there are reasons to have good light in a kitchen or bathroom on a regular basis. To accommodate these needs, install overhead recessed lighting that targets specific areas and/or dimmers to raise or lower the light in the entire room as needed.
During the day, you can create the atmosphere that you want by adjusting or installing window coverings. If blinds, shades, or curtains don’t do the job, install window tinting. This may be particularly necessary for windows that are out of reach and/or don’t have coverings.
The key is to decide what atmosphere that you want to create and then design your lighting levels and fixture placements to achieve that end.
A change in lighting is one of the easiest home improvement ideas to carry out, yet it can have a tremendous impact on the look and feel of a room. And it can save you money!
3. Light the Room on Fire
When it comes to creating a relaxed, elegant, or romantic mood in a room nothing does it better than a lit fireplace.
The more lit candles that you have the more dramatic the effect. Scented candles can further enhance the effects. Other than in the kitchen, I would suggest that you avoid using candles that smell like food. The only exception is tropical fruit scents as they can bring back memories of vacationing on an island paradise.
Don’t leave out your bathroom. Not only will candles transform the appearance of your bathroom when the lights are off, but scented candles can also eliminate unpleasant odors.
To achieve the greatest benefit from the use of candles, be sure to turn off or turn down your lights. Also, the more candles you place throughout your home the better. This is especially true if you are trying to create a romantic atmosphere.
Important Note: When using candles, it’s essential that you are vigilant when it comes to fire safety.
4. Stop the Noise and Turn On the Music
Irritating outside noise can destroy your ability to enjoy your home. There are a number of things you can to do stop the noise.
Double or even triple pane windows can really help to block noise and keep out the heat and cold. If you have the opportunity to have these installed in your home, I’d recommend that you do. They really make a difference.
Close windows and doors that are nearest the source of the noise. This is a no-brainer, but sometimes we forget how little adjustments can change things.
If you have noisy neighbors, my heart goes out to you. I’ve had a great deal of experience in this area. After a lot of trial and error, I finally figured out how to handle it successfully. I’ll give you some of the most important secrets I’ve discovered.
Always communicate noise complaints anonymously in a typed letter or through the police or other local authority. If you write a letter, describe the problem clearly and be firm but polite. Although the police will ask you for your name, you do not have to give it. Your complaint becomes a matter of record either way. Other authorities might include a city noise complaints officer.
Although it goes against our natural inclination to be stand-up individuals and neighbors, for a number of solid reasons doing it anonymously is much more effective. Believe me, I know. I’ve tried it both ways many times. Let’s move on to more pleasant issues.
Pleasing background music or sounds can put the icing on the cake in terms of creating a peaceful and inspiring home environment.
Instrumentals, singing birds, and nature sounds provide an excellent background for any room or occasion. They also work well in garden rooms.
If you wish to create a romantic atmosphere, buy some romantic music. If you don’t know what to get, buy an Andrea Bocelli CD – Sogno is one of my favorites. And don’t forget to light some candles!
Some of these home improvement ideas are simple, but they can really change how you feel when you’re working, relaxing, or entertaining.
5. Pleasant Fragrances are Worth a Thousand Feelings
Nothing can ruin a home more than unpleasant odors. This is especially true for guests since they haven’t become accustomed to the smell like you may have.
If a home smells extra good, you will notice it every time you walk in and so will your guests. The same is true if it smells bad, except you will not notice it as much after a while.
Fragrances affect your emotions just as color, lighting, and sound do. And once the scent registers in your brain, good or bad, it stays with you and affects how you feel.
There are many things you can do to make your home smell great! If you want to make your home smell fantastic, I suggest that you do as many of these things as possible.
- Have your carpets, furniture, and drapes professionally cleaned. This should be done at least every couple of years.
- Thoroughly clean your entire home. If necessary, hire a service to do it for you. This should be done at least once a year along with regular weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cleanings depending on the activity level in your home.
- Put out vases of fragrant, fresh-cut flowers. Carnations and gardenias are very fragrant.
- Put out bowls of potpourri. Potpourri is a mixture of dried, naturally fragrant plant material.
- Hang pine or eucalyptus wreaths.
- Burn incense on a regular basis. The fragrances released during the burning of incense tend to penetrate surrounding materials and accumulate.
- Burn scented candles on a regular basis. The fragrances of scented candles are often subtly apparent even when they are not lit and prominent when they are.
- Install some plug-in air fresheners. These do a terrific job if you choose the right fragrance. I’d stay away from those meant to resemble the smell of certain foods.
Use of carpet and fabric re-fresheners and room deodorizers can be helpful, but don’t try to use them to mask a dirty home. It won’t work, and the practice is tacky.
If your carpet is too far-gone or gets dirty too quickly leaving an unpleasant appearance and smell, perhaps you should consider installing stone, tile, wood, bamboo, cork, or laminate flooring. This investment would eliminate a major source of odors and germs, greatly improve your home’s appearance, and increase its value.
This suggestion should be at the top of the list, but I didn’t want to start with cleaning tasks. The truth is that a clean and pleasant-smelling low-cost home is much more inviting than a dirty, foul-smelling mansion.
6. Bring Nature Inside & Just Breath
Houseplants bring a feeling of nature and peacefulness into your home. Plants that get a lot of natural light absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. Plants in low-light areas don’t do this as well. We, of course, take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. So plants can act like natural air purifiers.
Tropical plants do particularly well in bathrooms that get a lot of sunlight. They like the humidity that showers and baths create.
Dried plants and flowers are nice. They can enhance the ambiance of a room and some of them have pleasant natural fragrances.
Most artificial plants, flowers, and grasses look tacky. It’s okay to use high-quality artificial plants in hard-to-reach places that are far enough away to prevent close inspection. It’s imperative that you keep them clean or they look fake.
Keep it real and get live plants. They require a little work, but the look and oxygen production cannot be duplicated.
7. Remove the Clutter, Simplify, and Organize
When comes to an award-winning interior design and inviting environments, simplicity and logical order are the most important considerations.
Both shared and private living spaces look best when they are free of clutter and contain just the right amount of furniture. Having the correct size furniture is also important. Having a huge sofa or bed in a small room makes the room look small, crowded, and awkward.
The first step in simplifying your home is to get rid of the clutter by removing unused furniture, electronics, appliances, books, magazines, etc. Once you’ve done that you can start the process of organizing everything from the arrangement of furniture to the organization of the contents in cabinets, closets, and drawers. While you’re organizing these storage areas you can pick out items that you want to get rid of. I’d suggest that you’re aggressive in this effort.
A great way to begin this project is by having a garage sale. That way you can have other people haul away stuff that you no longer want and make some money to implement some of the other home improvement ideas I’ve discussed.
Each of these ideas contributes to how you and others will feel in each room of your home. The closer each component is to your ideal home environment, the more you and others will enjoy being there. Living spaces such as these can also promote greater creativity, productivity, and positive human interaction. You don’t believe me. How do feel when you’re in an exceptionally beautiful home, hotel, or restaurant?
Leading hotels, restaurants, and stores take advantage of all the things I’ve discussed to create the most enjoyable experience possible for their guests. Why not do the same for yourself? These home improvement ideas offer a solid foundation for creating a dream home environment.