Ask An Editor: Looking to spruce up your home this New Year? Here are some simple and effective tips to keep in mind | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The year is about to come to a close yet again, and with that milestone often comes the need to bring about change in our lives. Personally, I find the New Year a good excuse to introduce some new updates to my living space, just to signify that another new chapter is about to begin. 

Whether you’re looking to revamp your longtime abode, or excited to move into a new home, it’s important to make it a point to channel positive energy, good vibes, and lots of personality in more ways than one. Take notes from Ria Prieto’s eclectic and modern creative space, here are some practical tips for a fun and functional work-and-play space.



Get your priorities straight

Before you even begin, ask yourself what you actually want to get out of your home. Do you need a more efficient workspace? Do you want a more welcoming space for guests? Do you have enough space for your growing kids? After you’ve established this, then it will be much easier to figure out your budget and strategy for the project.


Work with what you have

The thought of shopping for an entire new furniture showcase may be tempting (and incredibly exciting), but stop yourself before you take that plunge! Only replace things that absolutely need replacing—meaning unless it’s falling apart or no longer functional, then there’s no reason for you to throw it out just because you want a change. Instead, try updating old pieces using simple techniques like reupholstery, upcycling, reframing, and repainting. Sometimes, all you need is a quick makeover.


Know what to keep neutral

It’s easy to get lost in the trap of over-decorating, so tread with caution.  Large furniture pieces like cabinets, beds, couches, and tables draw the most attention because of their size. Aside from this, walls and curtains also can become distracting and imposing if they’re not done right. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to choose neutral options—just because they’re plain doesn’t mean they’re boring. Various shades of white, beige and off-white upholstery can be blended together to create a more cohesive foundation, and cabinetry and shelving in natural shades of wood give these off a more subtle presence. Think of it as a blank canvas that allows you more opportunity to express yourself in smaller and more meaningful ways, rather than forcing your space to fit one too many big and bulky eyesores. 


Colors and textures are key

Once you’ve built your blank canvas, identify areas you can add accents to by introducing pops of color and bits of texture and patterns. There are many low-cost ways to do this, whether it’s a simple coat of paint on your walls, a unique find from the fabric store, or some fun throw pillows. Make sure these are things you resonate with and do some research about color theory so you know what kind of effect these additions will have on your mood. Again, do things slowly, as you run the risk of bringing in too much and overwhelming the look. This creates chaotic energy and that’s definitely something you don’t want to live with! 


Your personality, interests, and memories matter

Trust me, people can tell when the things you have on display are truly a reflection of a home’s owner, or if they were just plucked off the shelf of a department store display. Use your blank canvas to strategically and tastefully place your favorite art, books, and artifacts. Not just for the aesthetic value, but more importantly for the interesting stories and conversations that come from them. You don’t have to show everything at once—in fact, rotating the things you use in your cabinet, table, and shelving displays is a fun way to keep your space constantly refreshed and energized.


Encourage good lighting and ventilation

There are a lot of things that can make your space darker and tighter aside from windows and lights. Only have tall furniture in certain corners and walls, and make sure they don’t obstruct the natural sunlight that enters or the air that flows. Avoid having clutter in view because too these can make you anxious and feel heavy. If you’re trying to make a room feel brighter and bigger aside from more lights, mirrors can do the trick, too.


Keep functionality in mind

At the end of the day, you need your space to be useful and efficient. The process of decorating can be exciting, but go back to your goals. Make sure your space still adheres to your requirements. Keep in mind important factors like how much storage you need, how many seats you need at the table, and what kind of pieces work well with your lifestyle and needs. Your home is unique to you and your household, so take note of who else will be using your space and adjust accordingly, especially if you share with messy, furry, or young  inhabitants!


Some good juju always helps!

Nowadays, it’s common for people to use tools that cleanse and energize the aura of their space. Some common finds are smudge sticks like Sage for clearing stagnant energy, Palo Santo for introducing new and positive energy, and incense for meditation and mindfulness. Fresh flowers and herbs are also known to have both medicinal and mental benefits. If you’re into more mystical symbols, various crystals like Citrine, Quarts, Tourmaline, and many others are also said to be helpful. Find what works for you, and again, know what outcome you actually want and need before piling on too many things all at once.

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