Rekindle the romance
You fell in love with a house, and it became your home. But after several years of day-to-day living, the romance may have worn off. If it seems like lately, all you can focus on are its problems (they don't call it a money pit for nothing!), check out our Valentine's Day guide to quick and easy ways to start feeling the love for your home again.
Engage Your Senses
Think about the process of enjoying a cup of coffee. There's the tantalizing sound of the pour, the warmth of the cup in your hands, the mouthwatering aroma, and the rich taste. Engaging your senses is a sure strategy for getting more satisfaction out of your surroundings, as well. Read on to find out how to make your home a delight for the eyes, nose and ears.
Feast Your Eyes
Tired of the same old sights? Give new life to any space by adding a pop of color. It's easy and affordable, and there are any number of ways to do it. You might consider framing and hanging a vibrant print, tossing some splashy new throw pillows on the couch, or treating yourself to a bouquet of fresh cut flowers.
Simmer Up a Spicy Scent
Many scented candles are made of petroleum-based paraffin with dubious artificial scents. A safer alternative is to simmer a pot of spices on your stove. Ingredients like cinnamon sticks, apple peels, orange rinds, cloves, apple juice, vanilla, anise, and nutmeg will soon make your home smell like you've been baking all day. Get into the habit of saving (rather than composting) the peels of oranges, lemons, and limes, and the skins from apples and pears. Once you've got what you need, fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add your favorite ingredients, continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so.
Treat Your Tastebuds
Even in February, you can enjoy fresh herbs in your cooking with a container garden in your kitchen. Just choose a sunny spot and water according to the label. And if you haven't done it in a while, now would be a good time to change your refrigerator's water filter to get rid of any funk that might be marring your refreshment.
The Sound...of Silence
Want to give your ears a rest from the world's racket and catch some better Zzzzz's? Covering your windows with heavy drapery -- the more layers, the better -- can be a suprisingly effective way to muffle street sounds. You can also install storm windows if you don't already have them to provide an additional barrier between your bedroom and the bustle outside.
Make a Good First Impression
While you take steps to make your home's interior more engaging to the senses, you should also consider amping up the exterior. It's common knowledge that curb appeal is attractive to potential buyers -- but it also simply makes your house more pleasant to return home to each day. Start by firming up the basics. A walkway kept in good repair will smooth the way to your front door and prevent stumbles when you're laden with groceries or luggage after traveling, and is especially important in the winter, when ice and snow can add to trip hazards. Generous exterior lighting is lovely to be greeted by at night, and it also plays a key role in home security.
Once you've covered the fundamentals of a welcoming walkway, you can move on to adding details that make it even more cheery. Give the front door a coat of color (red is a classic choice), hang a seasonal wreath, and lay down a bright doormat. Flank the entrance with evergreen plants to spruce it up even in winter, and you've got a front door you'll always be happy to walk through.
Badge of Pride
House numbers serve a utilitarian purpose, but they also provide an opportunity to express yourself aesthetically and show pride in your home. Choosing and installing a new set, whether they're metal, vinyl, tile, or another option, is a small project that can deliver big returns in satisfaction. Just make sure they are big and bold enough to be clearly legible from the street, and readable even in the dark.
A Place to Hang Up Your Cares
After a long day, we all like nothing better than to unwind. Make the process easier by setting up a dedicated station near your most-used entrance where you can stash incoming mail, hang up winter gear to dry, and stow your keys so you can quickly find them when you need them. If you don't have a mudroom, a slim console table with a wall organizer above and a boot tray below will do the job nicely. Having an established place to symbolically discard the cares of the day will go a long way towards turning your home into the haven you crave.
Put a New Spin on Things
Injecting an element of novelty into a relationship is common advice from love experts. (Seek out an unfamiliar restaurant! Try a new hobby together!) When it comes to a home, inserting some visual variety into your surroundings is a good way to achieve the same spark of excitement. But you don't have to go out and buy all new things. Taking a paintbrush to a tired piece of furniture, swapping out an old lampshade, or switching in new drawer pulls are great budget-friendly ideas for banishing boredom.
Just do it!
Humans are astonishingly adaptable creatures. We can put up with any number of annoyances, from drawers that stick to doors that slam, from wobbly table legs to the drip, drip, drip of a chronic bathroom leak. We tell ourselves it's not worth the trouble to fix, or that we'll fix it later (and later...and later...), and all the while, we build up resentment towards our homes. Resentment is unhealthy, and love can't flourish in its presence, so if you do only one DIY project this Valentine's Day, make a committment to finally taking care of that nagging issue that's been wearing on your nerves for who knows how long. You'll be surprised how much better you feel!