Best of the Web: Inspiration to Make Your Home Feel New

The New Year is a time for fresh starts and resolutions. For many homeowners, that means a new commitment to organization or a major redecorating project. For others, it’s a good reason to continue the party season and open their home to guests. Whether your resolutions include a minor freshening of a few favorite rooms or a complete overhaul, this week’s collection of bloggers have suggestions to help you find more storage, get organized and add style to your home.

Moving Boxes

If one of your resolutions for the new year is to make a big move and find a new home, guest blogger Sara Stringer at Green Your Decor has a list of essential steps to a successful relocation. She bases her article on her own experience with an inter-state move that taught her important lessons about scoping out a new neighborhood and paring down beforehand. By selling or donating items before her relocation, she saved fuel and moving costs when transporting her remaining belongings to her new home. If you’re ready for change, this article is a great place to start.

Baby on Mattress

After the holiday whirl and the New Year’s Eve celebrations, getting better sleep might be high on your list of priorities. Marie at The Refreshed Home has a timely piece on how to shop for a mattress that will give you a good night’s rest. After years of bearing weight, even a well-made mattress eventually compresses and no longer offers the support it should. You’ll spend as much as a third of your life with your mattress, so it’s worth being choosy about your bedding. Instead of focusing on coil counts and the merits of closed-cell versus open-cell foam technology, she focuses on how to road-test a mattress and find the one that feels right for you. For new homeowners who may be buying their first new mattress together, it’s a valuable resource.

Impulse Buying

If your resolution for the New Year involves a commitment to streamlining and simplifying, guest blogger Kristin at Organizing Homelife can show you how to cut down on your impulse buying and reduce clutter in your home. Ads and enticing store displays are designed to spur impulse buys, but with Kristin’s step-by-step list, you gain greater control of your buying decisions. With the right outlook, narrowing down your purchases offers bigger rewards than buying. When you shop with purpose instead of acting on impulse, you save money, buy only the items you truly want and have a more organized home.


You may have turned a new page on the calendar, but winter days haven’t changed. Muddy shoes and damp coats need their own space apart from the rest of your home, which is why Carolyn at Sweet Chaos Home was enlisted for a complete redo of her neighbor’s mud room. She transformed a tiny, dark laundry room into a bright, spacious place for storage and cleaning by borrowing square footage from the garage and installing new light fixtures. Practical tile floors and quartz counters will hold up to years of muddy boots, grass-stained sports equipment and any other mess that finds its way into the room. Whether you’re working with a large area or just refreshing a small space, let Carolyn’s illustrated before-and-after post provide inspiration.

Organized Kitchen

Of all the rooms in your house, one of the most prone to disorganization is the kitchen. Helen Stringer of Organized by Helen wants to help you restore order to your kitchen without spending your holiday bonus on costly container systems. Her practical tips and tricks use common items designed for other uses as kitchen organizers. For example, a shoe hanger becomes an over-the-door storage space for small items. A tension bar under the sink makes storing cleaning supplies simple. Magazine holders make the most of vertical space for keeping rolls of aluminum foil and plastic wrap neat. Helen’s suggestions are perfect for an afternoon of organizing, and they won’t break even a modest budget.

Kitchen Island

Sarah at The Ugly Duckling House has made tremendous progress in the kitchen of the home she’s remodeling, but she hasn’t decided whether to add an island to the room. She’s a big advocate of what she calls home shopping, or seeing the items you already have in your home and discovering new ways to use them, and found a tall table that makes a great temporary island. Although she doesn’t plan on making her casual breakfast nook table a permanent fixture in the center of her kitchen, Sarah’s repurposing lets her see if the kitchen needs the additional storage and counter space that come with an island. You may not need a new kitchen island, but Sarah’s suggestion to shop in your own home’s storage areas for items that can fill new purposes is an excellent one for any homeowner.

Radiant Orchid

Home stager Leona Piro has advice for homeowners who want to add a little spice to their decor with Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid. It’s a potent shade of fuchsia-infused purple that can overwhelm some design schemes, but when it’s used effectively, it’s brilliant. She recommends using a splash of orchid, magenta or lilac in printed fabrics and trim. For those who are bold enough to embrace vibrant color, she suggests painting a wall or upholstering a major piece of furniture in the lively shade. Expect to see orchid accents everywhere for 2014, making shopping for the new hue easy.

Refurbished Furniture

Alicia with Thrifty and Chic is looking ahead to home improvement projects that give old furniture a fresh look. Her most recent refinishing project took her old craft and paint table from neglected to new with sandpaper and chalk paint. She illustrates the process step by step, including removing the damaged finish on the semicircular table’s top and sanding the dark, heavy stain from the carved legs. The velvety matte paint adds textural interest and complements her white walls, but if color is your passion, try the look in lavender or tangerine for more impact.

Revamped Fireplace

At The Decorologist, home stager and paint color expert Kristie Barnett takes a look at what to do with awkward features. The dated 1970s fireplace in the home she profiled was slated for expensive removal, but she found a way to turn a potential eyesore into a selling point with color. The rough stone kept its texture but lost its disco-era color scheme under a triple coat of faux-finish gray paint that blended well with the warm gray walls. If you plan to redo a dated fireplace or other focal point, practice with paint first; it’s a big job for do-it-yourselfers, but the finished product is worth the effort.

Get a head start on your new year’s resolutions for your home with a fresh coat of paint, a newly organized kitchen or an improved storage system in your closets. Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or are planning to relocate, simplifying, decluttering and beautifying is a perfect way to start 2014.

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The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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