So today, Monday 15 January 2018, is this year’s “Blue Monday”, as originally coined by a travel company in 2005. They decided that the third Monday in January was the most depressing day of the year thanks to the combination of being disheartened with New Year’s resolutions having already been abandoned, gloomy winter weather and feeling broke and overweight after Christmas. If you’re self employed, I’d add that the impending date of 31 January, when you have to submit your tax return, doesn’t exactly do anything to cheer you up either…..
But this year, I thought I’d put together a list of 10 interiors tips to cheer up you and your home, most of them at little or no cost. So forget Blue Monday and take a fresh look at your home instead.
1 Finish the odd jobs – unless you live in the “perfect” house, we all have small jobs we’ve been meaning to do for ages. That odd bit of painting that never got finished, the door handle that needs fixing, the picture that needs hanging….. You know the sort of thing – they’re not essential, which is why they get put off for so long, but they bug you so why not JUST DO IT? So often when I do these jobs, they don’t take as long as I think they will and it is SO satisfying when they’re done (I usually wonder why on earth I didn’t just do it months or even years ago!)
2 Clear out some clutter – this doesn’t need to be a mammoth operation; just making a start on one shelf, drawer or cupboard always feels good. Pick the place that makes your heart sink every time you look at it and cheer yourself up by sorting it out once and for all. Clear out the old newspapers piled up on the coffee table, tidy up your make up drawer, get rid of chipped crockery languishing at the back of the cupboard….. Be ruthless is my motto!
3 Sell stuff – this really is a win-win as you not only get rid of things you no longer need, but you can also make a bit of spare cash. My favourite site is www.preloved.co.uk and I’ve used it to shift everything from furniture to a lawn mower. Take some good pics, write an accurate description, look at similar items for sale to gauge the asking price and don’t forget to say “buyer collects” if it’s a big item!
4 Start spring cleaning – probably not high on most people’s list of favourite activities, but think how good you’ll feel when your house is cleaner. Let’s face it, cobwebs and dusty corners are pretty depressing.
5 Clean the windows and pull your curtains right back to let in as much light as possible. When they’re open, curtains should hang in front of walls, not windows. A common mistake is fitting curtain poles that are too short, or not fixing the brackets close to the ends of the pole, so the curtains hang in front of the window and obscure precious light. If you can’t change your pole, try adding some simple rope tie backs to hold the curtains away from the window.
6 Use warm white light bulbs – when buying bulbs, look for ones marked Warm White, or with a colour temperature rating of 2700K or less. Bulbs with a colour temperature of a higher number than this, will give off a harsher white light, that can make a room feel depressing.
7 Take a good long look at the accessories in your home – are the cushion covers in need of a good wash, badly faded, or past their sell by dates, with broken zips and fraying holes? If so, get some new covers for a fresh new look and to be honest, I would always replace the inner pad at the same time. You’ve only got to thump an old cushion pad to see just how much dust comes out of it…… Lampshades are another item that show their age and need replacing when they’re faded or dented.
8 Experiment with changing some of your furniture around – staying with family over Christmas, they asked me if I thought they should swap the position of their sofa and dining table around. “Why don’t you just try it?” I said – it was a 5 minute job to change it, so we did. If they didn’t like it, they could change it back, but by the time we left they’d decided they preferred the new layout!
9 Start planning a new project for your home, even if you don’t have the budget available yet. Do some research, get quotes, send for samples so that you have a plan ready for when your bank balance is in a better place. Every house I’ve ever owned has been a “work in progress” for several years – I have yet to buy a place and have the budget to do everything I want right from the start, but I love planning what we’ll do. I finally placed the order for some bespoke shelves and storage for our living room just before Christmas, but I’ve waited 3 years to do that and we’ve been using some mid century cupboards picked up in a charity shop in the meantime!
10 Finally treat yourself at home – light some scented candles (I have a tendency to keep candles I’m given in the cupboard “for best” but why?? and when is “best” anyway??!!) or luxuriate in a long hot bath full of bubbles. Forget the blues of January, look forward to the coming of Spring and the thought that you’ll soon be able to fill your home with the cheery sight of fresh daffodils.