Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
New Year, new goals, and freshly sparked inspiration to get things done! We know the usuals– new gym memberships, budgets, clothes, and career aspirations. But before you overwhelm yourself with long-term projects and self-improvement hacks, let’s start small. Let’s refresh the spaces we call home.
Y’all, please DON’T put your spaces on the backburner.
This is one of the most important ways to boost your feel-good hormones and get your New Year off to a good start.
For all of us, our environment affects our mood and productivity levels — especially now — so many of us are working from home. Let’s give it some TLC! And give ourselves a to-do list we can actually accomplish RIGHT now. How good does that sound?
Here are some do’s (and don’ts) to think about as you refresh your home for the New Year!
Sometimes people avoid any design TLC because they feel like it’s just too complicated or expensive. Not always! Sometimes a simple paint upgrade can transform a whole space. Kitchen cabinets are a great place to start.
If you’re on a budget and can’t replace your cabinetry– repaint them. AND then, either repurpose or change out your hardware. Voilah! Instant gratification and a kitchen that looks brand new.
And unless you or your husband are contractors, NOT just handy– we recommend hiring a pro for this one. Painting is not as easy as it seems, especially when you want a nice, streak-free finish in every nook and cranny of your cabinet drawers. Trust me. A sloppy or less-than-perfect cabinet paint job WILL show.
Top Tip: If you decide to change out your cabinets, do install soft-close ones. If you stick with your existing cabinets, DO clean out the top of the cabinets (you won’t believe the number of dust mites that can accumulate up there).
If cabinet painting feels like too much, try updating just your wall color. BUT don’t paint without swatching first! Each paint color has an LRV value.
AKA the Light Reflectance Value.
A fancy way to refer to how light or dark a paint color will look. YES, lighting can change color. So can undertones. A grey paint color can look BLUE in one space and creamy grey in another. It’s all about the undertones y’all!
If paint options overwhelm you, check out my favorite paint color guide here. This guide will make your life easier if you’re thinking about painting any spaces in your home.
The same concept applies to wallpaper. DO hire a contractor for wallpaper updates. And try not to choose an outdated wallpaper. Some classic patterns include floral, stripes, and geometric shapes.
AND, wallpaper used to be a classic sign of dated decor. Or a reminder you’re sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen. BUT, today’s wallpaper goes beyond dingy florals and teapots for the kitchen.
You can either use wallpaper in an entire space or just for one accent wall. Either way, the right wallpaper can amp up a space’s design factor x10!
If you’re still not convinced, get the full scoop on the best ways to decorate with wallpaper in your home over here!
There are a lot of things that CAN be DIY. But one thing that I don’t mess with is electrical work!!
You know why? Because its dangerous!! Leave it to the experts. (Need a referral? I have a great one coming…)
If most of your spaces have the basic ceiling fan light, it’s time for an upgrade! Lighting is such a fun (and functional) way to spruce up your spaces.
It’s also very budget-friendly.
If you have a bathroom that needs some love, try adding a semi-flush pendant light or matching sconces on each side of your vanity mirror.
Or try vintage pendant lighting for your kitchen island. Go for something bold that has character! It will give your kitchen some much-needed personality. We love our rustic creamy wooden candle lights with an iron black finish.
Photo updates are such a meaningful way to refresh your home for the New Year too! I remove any Christmas or Holiday inspired photos the first week of January. Then, I use a black and white filter for my display photos. These have a nice classy feel to them.
Another easy way to update your space? Hunt for some cozy throw pillows. I like to change mine out with the season. The right pillows can transform an entire space.
Don’t believe me?
Next time you look through decor magazines or Instagram feeds, imagine those very spaces without the pillows. Dull and lifeless!
And for fall, I’ll use black and white gingham or dark, moody earth colors! I also like pairing geometric patterns with vintage accent chairs.
Top Tip: Try buying your inserts and pillow covers from the same place. Many times, insert sizes can vary depending on where you shop.
It’s also better to stock up on inserts and buy removable + machine washable covers. Some polyester pillows do not come with removable covers, so you’re stuck with that design. You’ll either choose to store it away (and pillows do take up space) or give it away.
Inserts come in down (feather filled) or polyester. Need a polyester option that holds up well and doesn’t shed feathers? Try this Pillowflex brand on Amazon. I’ve also found this brand’s sizing does stay true to cover sizes from most retail stores!
And yes, you can karate chop them for a perfect point — most other polyester pillows won’t do this!
We hope these tips helped you start your New Year off right.
I’m all about helping you quiet the design chaos and create a space that feels authentic to you. If you’re tired of coming home to bare walls and uncomfortable spaces, let’s bring excitement to your home!
I offer a complimentary, no-strings-attached phone call consultation. We can also consult by video conference. If you’d like to meet at your home, please know we will use all current safety protocols.