Couple painting on a house wall

A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color can make a room feel brand-new. (Getty Images)

Year after year when January rolls around, Americans painstakingly put together a list of resolutions for the New Year focused on everything from health and wellness to finances and self-improvement. While many people concentrate on external factors, we often forget to look to the very spaces where the majority of our time is spent – the home.

When making a New Year’s resolution list, home improvements aimed at improving health and well-being are typically left off the list, but here are a few ways that your living space can actually enhance your life.

[See: The Best Free Interior Design Apps.]

Rethink your layout. A little legwork can go a long way to completely freshen up and transform the look of any room. Whether it’s moving the sofa, reorganizing plants or swapping out accent furniture, this form of renovation won’t cost a penny and allows you to recreate any room in your house. Switching around existing furniture and mixing and matching decor are minor changes that can go a long way.

Bring nature in. A little pop of color can give your home the fresh revival it has been looking for, and plants are a cost-efficient way to bring your home to life – quite literally. The 2018 National Gardening Survey from GardenResearch.com reports that 30 percent of all homes have at least one houseplant, with that number likely to rise in the future due to the many health benefits of incorporating greenery in the living space. Besides making a home look more polished, biophilic designs and touches can have tremendous health benefits due to their positive impact on air quality and noise control, as well as enhanced creativity and reduced stress.

[Read: 5 Tips for Tackling Home Renovations With YouTube.]

Make over the entrance. The entrance to your home is the first impression for guests, so make it a good one. A fresh look in the foyer is an easy but effective way to make your home look good as new, whether it's adding a new entryway table with some decorations or painting the front door with a vibrant color. Finish the entrance makeover with a colorful doormat and new light fixtures and get ready to walk into what feels like a brand-new home.

Give a room a four-wall facelift. A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your home and make it feel new again. Utilizing a light, neutral color such as cream, gray or beige will make a room feel more expansive and give you that new year vibe you're going for. If you're feeling a bit more outgoing, add an accent wall or hints of coral, which is Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019 in the "living coral" shade. As an alternative to getting your hands dirty, a luxury wallpaper, such as those offered by Graham & Brown, is another perfect way to give a room a new look. Once the walls have a new color, spruce them up with a modern painting to give the room that extra character you’ve been looking for.

[See: 7 Home Design Rules to Break.]

Keep minimalism in mind. While you may feel the pressure to get multiple brand-new objects to spruce up a room, sometimes the best course of action is to remove clutter and add one simple item instead. Your room is guaranteed to look bigger and better when it’s less cluttered. Take a note from organization expert and founder of KonMari Marie Kondo, whose Netflix show "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" is a popular source of advice that’s particularly helpful going into the new year. On her blog, Kondo suggests replacing one old item with one new item to enhance your appreciation of the New Year and to start the year feeling refreshed. She suggests that even replacing everyday items with simple joys is an easy way to infuse fresh energy into our homes and daily lives.

Giving your home a facelift doesn’t need to be hard on the wallet. In 2019, get rid of the urge to splurge and utilize these simple enhancements to improve your home and enrich your overall well-being.


9 Interior Design Trends to Look Out for in 2019

It may be time to update your decor.

Modern interior living room.

(Getty Images)

According to an October report from the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, remodeling spending is expected to grow to more than $350 billion in the third quarter of 2019 (in the third quarter of 2018, spending was at $331 billion), which represents a slowing of spending growth compared to recent years. Whether you’re renovating your home for yourself, updating your home to sell or looking to spice up a living space that you rent, you’ll see some new trends entering the interior design field this year – and others easing out of the spotlight. Here’s what to keep an eye out for in 2019.

Trends are getting a longer shelf life.

Trends are getting a longer shelf life.

living room or saloon interior design with big wall yellow seat or sofa and picture frames watch 3d rendering

(Getty Images)

An interior design trend, by definition, is the temporary popularity of a style, pattern, color or approach to decor. But as the cost of homes continues to climb and the cost of renovating spikes as well, trends are sticking around longer, explains Anna Starmer, U.K.-based author of “Love Color: Choosing Colors to Live With” and founder of color and trend forecasting company Luminary Colour. “The interesting thing about trends right now is that they are slowing down,” she wrote in an email. “A colour family is popular for longer than (one) season. This is down to many factors, but one of the main reasons is that people are living real lives – they do not have enough time to redecorate every (six) months.”

Well-being comes into play.

Well-being comes into play.

Hygge, Zuhause, Entspannung, Muenchen, Bayern, Deutschland

(Getty Images)

The Danish concept of Hygge – being cozy and content – has been popular in the U.S. for a couple of years, particularly in the cold winter months when people bundle up to stay warm. But Starmer suggests that the current social or political mood is also encouraging people to make their home a comfortable safe haven of sorts: “(I)t is no surprise that in recent times of uncertainties in the world, we are all starting to favour comforting shades and warming colours in the home.” That extends to softer textures in furniture, pillows and blankets, rich scents like pumpkin or citrus and a setup that encourages relaxing.

Design in all spaces and sizes.

Design in all spaces and sizes.

Warm, feminine living room interior with gray armchair, beige sofa and small, woolen coffee table

(Getty Images)

Whether you’re still holding onto your dream of a tiny home or you simply can’t afford a bigger apartment, interior design is trending toward emphasizing conscious design in all spaces – not just the palatial homes of the wealthy. For example, Pottery Barn launched its small space collection, PB Apartment, in early 2018 to cater to customers who have less space to deck out. You’re also likely to see a growing number of companies offer furnishings and design aesthetics that serve more than one purpose and can be used in a variety of rooms.

Don't be afraid to be bold.

Don't be afraid to be bold.

White interior of living room with colorful pillows

(Getty Images)

Everyone’s comfort level is different, but those who are willing should feel free to embrace a bold, eclectic look at home in the coming year. HGTV star and interior designer Taniya Nayak says to go for bright accent colors, such as jewel tones and colors that contrast – think blue and orange – and don’t be afraid to layer. “I love doing paint techniques, and I love wall coverings too, but some people are really petrified of wall coverings,” says Nayak, who partners with FrogTape painter’s tape. When in doubt, make your statement by adding color with different types of wall decor (not all photos and prints), painting an accent wall or layering throw blankets and pillows in bright, contrasting colors to create a new focal point in the room.

Shades of green will pop up everywhere.

Shades of green will pop up everywhere.

Green living room

(Getty Images)

Expect interior designs to pull more inspiration from nature in the coming year, bringing lively green into the foreground. Starmer is predicting different shades of green to be more visible not just in interior design, but in fashion as well. However, she warns that you should keep texture and light in mind any time you select a color for a space. “A shade of emerald may look fabulous on a velvet-covered chair but hideous on the wall of a bathroom,” she says.

Neutrals are warming up.

Neutrals are warming up.

3d rendering illustration of living room with luxury wooden wall panel and hardwood floor. Classic interior decorated with tree fashion vases of black, gold and white ceramics. Gorgeouos texture of squares.

(Getty Images)

Gray, stark white and the gray-beige combo color “greige” have been go-to neutrals for a few years. But Starmer says neutral shades in the home are going to warm up as people look to evoke the feeling of more natural settings in the home. “Neutral and natural colours now need to be soft and warm like a favourite cashmere sweater – or the colour of a baby deer,” Starmer says. Capturing these neutrals with natural items like wood, real stones and ceramic pieces help “counteract our very unnatural lifestyles,” she says.

Floors are getting more natural.

Floors are getting more natural.

Modern interior. Render image.

(Getty Images)

In 2018, dark wood floors have been on the decline, according to Lee Crowder, design gallery and model branding manager for Darling Homes, a subsidiary of homebuilder Taylor Morrison Inc., based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Looking forward to 2019, wood floors should continue to stay on the lighter side, but many manufacturers are noting that a matte finish is gaining popularity, which makes the floor look more natural. Recycled and engineered wood remain a more sustainable alternative to the typical wood floor, and manufacturers are even increasing the variety of tile or vinyl floors that convincingly look like real wood.

Mixed metals are officially a look.

Mixed metals are officially a look.

Modern  luxury kitchen penthouse condominium home. Modern kitchen house interior.

(Getty Images)

Finding the perfect match to existing hardware in your bathroom or kitchen can be difficult, which is part of the reason why mixed metals started trending to begin with. But now it’s not just about convenience. With the right balance, you can bring multiple metals into a room and create a rich, glamorous look. Nayak notes that metals don’t have to be restricted to fixtures, lamps and coffee table legs; opt for metallic paint colors and incorporate geometric shapes on the walls to tie metals into other parts of the room.

Trends are catering to comfort levels.

Trends are catering to comfort levels.

Open plan apartment of family living-space with wooden kitchen countertop, purple radiator, communal table with turquoise chairs and spacious living room with beige couch

(Getty Images)

Some of the looks Nayak expects to see more in the coming year vary widely, from soft, romantic pastels and textured palettes to bolder jewel tones and metals. Rather than focusing on one widely accepted trend, you have the opportunity to embrace what works for you and keep it more unique than in years past. How do you know which trend to embrace? Look at your closet. “Whatever your wardrobe says about you is very much how you should approach your design,” Nayak says. If you’re big on patterns and bright colors, the eclectic trend can make your house feel like home again. If you’re a solids-and-neutrals kind of person, working in more of a natural look at home can provide the update you want and need.

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Tags: real estate, home improvements, New Year


Sally Forster Jones is recognized as one of the top real estate brokers in Southern California. Forster Jones is an expert in the luxury real estate market in Los Angeles and internationally. Her extensive knowledge ranges from residential sales, luxury and architecturally significant properties to new developments and commercial transactions.

She is currently Executive Director of Luxury Estates with Compass in Beverly Hills, California. Her team, SFJ Group, is comprised of agents and a full-service staff ranging across experienced marketing, listing, transaction, and operation experts.

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