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Ten Little Projects to Make a Big Difference in Your Home’s Appearance”

We all love a fresh start, and each season brings about an opportunity for improvement! I’ve compiled a top ten list of home projects to improve your life at home and hopefully give you a little impetus to get things started. I make a living going into people’s homes and I know for certain the items below will make a big difference in the appearance of yours. Jeff Herr photo above.


On a large piece of lined white paper write down all the things around your home that drain you, from a broken tile, to a rip in the draperies, to your spouse’s broken down recliner. There will probably be twenty to forty items on your list. You don’t have to act on all the things at once but do prioritize them. Anything that’s not solvable immediately will be your last priorities. They will stay on the list until a later date, and you will keep that list in a central location.


The things that you are capable of solving (changing batteries, light bulbs, and sewing holes) address one by one. Check them off your list as you go. I call these lists “Clean Sweeps” and I’ve done them successfully since 2001 in various aspects of my life from personal fitness, to home maintenance, to professional advancement and it’s amazing the amount of energy you gain by getting your life in order and by retaining that order as best you can. There will always be those things you can’t resolve immediately and that’s okay. But taking care of the little things is achievable and cumulative. Keep the list on the inside of a cabinet you use at least once a week, such as the cabinet where you keep the laundry detergent. Don’t place in a spot you visit numerous times a day. That’s too distracting. You will also get considerable relief just by writing them down and prioritizing them.

Number one is “make a home related list of to do’s”.

Very quickly, I just want to say thank you for dropping by! I’m Shiree’ and I love sharing all things design and wellness with you. As a way of saying thanks to my valued readers here is a copy of my Healthy at Home, 5 key design decisions that support health and wellness  to help you create a more beautiful home and healthier lifestyle. I hope you get a ton of goodness from it because I sure enjoyed writing it for you! Download it below, it’s free by the way. Enjoy. xo 

One of my pet peeves about older homes is “golden oak”. I know some people are reluctant to paint wood but golden oak immediately dates a home. When sanding, staining or replacement isn’t an option, fresh white paint is a huge improvement on any golden oak surfaces from kitchen cabinets to closet doors. With this project, it’s best to hire a professional painter, preferably one who has a sprayer. Brush strokes aren’t desirable on doors.

So number two is “update kitchen cabinets and drawers”.


Along a similar vein, stained casings on windows and doors and baseboards that don’t match other wood work in the home create a disparate, “patchwork quilt” look in rooms and hallways. Go for a clean appearance by keeping trim colors consistent.

Number three is “paint or stain trims, windows and doors a consistent color throughout your home”.


I’ve noticed light fixtures look quite dated in homes fifteen years and older. It could be because they weren’t well chosen to begin with. A wonderful place to upgrade your home is with lighting. One caveat, don’t just update one or two rooms. Replace fixtures uniformly throughout the home.

Number four is “update your lighting”.


Dirty traffic marks on carpet are very noticeable. Having carpets cleaned once or twice a year is a terrific investment. I have my dining room and bedroom carpets done right before Mother’s Day and right before Thanksgiving. That way my carpets are fresh when family arrives for the holidays.

Number five “have your carpets professionally cleaned”.

Dust is a nemesis of every homeowner. It settles on light fixtures, furniture, glass surfaces, window sills, draperies and wooden blinds. Even with a housekeeper it’s hard to notice all the incipient places dust settles. Make it an annual, or better yet, bi-annual event to do extensive dusting and polishing. Your home will thank you and so will your allergies. And open your windows and to allow fresh air to circulate as often as possible. It makes the home feel unbelievably wonderful.

Number six is do a “deep clean dusting”.


Dusty, dirty windows aren’t immediately noticeable when you’ve been looking at them for years. But trust me, if you get used to them being clean, you’ll notice when they’re dirty.

Number seven is “clean the windows”.


Aluminum mini-blinds are dreadful. There, I said it. Here’s a little insider trick. At IKEA, you can get perfectly fine sheer panels for $20 to $30 each. I spent a recent holiday at my brother’s home in San Francisco and he had them in his living and dining room and I was smitten with them. There’s no excuse for mini-blinds.

Number eight is “upgrade your window coverings” with inexpensive, unlined sheers. Or better yet, call a designer and have your windows fitted with custom curtains. A tiny warning, this one generally requires a five figure budget. Consider custom window coverings akin to professional landscaping. But what a difference. 

Oh, and it pains me to say this but custom fabric window coverings will most likely not improve the value of the home. Shutters and wooden blinds will however. I love the look of the old fashioned shutters with the small slats, but most homeowners and buyers prefer plantation.

Energy efficiency is extremely important now and will be increasingly so in the future. While florescent light bulbs lend a slightly off color cast to humans and their furnishings, I’ve replaced most of the light bulbs in my home with them. You’ll love the savings on your electric bill. The bulbs last longer too. It’s well worth it.

Number nine, “replace all incandescent bulbs with energy efficient florescent ones”.


Clutter begets clutter. I’ve preached this one for years. In the same way graffiti multiplies in urban areas, clutter collects in your home. If you want a tidy home, tidy it and keep it that way. When someone leaves something out of place, it will be immediately noticeable. If you want your family to be more organized, provide easily maintained storage for everything in the home.

Number ten, is “tidy and organize”. 


I hope you found this post to be helpful! And don’t forget to get your free download for a deeper dive into improving your lifestyle at home. Here’s that link again! Healthy at Home, 5 key design decisions that support health and wellness

Bye for now!