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Writing by Clare McAlpin

Artwork by Aeneas Eaton

Do you want to breathe new life into your home this spring without completely redecorating? Would you like your rooms to better reflect your personality? Are you hoping to create a personal sanctuary tailored to your tastes? Then you might need a home refresh.

Buying completely new furniture and fully redecorating can become costly, but a refresh is a cost-effective way to change and personalize the look of any room. With a few simple tricks, and perhaps one or two smaller purchases, refreshing a room can be a fun and rewarding way to update your home. 

What a “refresh” looks like

Refreshing your home means making simple changes that have a big impact. Anything from adding a new piece of greenery to your home to rearranging furniture is considered a refresh. 

“Refreshing could be as simple as swapping out old drapery with new, more updated window treatments,” says Pam Smith, a designer at Country Willow. “That could change an entire room.”

When hanging new window treatments, placement is key. Put them a little higher and wider than your actual windows, which will make your windows and your room appear larger. 

Or if window treatments aren’t your thing, consider replacing your light fixture with a modern, structural piece. It can also change the look of your room.

“When I hear the word ‘refresh,’ what comes to mind are the typical activities, like painting, rearranging furniture and maybe buying a few new pieces,” says realtor Cate Bauer, of the Carine and Cate Team at Compass, who often helps homeowners with a refresh. “But one of the best things you can do is get rid of things and edit what you already have. This will make the space feel much larger.” 

Additionally, picking things up off the floor and arranging your furniture to show more of your baseboards can also make your space feel larger.  

These small changes, according to Smith and Bauer, can fully transform your mindset and outlook on your living space.

How to find your style 

Knowing or redefining your style is key to a successful refresh. Many people fall into one of three style categories: traditional, transitional or modern.

“Transitional is an in-between style,” Smith explains. ”It’s right in the middle of traditional and modern.” 

Bauer says social media plays a large role in shaping people’s style, and she recommends looking through Pinterest and home magazines for ideas and inspiration.

“If you see a piece you like on Pinterest, take a screenshot, then do a reverse image search to see where you can buy that piece,” she suggests. 

Repurposing items 

When refreshing your home, it can be difficult to get rid of certain items you’ve grown attached to, even if they don’t suit your new style. Smith recommends settling on one piece you truly love and focusing your design around it. 

“It should be the most heartfelt piece in your home—something that has meaning to you,” she explains. “Maybe it’s an old chest, dresser or stool that you would like to keep around. I always fit that one piece into the floor plan and remind clients that it can be repurposed.”

If you’re really struggling to get rid of things, Bauer says a professional organizer can help you purge. 

“Having an organizer come in with a fresh set of eyes is extremely helpful in the editing process,” she says. “They can also help you find or rediscover things you may have forgotten about that have lots of potential to be repurposed.”

Final words of advice 

A home refresh can enhance the aesthetics of your living space and cultivate an environment that nurtures comfort, creativity and joy. 

The key is to keep it simple: declutter, repurpose and maybe purchase one new item (window treatment, light fixture, etc.) that makes a big impact. 

Bauer and Smith agree that refreshing your home shouldn’t be a daunting task; it can be achieved with minimal cost and effort. And, most importantly, it should be fun.

This article was published in the March/April 2024 print edition of Connect to Northern Westchester.

Clare McAlpin
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Clare McAlpin is a senior at Horace Greeley High School. In her free time, you can find her listening to music and hanging out with friends. Clare is a member of her school's varsity golf team, and she spends her extra time involved in improving her community, specifically delivering food through Meals on Wheels. She often finds herself enjoying romcoms and thrillers, both in theaters and on paper.