Suddenly, rooms that have been crowded with people and gifts have empty space and breathing room.

Share story

The days after the holiday guests have gone home and the decorations have been put away can be clarifying. Suddenly, rooms that have been crowded with people and gifts have empty space and breathing room.

It’s a perfect time to rethink basics like the location of living room furniture or whether bookshelves should be reorganized.

Here, Betsy Burnham, founder of Los Angeles’ Burnham Design; New York-based designer and crafter Meg Allan Cole; and HGTV.com managing editor Camille Smith suggest redecorating projects than can be tackled with little or no expense on a winter weekend.

Make a new floor plan

Burnham suggests measuring your furniture and sketching out your space on a sheet of paper, trying items in different locations. Don’t be afraid to move items into different rooms or eliminate them completely.
As you assess your rooms, rethink storage as well.

“Now that you’ve cleared out the room, consider which items you need to keep handy and in plain sight, and which can be tucked away,” says Smith. “In the family room, a storage ottoman or coffee table can be a sanity-saver. A hinged lid makes it easy to tuck kids’ or pets’ toys away in a snap.”

Create inspiring art

This time last year, Cole created framed art for her home office by painting words like “Simplify” and “Good Vibes Only” on canvas. She put down letter stickers spelling out the words, and then painted over them in a cheerful mix of colors. When she peeled off the stickers, the letters were visible as blank canvas within the color.

The words aren’t “a New Year’s resolution that can be daunting. It’s like a mantra, and you can keep returning to that every day,” says Cole.

You can use any colors or words, and if the final result isn’t Pinterest-perfect, that’s just fine, says Cole: “Accepting the mess-ups is part of it.”

Increase warmth

Cole suggests combatting the dark and cold of winter months by adding thick throw rugs and faux-fur blankets to your living space.

Smith agrees: “The holidays may be behind us, but there are many months of winter dreariness ahead.” She suggests filling rooms with natural light by placing a large mirror opposite a bank of windows.
Burnham suggests upgrading your lamps by changing the lampshades.

“Designers generally buy lamps and shades separately,” she says. “Maybe you want to go more bohemian this year, or modern and cleaner.”

Get organized

January is a great time for eliminating clutter and getting organized. Cole recently added a corkboard to the back of her office door, decorated with pastel-painted paper. She created a space for “to do” lists and recipes, and made sure it added some fresh beauty to her workspace.

Burnham plans to reassess her bookshelves and tabletops this winter with an eye toward streamlining.

“We’re so attached to the way things look now,” she says. “There’s a certain freedom in separating yourself from that attachment” and realizing that everything doesn’t have to be displayed.