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Spending time at home leads to noticing all the things you want to change. And maybe you should switch some things up: Did you know pursuing a mini-makeover can actually benefit your mental health? “A great way to manage stress when life is uncertain and scary is to take on a new project,” says Jennifer Hochman, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in treating anxiety disorders. “It allows us to create new goals to focus on and gives us a feeling of accomplishment when tasks are complete.”
Especially if you have a lot of time on your hands, zeroing in on a task can re-energize you. “It gives you a sense of purpose for your day,” says Dr. Hochman. “We’re all creating new routines at home, and pursuing a project can be a healthy distraction to refocus your attention on something you enjoy.”
It can also lead to a subtle tweak in your thinking. “It shifts your perspective of what is out of your control to what you can control,” says Dr. Hochman. “Think of it as ‘what I get to do’ instead of ‘what I can’t do’.”
We’ve come up with a bunch of ideas that’ll improve your home and your mood. And these don’t cost a lot—they’re surprisingly budget-friendly. Scroll down for inspiration, and enjoy your spruced-up space.
Pump up curb appeal
You’ve heard it before: First impressions are everything. And there are so many ways to tweak your home’s exterior—and make the neighbors jealous. You can hang cool new sconces, paint the front door a fun color, add a decorative welcome mat, and—our favorite idea—get new house numbers.
For a sleek, pulled-together look, keep the finish of house numbers consistent with any sconces or other metal pieces. Aluminum with a flat black finish, these numbers have half-inch spacers so they seem to “float” on the surface of your house.
Max out a mudroom
Friends and family will be more apt to leave their coats, shoes and hats at the door when there are handy hooks at the ready. We love these walnut versions because not only are they 59 percent off right now, but they’re warm and minimalist. And they each hold 30 pounds—not bad.
Organize your jewelry
How many times have you grabbed a necklace only to discover it’s tangled up with your bracelets and earrings? Let your baubles hang free. Now’s a great time to go through your jewelry and give away anything that doesn’t wow you. Then, so you don’t forget what you have, install a wall-mounted jewelry organizer to keep everything in sight. This cast-brass beauty feels timeless, and features five nicely spaced hooks.
Charm up a garden
There are so many fun ways to decorate a garden. You can install a birdbath for your favorite feathered friends or add a trellis for ivy. And upgrading your planters gives greenery a proper, sophisticated home. We love the look of these slatted teak planters; they have a powder-coated aluminum liner with drainage holes, too.
Hang peel-and-stick wallpaper
It used to be that hanging wallpaper meant hiring a pricey installer. Not anymore. Peel-and-stick designs have vastly improved—you wouldn’t even know they’re not the real deal. Cover an accent wall or start small with the back of a bookshelf, the inside of a drawer or under a glass-topped coffee table.
Install open shelving
Whether in an entryway to hold keys and mail or in a kitchen to keep salt and pepper shakers within reach, you can’t go wrong with open shelving. These 7-inch-wide planks are made of reclaimed wood for an organic, perfectly imperfect feel.
Turn your shower into a spa
Just imagine starting your day with a relaxing rainwater-like shower. Yep, it’s time to swap out your builder-basic shower head for a snazzy new model. This striking square version made of chrome has soft, rubber nubbins that easily wipe clean from calcium and lime build-up.
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