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Does the launch of a new year inspire you to make changes in your life? You probably know that your environment, your home in particular, affects the way you feel and function. So, it makes sense that successful life changes might well start best at home. The changes in your home don’t have to be large or costly. They only need to be fresh and make your days a little easier. Think of them as a support system to the bigger life-altering changes you have in mind.

Where does this support system begin? Let’s start with your master bedroom. A fresh, organized and beautiful bedroom sets your mood for the day. It also sets your mood for a good night’s sleep — so important for people with big life plans. Spend a day emptying your closets, dressers and nightstands. Toss everything onto your bed. This forces you to analyze and justify each item before you put it back. Keep only those pieces that you love, wear, use, or need. Apply this same editing to your furniture and accessories. Declutter.

Now for the pretty part. Would you like a new color scheme? Fresh paint? If you’re not personally up to the task, hire a painter. It will only take him/her a couple of days. Do it now before painters’ schedules become booked into the summer. If you have wall-to-wall carpet in need of replacing, schedule the installation right after the painter leaves and the furniture is still out of the room (or piled in the center). Before you finalize paint and carpet colors, decide if you want new bed linens and/or window coverings and then coordinate all colors and patterns. Treat yourself to new sleep pillows if yours have seen better days. My friends are sold on “My Pillow.” They’re made for your own physical size, are machine-washable, and have a 10-year guarantee. Lastly, give your lamps and light fixtures a firm critique. If they’re not doing their job, replace them with ones that will.

Move on to the master bathroom and repeat what you did in the bedroom — empty out closets, cupboards and vanity drawers. Toss the many undoubtedly-expired cosmetics, toiletries and medications or those things that have otherwise run their course. Treat yourself to new towels, bath rugs, and a new shower curtain if you have one. Give your light and plumbing fixtures a once over. Opt for more functional or more aesthetically pleasing ones. How about a new mirror? Painting is always an option, including your vanity (especially if it is made of builder-grade red oak). If you have metal-framed shower or tub doors, think about replacing them with frameless ones. This will visually open up your space and you’ll never have to clean those uncleanable metal tracks ever again.

Now on to the kitchen. You’ve got the hang of it. Empty out cupboards and reorganize them in a logical way. If your Tupperware bowls don’t have matching lids, toss them. Toss tattered dish towels and hot pads. Now that your kitchen is freshly organized, assess its aesthetics. Can you create a new look without retiling or replacing your countertop? Probably so. And, the less amount of “stuff” you have on display, the easier this will be to do. If your kitchen has bar stools, dining chairs, or a built-in bench, take a look at their condition. Do you need new cushions? Or, how about a new chandelier or sink faucet? There are many styles these days that look like architectural sculptures that can add a lot of personality to your kitchen.

Treat your family room and home office as you’ve done in your other rooms. Empty, edit and organize all that is possible. Take a fresh look at your accessories. The best way to make an impact is to keep your accessories in the same color family. Red pillows, red throws, red pottery, red picture frames. A red ottoman and red lamp makes sense, too. The room will become a “designed” space as opposed to a mix of disparate odds and ends.

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If you have bookshelves in your family room or home office, arrange each shelf as its own vignette. And then make the vignettes speak to each other through a common item or color. For instance, stack a few hardback travel books vertically next to horizontally stacked cook books. Add a single lime-green, glass vase on the same shelf. On the shelf above, display three other lime-green, glass pieces. These two shelves speak to each other through the glass. Continue the theme throughout the whole bookcase. Your lime-green glass may really be a set of wood-carved elephants or matching wicker baskets. You get the idea.

My garage is clean and sparse. I’m bragging to prove a point. Every time I pull up to my driveway and open my garage door, I feel a bolt of joy. One day last year, a friend and I gathered and piled all of my junk, for lack of a better word, both inside and out, into the center of the driveway. The next day, we called a hauling company who they took it all away. What a relief.

If you follow any or all of my suggestions, your days will be easier, more organized and even prettier. Your lungs will open and your shoulders will relax. And, these changes will go a long way towards emotionally and physically supporting your life-changing plans for 2018. Good luck and happy new year!

Patti L. Cowger is an award-winning, credentialed, Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For more information about her design services, visit her website at plcinteriors.com call (707) 322-6522; or email plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net

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