Your home should be a place of comfort and ease. Yet between space constraints and the absurd pace of modern life, our living spaces can get a little chaotic. Here are 11 ways to make the most of what you’ve got.
1. GO DARK.
Studies have shown that both natural and artificial light can interfere with our ability to fall and stay asleep. Most curtains filter the glare but don’t prevent it. Invest in a set of light-blocking curtains and get ready for some seriously satisfying snoozing.
2. STOP VACUUMING.
You have better things to do than pushing around a noisy, heavy beast. Today’s robotic vacuums are easy to program, fun to watch, and are serious time-savers.
3. GET VERTICAL.
You’ve got so much more room than you realize; all you have to do is change your orientation. Clear space on your kitchen counter by installing magnetic strips on the wall for your knives. And hanging organizers, the kind you generally store in your closet, can sort more than just shoes—think dry goods, kids’ toys, or tools.
4. MAXIMIZE YOUR WI-FI.
The placement of your router has a huge effect on the strength and success of your wireless internet. Routers are sensitive to all kinds of surfaces, including glass and brick, so the best spot is often in an open area at the center of the house, as high off the ground as possible.
5. MIRRORS, MIRRORS.
Not only will mirrors create the illusion of a larger space, but they also scatter light, instantly (and cheaply) ramping up the brightness in a room.
6. THINK BOTANICAL.
Houseplants make incredible roommates. They clean and oxygenate the air, act as humidifiers, decrease stress levels, require little attention, and make fantastic accent pieces. Not sure where to start? Try an easy-care variety like a spider plant.
7. STOP LOSING YOUR KEYS.
You know that three-minute period before you leave the house, when you walk around muttering, “where did I put my keys”? Nip that in the bud by designating a hook, bowl, or basket for keys, headphones, transit passes, and other last-minute, out-the-door grabs. You could also attach a smart tag to your keys, which will allow you to hunt them down using your smartphone—provided you haven’t lost that as well.
8. MOOCH OFF THE SUN.
Sunlight is powerful energy and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Find the sunniest spot in your house and set up a few solar USB chargers, then feel smug as you power up all your devices for free.
9. EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR FURNITURE.
Double-duty pieces are where it’s at, especially in cramped conditions. Look for expandable tables, ottomans that moonlight as storage bins, and armchairs that fold out for overnight guests.
10. GET SMART (BULBS).
Smart lighting setups save both energy and hassle. You can program your lights to work on timers, change color temperature to soothe yourself to sleep, or even shut off the bathroom light once you’ve gotten into bed. And who doesn’t want that?
11. TREAT YOURSELF TO A WARM WELCOME.
Sometimes all it takes is a little homey touch to soothe the stress away. What’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door? If it’s a wall, try hanging your favorite poster or work of art. A hallway? Add a comfy rug, a strand of soft lights, or a brightly colored garland. Make your house someplace you want to come home to.