9 Home Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Dining Room with Set Table
Photo: Brooke Schwab

If you're looking to make a positive change with the start of a New Year, why not begin with your home? Not only are you spending a lot of time at home—which means it's likely top of mind all day, every day—but it's a direct representation of you. When your home is decorated, organized, and cleaned to your liking, it might feel like all other facets of your life fall into place.

That said, sticking to a new habit is easier said than done. Research suggests that only 19% of people actually keep their New Year's resolutions, with the rest of them falling to the wayside by the end of January.

But just because keeping a resolution is hard doesn't mean it's impossible. If you're committed to making your home a brighter, better place, help is on the way. We asked a handful of designers to share design resolutions you'll actually be able to keep. From making your bed every morning to keeping your space organized once and for all, it turns out change is a lot easier than you think.

01 of 09

1. Get Organized Once and For All

Large Main Bath with Closet
Angie Seckinger

It happens like clockwork. Every year, you promise yourself that you'll finally keep your home tidy. However, life always gets in the way of your organization dreams. One thing leads to another and your home is covered in dirty dishes, worn clothes, and scrap pieces of paper. But, since you're spending so much time at home, now's a better time than any to make those dreams a reality.

"When someone says, I need to get organized, they immediately think of boxes and containers," designer Quintece Hill-Mattauszek says. "However, I tell my clients while storage is always fantastic also consider ways to organize your routine! For example, a cute shoe cabinet and chair at the front door can help you keep the 'shoe monkeys' at bay and establish the rule of dirty shoes stay at the door!"

So, the million-dollar question: How can you actually stick to these goals? According to Marika Meyer of Marika Meyer Interiors, it's important to break down this big resolution into a bunch of smaller tasks.

"I think if you take it in bite-size pieces and choose an area where you'll really feel the benefit, then you'll be more likely to stick with it," she explains.

02 of 09

2. Beautify Your Basement

Basement Billiards
LJ Savarie

Each year, Chicago-based designer LJ Savarie strives to finish one full project in her own home. If you want to take a page out of her book, now is the best time to tackle your basement.

"Many of us have thought about transitioning our basements into multi-purpose, functional spaces that can accommodate living, working, and playing," she says. "Why not now?"

Redecorating an entire room might be a tall order—especially for impatient design lovers—but Savarie says slow and steady will pay off.

"Quick fixes, like swapping pillows, are great but will not net that same feeling of accomplishment," she explains. "I often hear clients get overwhelmed by all of the projects they want to undertake, so resolving to start with one is an easy fix. Start planning during the winter and knock it out once the weather turns."

03 of 09

See You Later, Clutter

Living Room with No Clutter
Nicole Franzen

If you want to start the year with a fresh slate, double down on your clutter.

"We're all spending lots of time at home, so why shouldn't everything you interact with on a daily basis add to your life in some way," ask Mary Catherine Murray and Amanda Khouri, co-owners of Murray Khouri Interior Design. "Often there's a temptation to hold onto things that were once loved, but as your tastes evolve or your needs for your home change, give yourself permission to edit things out if they no longer thrill you, so that the pieces you love can really shine. You will feel lighter, happier, and more productive in your space."

Of course, there's more than one way to declutter your space. While Murray and Khouri recommend giving your pieces to a second-hand store, designer Robert McKinley suggests investing in pieces that can withstand the test of time.

"There's a huge trend around minimalism these days, and that has its perks, but I'm all about attributing meaning to the objects in your home, rather than getting rid of everything," he shares. "It simply means taking care in what you buy and the items you keep around you."

04 of 09

4. Dress Up Your Dining Table

Dining Room with Set Table
Brooke Schwab

Chances are, your once-pristine dining room table is covered in notebooks, your work laptop, and all the cables your outlets can handle. Your dining room is working overtime to accommodate all your needs, so why not give it some extra love by dressing it up to the nines?

"Use all of your best china and set beautiful and layered tables regularly to make your meals special events, to give them that restaurant feel," says designer Isabel Ladd. "With limited guests, you won't be saving them for guests anyway! Indulge yourself and your family by regularly pulling out the stops, have everyone dress up, and have a fabulous dinner party on the regular!"

Of course, your dining room table isn't the only place that deserves some TLC.

"Same [goes] with making a proper cocktail at a home bar," San Francisco designer Elizabeth Cooper adds. "It's a nice transition to the evening after being home working all day." Cheers!

05 of 09

5. Sustainable Style

Collected Living Room Design
Liz Caan

Want to make your home a brighter, greener space? Consider putting sustainability at the center of your home décor.

"I like to consider the big picture when setting my resolutions and intentions for the year ahead," designer Liz Caan says. "I plan on continuing to invest in my home in ways that truly better the way my family and I live, like embracing healthier living by using natural, ethical materials, like wool, linen and cotton."

When it comes to sprucing up her own space, Caan is committed to prioritizing quality over quantity.

"I vow to surround myself with uber luxurious materials that have a visceral effect, like cashmere, mohair and leather, and take out 'the special stuff' more often, like fine china and expensive table linens," she adds. "These resolutions are both practical and self-soothing, and are sure to last well beyond January 31."

06 of 09

6. Add a Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall
Fran Keenan

If a picture says a thousand words, just imagine how telling a gallery wall can be? Not only is this one resolution that will give your home plenty of personality, but it's something you can work toward all year-long.

"Start a framing project; and make it personal," designer Fran Keenan recommends. "Each month of the new year, frame one personal photograph or piece of artwork that you already own, but has been waiting for a frame. Custom or store-bought, these personal pieces will set your home apart."

07 of 09

7. Turn a House Into a Home

Blue Dining Chair
Beth Diana Smith

A house is not a home without a helping of personal touches. Since we're spending a lot more time in our family dwellings than we ever thought we would, the new year is a great opportunity to create a space that truly represents you.

"It's taken us seven years and a pandemic to give our home a long overdue makeover," says Savitree Shann, a long-time client of designer Beth Diana Smith. "In late summer 2020, we started with our dining room, formal living room and foyer. It feels great to walk into a space where you just love everything about it and don't mind being 'stuck' in there to work or homeschool.

Don't have the time, energy, or money for a floor-to-ceiling remodel? Designer Shawna Underwood recommends making the most out of your own little corner.

"Dedicate a room or nook in your home to the things you love most and make you happy," she says. Whether it be a corner with a cozy reading chair and your favorite candle or a whole room designed specifically for your personality, don't be afraid to make it yours."

08 of 09

8. Establish Your Home Office

Feminine Home Office
Society Social

Before 2020 became, well, 2020, a home office was a nice idea but not necessarily essential. But now? There's a good chance you're working from the most unlikely areas of your home: your couch, your bed, the kitchen counter… must we go on? Since the work from home phenomenon isn't leaving anytime soon, you might want to commit to a designated workspace.

"When your home doubles as so many spaces, it's important to try and keep some level of separation for sanity," says Roxy Te Owens, founder and creative director of Society Social. "So many of us have adjusted to the new work-from-home reality, we've realized the importance of keeping a dedicated and organized WFH set-up."

Don't have an entire room to dedicate to a home office? Don't worry, you have plenty of options.

"Set up a desk vignette in the corner of your bedroom or transform a section of your dining table into a home office by adding a table lamp, your computer monitor, fresh flowers, and, of course, your favorite things. A pretty and dedicated space means more productivity in our opinion."

09 of 09

9. Make Your Bed (Seriously)

Serene Bedroom
Jean Liu

Between working from home, balancing your family's Zoom schedules, and keeping your space in somewhat livable shape, it's clear you have a lot on your plate. If taking on yet another task feels overwhelming, we encourage you to start small. In fact, your design resolution can be as simple as making your bed each morning.

"I find the process of making my bed helps set my intention to carry out my day and whatever it may entail in an orderly fashion," says designer Jean Liu. "It also helps maintain my focus and clarity to walk into a room that's tidy while we are still working from home. I hate to admit it, but it only took 43 years to enjoy making my own bed!"

A resolution that puts beauty sleep front and center? That's a goal we can certainly support.

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