Rather than vow (once again) to cut carbs or take up tennis, how about focusing your new year on creating a blissful sanctuary in which to start and end your days?

By Marisa Spyker
December 19, 2019
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Come the end of another year, all attention seems to go toward setting goals. New years make way for new beginnings, after all, and setting resolutions can be a surefire way to start yours off on the right foot. But, while many resolutions tend to focus on self-improvement, one could argue that a “new year, new you” begins right at home. Studies show that where you live and what you surround with has a direct effect on health and happiness. So, this year, instead of focusing on fitness or food, why not adopt a set of intentions for the home? Here are seven ideas for design-related resolutions you’ll actually want to keep.

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Buy Only What You Love (And Know Where To Put It)

Sure, scouring the aisles at HomeGoods is a worthwhile activity on a Saturday afternoon, so long as you don’t succumb to red-tag temptation (i.e., buying things simply because they’re a good deal). To avoid arriving home with heaps of eventual clutter, take a cue from Marie Kondo and consider taking home only things that spark immediate joy. If the item passes that test, think then about exactly where the piece would go in your home and how quick you can get it there. Buying things with a “someday” mentality means there’s a good chance they’ll inevitably wind up as stress-inducing clutter in a drawer or closet.

Follow the One for One Rule

In the spirit of keeping clutter to a minimum, if you do decide to buy something new for your your home (or closet), get into the habit of getting rid of something at the same time. Ideally, the items would be related—for example, a gorgeous new throw should replace a ragged old blanket—but, for those times when you don’t have something in the same vein, keep a designated bag somewhere in the home as a catch-all for things you want to donate and add to it on a regular basis. The contents can supply your one-for-one trade-offs consistently, and the method makes the daunting task of decluttering a lot more manageable.

Print out Pictures

There’s no denying the genius and practicality of the camera phone. But with photos no longer needing to be developed to see, It’s easy to fall into the habit of keeping your fondest memories tucked away in a little handheld box. This year, why not make it your creative mission to sort through that backlog of photos and actually print some for display? Whether they’re arranged on a gallery wall, framed on bookshelves, or tucked inside coffee table scrapbooks, photos add an important personalized touch to a home—and serve as a mood-boosting reminder of all the loved ones in your life.

Watch: How To Arrange a Gallery Wall

Upgrade Your Bedding

Every year, we spend about one-third of our lives in bed, yet very rarely do we choose our bedding with the same meticulousness that we would a car or cell phone. This year, prioritize good sleep by investing in some seriously snooze-worthy bedding. You don’t need to spend a fortune—good-quality cotton sheets work great and can be scored for under $100—but you do need to find something that feels clean and cozy. Our recommendation? Stick with white and add colorful layers through throws and pillows. And if you only stick to one resolution in your morning routine, always make the bed.

Go Green

One of the easiest ways to make a huge difference in your home’s design is with the addition of plants. Greenery brings both color and texture inside and comes with the added benefits of reducing stress and boosting concentration. While the real things are ideal (particularly for filtering air and improving humidity levels), good quality faux finds can do just as good a job of visually happying up your home.

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Color Outside Your Comfort Zone

If you’ve lived your life surrounded by nothing-but-beige while admiring, from afar, others’ bold use of color, 2020 should be the year you make the leap to the bright side. Paint trends this year are pointing toward all things blue and green—both serene, nature-inspired hues that can make the transition away from neutrals a breeze. If you long for drama, a rich navy makes for a dynamite accent wall or basis for some killer two-toned kitchen cabinetry. If earthy and subdued is more your speed, try Behr’s Back to Nature in a bedroom or home office.

Choose Artwork With Meaning

The cactus prints, the framed word art…are all well and good if they (once again) spark joy. Oftentimes, however, the limited wall space in your home calls for something a bit more meaningful. Instead of filling your home with generic pretty things, try selecting a few out-of-the-box artwork and décor items that elicit memories: a framed wedding invitation or a menu from a favorite restaurant, a painting scored on your travels, or a quirky find from a local artist.