Change of Hearth

The 18 essential (and easy!) upgrades your handsome home deserves

By The Editors
April 20, 2017 9:00 am

SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH NICE THINGS is more than just a pleasure: it’s good for your health.

Studies show that bad lighting, cramped quarters and clutter can literally hurt your brain.

Luckily, the converse is also true: declutter and optimize your home, and you’ll improve your life.

So we’ve compiled 18 simple, inexpensive home upgrades that will help you achieve just that. Think of it as a room-by-room guidebook to renovation, from an entertainment-savvy den to a comfier boudoir to the ultimate home office setup.

Hell, you could probably knock a few of these out this weekend.



What is a bedroom, fundamentally? A place to sleep, reflect and recharge. So make the room conducive to that: fewer screens, more creature comforts. Focus on decluttering: a clean room is a calm room. And rather than enlisting the help of internet-connected sleep gadgets and trackers, we recommend some analog solutions to your insomnia (silence; a good book). We only have personal research to back this stuff up, but it’s convincing.



Your kitchen is for cooking and eating. Know what else it’s for? (Taps wine glass with a spoon.) That’s right: entertaining. The kitchen is the heart of the home: a place to greet, congregate, converse, argue, make up, exchange farewells, etc. So toss out the tupperware and make a few other upgrades — if any room should be laid out to impress, it’s this one.



Nothing works unless you do. So arrange your home office in a way that encourages productivity. How? Set that sucker up for organization and efficiency. But throw in a couple novel accents: it should also be a place that’s genuinely comfortable for you in the moments when you’re not busting ass and taking names.



Like your clothes, your home talks about you. What you don’t want it to say: “I care not for the comfort of my guests.” What you do want it to say: “The person who lives here is very discerning, well-traveled and attentive to the needs of others.” The things in your living room should be a testament to that: the flag you picked up abroad, the record you love best, a bounty of blankets and throw pillows. Anything lacking a good story or purpose? Be gone with it.