New Year’s resolutions you can achieve

Happy NewYear! I hope that this year brings you inspiration and ideas for making your home the sanctuary it should be. With the new year comes the dreaded resolutions. What bothers me most about resolutions is the fact that you are focusing on your negatives instead of celebrating your positives. I prefer to focus on what is right and expand from there. I use this philosophy in my everyday life and in my decorating projects. Life’s too short to beat yourself up so lighten up!

Taking your decorating projects too seriously can make them a chore rather than the fun adventure they should be. Decorating isn’t an exact science. Allow yourself a little leeway for creativity and fun and the whole experience will be more pleasurable for you and your family.

Once you’ve lightened up somewhat about the entire process you can have some fun with the actual details. I think that everyone should keep a childlike sense about them in general and should bring that whimsy into their home — small things that make you smile.

Everyone has their own idea of what is funny. One homeowner I met awhile back had a framed print of the “Kramer” painting from the TV show “Seinfeld” in his bathroom. I have a painted rock “mouse” tucked away in a corner of my cottage kitchen just to “surprise” unsuspecting guests. It’s too cute to be scary but it does the trick. I also bought a doorstop that is a wedge of Swiss cheese with a mouse on top of it. Two simple items that really make me laugh inside. You know, cottage… mice… Discover what makes you smile or what warms your heart and allow yourself that small decorating pleasure.

Laughter and joy can be sorely lacking in our lives at times. Families are separated by hectic schedules and rarely get to sit down together to laugh and play. Sometimes one has to purposely create these moments in our lives. We have to “make a date” with our spouse or plan a block of time to be with our kids. We can actually change the way our lives run, through our décor choices.


Good old-fashioned board games are a wonderful way to have fun with family and friends. Do you have a space conducive to this activity? Create a permanent area (or an easily accessible one) that is inviting and at the ready and you’d be surprised how things in your home can change. It starts with Mom and Dad playing Scrabble and having a good time and then suddenly the kids want to get into the game. Turn off the TV and computer and give it a try.


Usually, the last room we indulge our decorating dollars in is the master bedroom. Big mistake. This is the room where you should be gathering your strength for another hectic day. It’s a refuge and a place to connect with your quiet self. It’s where we connect with our partners. It’s an important room that should be put higher up on the redecorating list. Make it a place that you want to be in. No ironing board, no computers, no workout equipment. Peace and quiet, solitude, soft music and comfort are the order of the day. Start with sumptuous bedding and mood lighting and work from there. You are worth it. A rested soul will laugh easier and see joy more often than those who are burnt out.


Dancing is a great way to let off steam and have a good time. I sometimes feel silly just jumping around my living room when a great tune comes on the radio; but I always feel better after. The right song can change your mood for the entire day. Kids love to dance too. Sing along if you’re so inclined. Make sure you have enough clear, open space for spontaneous fun. Too much clutter in the home leaves little room for play.

So, turn that dark basement or spare bedroom into a movie-watching, game-playing, dance studio space. Live, laugh, love! And for goodness sake; lighten up!

Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Winnipeg, Manitoba



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