This is the time of year when pondering how to spruce up your home becomes part of your daily thoughts!

Fall is the time of year when we begin thinking about our homes in a different respect. It won't be long before opening a window for a fresh breeze will be replaced with the fierce winds of winter and closed windows. This is the time of year when pondering how to spruce up your home becomes part of your daily thoughts! Soon we will be tucking ourselves in for winter-having something new and fresh is exciting to think about. I doubt that you are considering blowing out a wall or two, perhaps you are--I've heard that about you!! While your better half is working and you decide to demolish a wall or two, home may not be so "home sweet home" come evening! So let's step back a bit and just consider some reasonable ideas that can make you content without a sledge hammer in your possession! There are a few simple, yet incredible effective ideas you can implement by yourself that will make you smile and say well done GORGEOUS!!

Bookcases are a great way to add architecture to a room that might be lacking. Architecture is all the wonderful woodwork that homes may or may not be blessed with. So here is a quick and easy way to add some charm and additional storage to your home. Move a bookcase into the kitchen or dining room! This gives you an opportunity to take some of the dishes from the cabinets and place them on a shelf along with coffee mugs and suddenly you have created some open storage which is so in fashion at present in interior design. The bookcase could be tall-almost to the ceiling or shorter allowing you to add a lamp to the top for some softer lighting once evening approaches. Shown in the photo is a bookcase I used for such a purpose in a Holiday Table display! Taking pieces that are met for one task and repurposing for another use--this is not only smart but very chic!

Re-arrange the furniture! This is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, you suddenly find what has been underneath that sofa for some time, don't scream in terror it happens to ALL of us. You might even find a real treasure under there. Next, move everything out-give the floor a thorough vacuuming or dust mopping, don't forget the baseboards. Now take a little journey through your home, maybe the chair and ottoman in the bedroom might be just the pieces newly positioned near the fireplace. The console table in the dining room would look marvelous behind the sofa with a lamp or even a pair of hurricanes. Maybe the Grandfather clock that has been at attention in the same location for 20 years, might like to reside in the dining room. Tour your home venturing to the basement, up stairs, unused bedrooms, attic, storage areas and find some accessories and furniture pieces that have not seen the light of day for years-give them a chance to shine in a newly arranged room!

Rugs certainly are a wonderful resource to give a room some cohesiveness! Rugs have numerous functions one of which is to anchor a furniture grouping. I devoted an entire section in my book to rugs, but for this exercise anchoring the furniture is what we want to achieve. In most cases this means the sofa, coffee table, and perhaps a chair. This is the key--front legs on or all legs on the rug. This would be the sofa, coffee table, and probably a chair. This eliminates the dreaded flying carpet! Take a peek at the drawing below, this will give you a better sense of what a rug needs to accomplish. To get the right size you may need to purchase a rug, whooo a shopping trip! There is no limit to places where you can purchase a rug that is budget friendly and durable……finding the right size is the key!

Wash your windows! There is nothing that makes a home sparkle like pristine windows! This is a wonderful weekend activity that can involve the entire family! Pull out the ladder, put some cider in a pitcher, and gather the family. Here is an old tried and true window cleaning recipe!

Ammonia and Vinegar Cleaning Solution:

Ammonia is great for breaking down grime and the vinegar eliminates the streaks!

2 quarts of warm water

2 cups of rubbing alcohol

1/2 cup of ammonia

1/4 cup of vinegar

1 tablespoon of hand dishwashing detergent

Assemble the following to achieve the job of a professional!


A sponge mop

Small squeegee

Large squeegee

Clean lint-free cloths

A damp chamois cloth

Paper towels to dry, I find the cheapest ones work the best.

Or hire a professional and sip the cider while watching the magic happen!!

Your home is an incredibly important aspect of your life-it is what protects you from the outside world! In all the years as a designer this rings truer than ever before-"Home is where the Heart is" and fall is a wonderful time to enjoy your home! As a society we are over worked, over stressed, and in far too big of a hurry! So allow your home to become your sanctuary, where you go to re-charge, slow down, and ready yourself for the next day. Be kind to yourself and you may even smile more, which in turn makes others smile!!

Jan Colvin has been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). She accredits her mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for her intense interest and love for design. Jan has taught interior design at the college level and operated her private design business since 2001. Today she spends a majority of her time completing her new book which will be available in the first quarter of 2013. After many years in the traditional interior design profession, "I found that the educational aspect is far more satisfying for me personally."

Jan welcomes questions, which will be answered in her columns. Send your questions to: