1). Get rid of the clutter. This will instantly make the room look bigger,tidier and make it easier to clean. Get rid of the letters on the shelf, the magazines piled on the coffee table, the shoes in the corner and the toys behind the sofa.For lots more ideas on controlling clutter read my article Quick Clutter Control at http://www.allthatwomenwant.com/cluttercontrol.htm

Pass things you don't need on to charity and goodwill stores, women's shelters etc. They will be much appreciated.

2). Stock up on the cloths and cleaning products you need to make the chores as easy as possible and one by one clean each room from top to bottom.

Start with the areas that bother you the most,the ones that you try to hide from visitors and you will be so pleased that you have conquered these spaces it will motivate you to keep them that way and get all your other rooms ship shape too.

3). Treat your rooms to inexpensive accessories in zingy colours to welcome the sunshine, matching up say table mats, candles and flowers in a dining room, cushions/pillows, vase and rug in a living area, curtains, mugs and oven mitts in a kitchen. These don't have to be expensive items, the strong colour will do the work for you.

4). If you have them, change heavy winter curtains for something lighter. If you're not overlooked consider voile drapes that dress the window but filter the light in. Make them even prettier by attaching tiny silk rosebuds or bright silk gerbera heads from craft stores.

5). Line all your drawers and cupboards with beautiful paper. An odd roll of previously expensive wallpaper can often be picked up for a bargain price and can be ideal for this job. Other possibilities are gift wrapping paper, hand stamped or stencilled papers or simply fragranced drawer liners bought on sale, straight after Christmas can be a good time to find these.

6). Make yourself a little sitting out area with a garden chair and a couple of pots of pansies or petunias. Add a pot of herbs or lavender for fragrance and you can work your way out from this area making a garden as you go. Collect together pots of primulas or busy lizzies (impatiens) and use them to edge steps or line up along the top of a wall for instant colour. Use pebbles, shells, cones, mirrors, tin buckets and pottery in your garden as well as the usual terracotta pots and plants.If you don't have a garden or any outside space, make a little sitting area near
an opening window. Place some flowering plants on the window sill and lots of green plants and silk or fresh flowers around for a conservatory feel indoors. Hang some wind chimes and let the breeze make music for you.

7). Paint a dull area a soft buttery yellow for an instant touch of sunshine, or make a busy area tranquil with a pale sage green. Use tester pots to spruce up and coordinate lampshades, photo or picture frames, wicker baskets and flower pots too.

8). Rearrange your furniture. Sometimes just repositioning a table near a window so that you can enjoy the garden at meal times or an armchair closer to the hearth for cosy evenings can completely change the ambience of a room. Try hanging a mirror so that it reflects light back into the room, lighting up a dark corner or to reflect a wonderful view if you are lucky enough to have one.

9). Frame a large poster to give a room instant impact and style. Museums and art galleries can be a good source of quality posters at reasonable prices. Change them with the seasons for different looks.

10). Make a fabric covered screen from cut to size pieces of mdf board fixed together with piano hinges to screen off eyesores or clutter. Or paint the screen then stamp, stencil or decoupage if you prefer.

11). Make floral patterned cushions/pillows from retro tea dresses picked up cheaply at jumble sales or thrift shops. The used fabric has a lovely soft faded look.

12). If you have any chandelier style lights, consider hanging pretty glass beads from craft shops, antique fairs or little girl's necklaces on to the arms to sparkle in the light.

13). Bring in armfuls of pussy willow or forsythia branches and watch them open up in the warmth of your room.

14). Pretty up a little girl's room in less than a day by fixing up a simple muslin canopy over the bed or a sheer mosquito net from camping supply shops, hung on to a screw in hook and the ring that comes with it. Decorate the canopy with pink or white silk bows or butterflies from a craft store. Add large pink ribbon bow tie backs to curtains and smaller pink ribbon bows to cupboard and drawer knobs as an extra pretty touch. Add a self adhesive border around the room or around the window in a fairy,ballet, or pretty doll design and decorate furniture, toy boxes, waste paper bins or walls with individual motifs carefully cut out from the leftover border and simply stuck into place. Weave white Christmas fairy lights around a branch or twigs for a finishing touch and a place to hang bracelets, hair slides and ribbons.

15). For little boys, why not fix up a play tent above the bed. Add torches, radio and comics for an indoor den he'll want to show off to his friends. Other quick ideas for boy's rooms are stick on glow in the dark stars, moons and planets and peg rail for the collection of caps no young man of today can be without.

Copyright 2001
Colleen Moulding

About the author: Colleen Moulding is a freelance writer from England where she has had many features on parenting, childcare, play, travel, entertaining and the Internet published in national newspapers and magazines. She has also published a variety of women's and children's fiction. Her work frequently appears at many sites on the Internet and at her own site for women All That Women Want.com a magazine, web guide and resource for women everywhere. Why not drop by? It was made for you! http://www.allthatwomenwant.com Subscribe to the free monthly e-zine by sending a blank e-mail to: [email protected]