The cheapest home renovation I know of is totally free. Here’s how to do it: put things “out of place.” In my architecture practice, I call it Recession Chic™. It’s the design version of a Staycation. Start by lifting framed pictures off their hooks and moving them to different spots. Your eye will ka-boing like a jaw harp when it lands on the portrait by the stair of grandma in her swim trunks, instead of the map of Europe it was expecting.
Another way to spice things up around the homeplace is to put things where they don’t belong at all. Family members gladly assist with this effort, even without being asked. No energy to return a needle to the sewing basket? Stick it in the corner of a painting. Toilet got you down? Pee on the bougainvillea by the bathtub. And how about that knit hat? Winter’s unsung hero deserves a place of honor in the hurricane vase on the mantle.*
While rearranging some items can make a home feel new again, moving other items can make it feel old. Like when my son moves his orange juice from the table to the floor every day. The sticky floorboards in the dining room conjure an ancient frat house. When my daughter gathers fallen branches from the yard and paints them red for a fort, the wall splatters recall an old timey slaughterhouse.
Who wants a sterile, lifeless home, anyway? Organization is seriously overrated. For example, a neat laundry area is boring, day in and day out. But if you occasionally fill a washing machine with recycling because company’s coming and you need to clean up fast? Now that’s interesting. And speaking of fast, should the mother of all mother-in-laws come to visit (read: the bank appraiser), you can make a U-Haul interesting, too. Just dump in the recycling from your washing machine and add bags of crap from your kids’ rooms. Park the truck a block from your house for an hour or two, and boom! Your house—and you—are Recession Chic.™
*This sh*t is for real chez tCG.