New Year, New Look: Steps to Simplifying Your Space

By Lannan M. O’Brien | Photography by Alison Caron / Designs by Mackenzie & Company

The beginning of a new year should be hopeful—but it also tends to be the time we look around our homes and see outdated décor, oversized furniture and general clutter.  Angela Hamwey, owner and interior designer of Hyannis, Massachusetts-based Mackenzie & Company, notes that interior design mishaps tend to be more visible to us in the new year. But short of “knocking it all down and starting over,” she says, there are a few steps that homeowners can take to improve those cluttered or under-inspiring spaces.

The key: it’s all about simplification.

Step 1: Declutter

We all overindulge once in a while, but there comes a time when the “stuff” becomes too much. To start with a “cleaner slate,” Hamwey recommends clearing everything unnecessary from your home. You’ll need three bins: the first for items you’ll keep; the second, for items that can be donated or brought to a consignment shop; and the last, for the “throw away” pile.

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Step 2: Reorganize and Repurpose

Once you’re left with only items you’ll use, Hamwey suggests dispersing them differently in your home and repurposing whatever you can. Reflect on your daily routine: if you write in a journal nightly, you might want to move a candlestick from your living room to your bedside table; if you need to store items for entertaining, use an extra chest of drawers as a bar cart, filling the drawers with wine toppers, cocktail napkins, playing cards and more. “You can reorganize your things to accommodate your lifestyle,” Hamwey says.

Step 3: Keep it Simple

Quality over cost
When it comes to furniture, quality is important. Ask yourself the question, “Is it worth buying a cheaper piece that may not be long-lasting?” A better quality—and likely, more expensive—piece of furniture may last 15 years or more, saving you money in the long run (plus, you can always reupholster it!).

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Storing your stuff
With other items for your home, consider where they would fit and what purpose they serve. Storage products that match your interior design and hide their contents are often smart purchases, Hamwey says—she recommends lidded baskets made by Serena & Lily.

Less (color) is more
Bring the “blank slate” philosophy into your home’s color scheme, but mix in some warmth. While minimalist, clean-looking white kitchens have been around for years, Hamwey expects to see the same white shades paired with wood beams, wood-toned cabinetry or light-colored wood floors in the coming year.

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