I've lived in my current apartment since 2001 -- 15 years. That's a long time to be in what's basically a studio, albeit one that is masquerading as a one-bedroom. During that time, it has gone through several transformations. For years I rented, and psychologically, that limited the decorating choices I made (well, that and the non-profit salary, I suppose). In 2008 (I think), I bought it, and to go with the apartment, a copy of Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure. I went through a decorating process that involved painting, changing light fixtures, and actually being somewhat thoughtful about how my home looked and felt (here are some scary before pictures). These changes were a huge improvement, and was a wonderful first step into making my apartment somewhere I truly enjoyed spending time.
As you know, I got my kitchen renovated a few months ago. Because it now opens into the living room, and because my couch was on its last legs, the renovation was a good excuse to get new living room furniture and rearrange. This has blossomed into a few little home improvement/decorating projects, including purging a bunch of unwanted stuff (ongoing), rearranging, painting/refinishing furniture, and buying/hanging some new accessories, including lamps and a rug (I haven't had a rug in my apartment. Ever.).
I hosted a little thank-you party for my friends who chipped in towards my kitchen, but in addition to thanking them, it was also a motivator to get me to clean/hang/fix stuff. I got a great deal done before the party, although I still have more to do. That said, looking around my apartment for the past few days feels -- well -- different. It feels like a whole new home. Cozy, warm, inviting, pleasant. Maybe it better reflects who I am now (more stylish! still a bit kitschy!), maybe I just needed a change -- either way. I LOVE IT. Come check it out!!