"Start with cleaning," says designer Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, author of the "Apartment Therapy's Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces" and contributor to HGTV's "Small Space, Big Style." "It's a super-powerful thing that will re-energize your space."
Most people overlook windows and curtains. The latter "get so dirty, and you don't notice it until you take them down," he says.
Next, clear the useless junk. "On a simple level, it's about cleaning and removing clutter," says Gillingham-Ryan. One rule that will help when you're clearing shelves: "Leave at least 10 percent of your shelf empty," he says.
Lastly, look at the traffic flow in your room. Upbeat, welcoming spaces have a great flow -- for people, energy or just to make vacuuming easier. Eliminate the bottlenecks and you'll get more from your rooms.
Imagine you open your front door and water flows into your home, Gillingham-Ryan says. "Where would it keep flowing and where would it get stuck? … Find a way so that everything flows and there's a sense of openness."
The cost of these three steps together: your time and the price of cleaning supplies.