January 19, 2017  

2017 House Goals & Plans

Earlier this week, I graded myself on how I did on our 2016 home goals. It was fun to look back at the progress I made over the past year, and it was comical to laugh at how much I thought I was going to get done in a year! Although my dreams were much bigger than reality, it was still cool to be able to look back at the list and see how much I accomplished.

I’m continuing with this annual tradition by sharing my 2017 house goals with you today! I am excited to tell you about all of the home improvement, decorating and organization projects I have in mind for this year.

I hope this post will motivate you to set some of your own house goals for the year. It’s easy to let project ideas float around in your head and never act on those ideas, so I recommend making a list and setting aside time to work on those projects throughout the year. You’ll be able to look back at that list a year from now and realize all of the progress you made! And let’s be real, you probably won’t accomplish everything but that’s okay. What’s important is that you make a plan and chip away at it bit by bit. I don’t think a house is ever really “done,” so there will always be more projects to tackle next year!

Ranch House

The 4 “Themes” For The Year

We bought our house over two years ago, and I finally feel like the main floor is in good shape! I’ve had time to address the bigger cosmetic things that drove me crazy in this house, particularly all the beige walls and the wood paneling in the dining room.

Now that I’ve done bigger makeovers in all but one of the rooms upstairs, I’m planning to spend this year focusing on some of the smaller projects that will improve both the style and function of each room. My goals for this year can be summed up into four main themes:

  1. Improve curb appeal – One area of our house that has been basically untouched is the exterior. I’m less confident in my skills in this area since this is our first house and we’ve never had a yard to care for before. There are unwieldy bushes out front that need to be tamed or removed, a cement slab I’d like to turn into a cute patio, worn out carpet on the front steps, and the list goes on. We might even go crazy and plant some flowers ?. Don’t get your hopes up, but it’s possible!
  2. Refine the style of each room – Some of the rooms upstairs could use some work to refine and finess their style. For example, my decorating style has evolved a lot since I first decorated the dining room right when we moved in, so I want to revisit that room this year. The living room is another room where I’m happy with the overall look, but I’ve sort of added to it over time and there are some small changes I could make to create a more cohesive design.
  3. Upgrade furnishings – There are a few spots that I want to fill with furniture, like more seating in the living room and a nice credenza in the dining room. I’d also like to replace or refinish a few pieces, like the glass end table by our couch that was a garage sale find my MOM bought when I was middle school age-ish. We’ve made it work, but it’s poor quality, all scratched up and too small for our couch. I also want to stain or paint a few items like our TV stand and the built-in hutch in the dining room.
  4. Focus on small organization projects – I want to address a lot of small areas this year to improve their functionality and organization. The closets could all use some attention and the kitchen cupboards could be a lot more organized.

So those are the main themes of projects I’m going to focus on this year. And now for the room-by-room checklist.

2017 House Goals & Plans


I already covered this in #1 above, but basically our front yard needs some attention this year! I don’t know the first thing about landscaping our exterior house stuff, so it’s more out of my comfort zone than all of the interior decorating projects I love to do. But this is the year we’re going to finally work on improving the curb appeal, at least a little bit! Here’s what’s in the plans:

  • Create a pretty patio in front of the house using the existing concrete slab
  • Tame the bushes…. (thinking about this makes me want to run and hide)
  • Rip up the old carpet on front steps and either replace it or repair the concrete and stain

Christmas Living Room 2015 20


This is sort of a joke, because we have the tiniest entry ever (through the doorway in the photo above). It’s basically a little square big enough for the front door to swing in. But there is a coat closet and a little wall space behind the door to work with. Although it’s a tiny space, I have a big list of plans:


  • Add coat hooks on the little wall behind door
  • Paint doors
  • Finish painting trim (it’s partially painted white from when I painted the living room, but I never finished all of it around the doors)
  • Do something fun with what little wall space there is here – maybe a stencil or some wallpaper?
  • Spruce up the coat closet with improved organization and a coat of paint

Pretty, practical blue living room


This room is in good shape, but I want to focus on refining the decor style, upgrading/refinishing some of the furniture and maybe playing with the furniture arrangement a bit.

  • Select art to fill the empty walls
  • Refinish the TV stand and improve organization
  • Add more seating – am thinking a bigger chair and ottoman in the corner
  • Replace the old glass end table with something larger and higher quality
  • Update the window treatments

This happy kitchen is full of whites, blues and greens. Shows even small kitchens can look pretty!


The kitchen got a full makeover last year, so it’s in good shape cosmetically. I do have a few projects in mind to improve the function of this room:

  • Organize cabinets, especially canned food and tupperware
  • Add roll-out shelving to the pantry cabinet that doesn’t currently have shelves in it
  • Find a home for all of our new dog-related items, which have been piled on our counter since we adopted our puppy in December

Pretty blue dining room with sunflower centerpiece and built-in hutch. Love the decor.


I jumped straight into a dining room makeover when we moved in because this was the one room covered with wood paneling and I couldn’t live with it for more than a couple weeks. I painted the walls, but didn’t do much else at that time. This room will probably get a larger makeover this year, either in stages or maybe for the One Room Challenge. Here are my thoughts:

  • Paint the built-in hutch and repair some of the damaged shelving
  • Either refinish my basic cube shelf or replace with another credenza of some sort
  • Replace the book light fixture with a chandelier
  • Get rid of the accent wall (I still love that blue paint, but I’m not digging the accent wall anymore. I think all the walls should be the same color in here.)
  • Paint doors
  • Add art to the walls, maybe a cool gallery wall on one
  • Refinish or replace dining table – this is the least priority, so it’s likely I won’t get to it this year but I’m going to dream about it for now 😉

This navy bedroom is gorgeous! Check out what she did in just five weeks for the One Room Challenge. Lots of bedroom DIY projects and pretty details.


This bedroom got a big makeover this year so it’s in great shape! I only have one item on the list:

  • Buy or build a headboard


This is the only room on the main floor that I haven’t focused any decorating attention on. It was mostly our dumping ground for boxes and extra decor, but I did manage to clean that all out before Christmas so now it’s organized albeit pretty bare. The closet stores our huge board game collection and the rest of the room consists of David’s desk/computer and a few bookshelves. This is a two-bedroom house, so this room will ultimately become a nursery. Knowing that, I’m not going to put any energy into this room for now.

Check out this neutral gray bathroom with white board and batten. Love this One Room Challenge room makeover! It's amazing what you can do to transform a small bathroom.


Our bathroom was the most recent room makeover, and I’m in love with it! There are a few projects I ran out of time to do during the One Room Challenge, so I’m putting them on the list for this year:

  • Finish paint touch-ups
  • Fix the door so it actually closes and locks (I added a handle with a lock on it, but now the door is hanging wonky and won’t closet all the way. Need to figure out how to fix that…)
  • Makeover the closet – needs new paint, potentially new shelving, and a lot of organizing attention


Our hallway is tiny, but it could still use a dose of style. Or, at the very least, I should get around to finishing painting the trim.

  • Paint the trim white
  • Fill the small wall with art



This room has so much potential, but I’m going to try to hold off doing much to it for another year. It’s super hard for me to not redecorate the whole thing, but I’ve tried to keep my focus on the main floor since we don’t really need that extra space in the basement right now. This room walks out to the backyard, so it could be really nice! Right now, we use it for storage. Just imagine a stack of Rubbermaid containers and a Christmas tree in the corner of this picture. Unfortunately, this room has some larger issues like needing new windows, only having one outlet, having horrible lighting and needing insullation. So while we save up to tackle some of those larger projects, I am going to work on two items this year:

  • Add window coverings
  • Get a quote for electrical work


This room is huge, but not very functional. It’s a concrete floor with our furnace and utilities on one wall, a toilet randomly sitting in the corner, a sink and our washer and dryer. While I have dreams of improving this room, it’s not in the plans right now.



Do you remember what this room looked like before the makeover? This room is my happy place and is in good shape. I even organized all of my craft and home improvement supplies the other day! No plans for this room except to use it as home base for all of the projects I’ll be working on this year.

What a gorgeous fall living room! I love the pops of red she added into this blue/neutral room. Check out that gallery wall! Great home tour.

I know that life happens and there’s probably no way I’ll get everyone on this list done this year, but I’m going to do as much as I can! Our home will never be “complete,” but I enjoy the process of beautifying and improving this little house one project at a time.

Stay tuned for a report card check-in at the end of the year when we’ll get to evaluate all of the projects I finished! And I’m sure we’ll laugh at all of the things I made zero progress on. Can’t wait! You can check out the report card of 2016 projects here.

Do you create house goals? What projects do you hope to complete this year? 



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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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    1. Awesome!! I hope it helps you gather all of your thoughts and project ideas, and hopefully it will motivate you to accomplish a lot on your house this year. Good luck with all of your projects, Anne!

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