Sprucing Up Your Home After a Divorce Is Totally Cathartic

10/31/2013 03:32 pm ET | Updated Dec 31, 2013

Moving on after a divorce could mean that your ex is moving out and you're keeping the marital residence. Now, you have your own space again and the freedom to do whatever you want with it.

You don't have to do anything costly like knocking down walls or building an addition to give your home a fresh feel. There's no reason to completely change the place. Simple adjustments to the decor can be achieved on a reasonable budget. Sprucing up your home after a divorce is totally cathartic. Here are some practical and easy ways to get started.

1. Fill Up Space

Since your ex has moved out, you have more space in different areas of your home. The closet is half-empty. The medicine cabinet is all yours. The refrigerator no longer has your ex's favorite foods in it. How do you fill up the extra space and make your home feel like it's yours again?

Start with the bedroom closet and spread out your clothes. Build some new shelves to better organize everything and give the closet a new feel. In the bathroom, reorganize the medicine cabinet. Filling up the fridge is easy. Stock it with all of your favorite healthy things to help you achieve that post-divorce body.

2. Change Wall Colors

Change the colors around the house to make it feel brighter. Cut some pictures out of magazines to get some ideas. You don't need to hire someone to paint. Do it yourself or with a friend. If you have children, you can all paint together. The act of painting is therapeutic. Each enthusiastic brush stroke will make you feel like you're moving on!

3. Move Paintings Around

Don't buy all new art work for your home. Moving paintings around can give a different ambiance and make things feel new. Also, if you don't like one of the paintings that your ex had on the wall, take it down and offer it back to them.

If you have seen the same painting on your wall when you walk down the stairs every morning, switch it with another one. It will give you a sense that things are different and the house is now yours.

4. Plant Something New

To mark this beginning, I suggest planting something new in your backyard. As it grows over time, you will grow along with it. If you live in an apartment in a city and obviously don't have a backyard, buy a new plant for your home. Water the plant and watch it get stronger. It's a daily reminder of how far you're progressing.

5. Remake Your Bed

You probably went through a lot of stress during the divorce, so it's time to get some sleep. The bed is yours again and there's nothing like using fresh, new linens. Get that flowery or geometric set of sheets that you've always wanted. Add some decorative pillows. A friend of mine who was recently divorced asked me what she could do with the sheets that she still had from her marriage. I told her that they could be used to keep a bonfire going.

For more post-divorce tips, check out Lois Tarter's new book, The Divorce Ritual: Get Up, Get Out and Get On With Your Life .