The New Year’s celebrations have come and gone. We’ve stocked up on the Rennies and sworn to give our bodies a rest after all the somatic sabotage brought on by seasonal exuberance – the eating, the drinking and burning the candle not so much at both ends as the wrong end.

Now, of course, the nation is slowly acclimatising to the world of work – that commonplace concept that somehow became completely alien to us over the festive period. This is the week when reality reintroduces itself with a cold handshake and a menacing tip of the hat.

It’s better to get back into the swing of things quickly and to use the return of reality as motivation for those New Year’s resolutions that have no doubt been playing on your mind recently. For many, those resolutions revolve around home improvements because there are few better ways to refresh and renew.

So, inspired by the release of the Arctic 30, you’ve freed your own Chocolate 30 from house-arrest; your Dryathlon effort is nearly a week old; and the salad-days of wholesale Brie-abuse seem like a distant cheese-dream. It’s time to channel your energy into something productive and make use of the healthier outlook while it lasts. It’s time to redecorate with almost reckless abandon.

The trouble with redecorating resolutions is that they are often a little unrealistic. You have to strike while the iron’s hot in terms of creative drive, but the danger is that you’ll start something you can’t finish because your initial plans are too grandiose.

Rugs offer you a great chance to start small but make a big impact. Redecorating is like athletics (bear with us here). There are marathon events, middle-distance events and, of course, sprints. January is arguably the time to think like Usain Bolt – to bring into effect changes to your interior design that offer instant gratification because you can’t trust your resolutions to have mileage.

Investing in new rugs is a good way to satisfy your home improvement aspirations in the short term and it buys you time to train for the marathon projects. You can bring about a brilliant transition by modernising your rug selection, or, indeed, going for more vintage rugs in anticipation of a retro makeover.

Rugs allow you to introduce new styles without demanding drastic changes – they are the catalysts of experimentalism, the reagents of new ideas, the crucial components in the chemistry of style.

It helps that clearance rugs are usually available at this time of year, offering you the opportunity to experiment more cheaply and spread the cost of a more ambitious project (involving new furniture, new fittings, new paintwork and so on) more evenly.

Buying rugs as part of your home improvement plans is far from being a cop-out. In some ways, it actually commits you to making more drastic changes, but it doesn’t oblige you to rush into anything.

Unlike the things you’ve given up as part of your New Year’s resolutions, decorating is something you can do slowly but in the meantime you’ve got new rugs for instant gratification.