The last days of winter tend to have an emotional resemblance to the layers of dust peeking out from behind your furniture. While the mood of winter calls for quiet colors like calming browns and cool blues, spring screams for color! Bright pastels and lively shades of red and orange bring life to a dormant room, so before yard work comes calling, it’s time to get down to business and brighten up your rooms in the spirit of spring. Here are 10 tips to get you going in the right direction.
Clean. Spring Clean
When was the last time you gave your house a really good cleaning? A move the couch, wash the baseboards, scrub the fridge kind of cleaning? Probably last spring, and the spring before that. Time to continue the pattern. Nothing like those first rays of warm sun peeking through your dirty windows to get you out from in front of the tube to scrub ’em good. You might even want to hit the gutters while you’re at it.
DID YOU KNOW?
A combo of vinegar and water makes an effective, nontoxic window cleaner. Use a newspaper for a streak-free clean.
Empty Your Cupboards
TThroughout the year, stuff that we no longer need or use seems to accumulate. Spring rolls around, and the pantry is overflowing with uneaten canned goods. The kitchen cabinets are full of mismatched glassware. And those tchotchkes from your trip to Morocco a decade ago? They really don’t go with your midcentury modern living room. All of this stuff amounts to clutter that takes up mental space as well as physical, so spring is a great time to purge. Make room for the new by dusting off all that old stuff and have a yard sale, or donate it to charity.
Sweep Out Your Fireplace
There’s nothing like remnants of fires past to keep you in a winter state of mind. We’ll admit this isn’t the most fun job, but at least you only have to do it once a year. Old ashes can make for a stinky room, so you’ll want to sweep ’em up and wash it out. You won’t be roasting chestnuts for a while, so go ahead and store the firewood bucket and poker set while you’re at it. Then, buy a bunch of great smelling candles and line them up on your sparkling hearth.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wood ashes are a great soil amendment, so consider your hard labor a yummy snack for your garden.
Springify Your Accessories
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could change out our furniture to coordinate with the seasons? While it’s not always a logical budget item to switch from wicker to wool, there are lots of options to change up your décor with a simple flip of a slipcover. Brightly colored throw pillows are an easy way to funk up your winterized color scheme, and they can be stored for future seasons. Swap out wooly winter rugs with light sisal to add a little spring underfoot. And inexpensive accessories like vases and lamps are a great way to freshen up a room.
Embrace Flowers and Plants
There’s no better way to bring the spring inside than to fill rooms with vases of freshly cut flowers. A weekly visit to your local florist can get a little pricey, but if you plant a cutting garden in the fall, you’ll be rewarded with fresh blooms all spring. Early blooming bulbs like daffodils, crocus and hyacinth add lots of color and life to a room, and they pop up as early as February. Shortly after comes the waves of flashy tulips and irises that look beautiful in small bunches placed strategically around the house.
DID YOU KNOW?
Early spring is also a great time to snip the dead leaves off of your houseplants and get them ready for a new growth phase with a little fertilizer.
Re-think Your Paint Colors
Any decorating magazine will tell you that paint is the cheapest way to reinvent a room with a big impact. Spring is a great time to do away with the beige palette and add some color. You don’t even have to paint the entire room to achieve the desired effect. Pick the wall that hits your eye when you enter the room and paint it a lighter shade of the existing color. It’s called an accent wall, and it can do a lot for a room without completely changing the look. If you’re not a big fan of color on your walls, freshening up your white paint will considerably brighten a room.
Love the Outdoors, Too
Grab a broom and sweep all the leaves off the patio to make way for the furniture that has spent the winter in storage. No need to acquire new furniture if you’re tired of the old look — you can have new cushion covers made from a colorful array of outdoor fabrics on the market. This is also a great time to start cleaning out the garden beds and plant some new flowers. Add a floral wreath to the front door, and plant the window boxes to liven up your curb appeal.
Coat racks full of heavy winter coats, umbrellas and mukluks don’t really shout “spring has sprung.” This is especially true when they’re planted right by the front door. Box up your winter coats and snow boots and put them in storage. Just seeing an empty coat rack when you walk in can make a big difference. If you have a side table near the door, add a vase with some fresh cut flowers so it’s the first thing you see when you walk in.
Brighten Your Bathroom
Swapping out bathroom accessories is an easy way to breathe new life into your bathroom. Even just changing out the shower curtain with a fun, colorful pattern will give it a noticeable a facelift. Swap those darker curtains for sheers or some light wicker or bamboo blinds that allow a little more light to peek in without giving the neighbors a peep show. Splurge on a bright rug and a few hand towels to match your new color scheme. Fresh flowers, colorful art and spring-scented candles are another inexpensive way to bring some life into your bathroom.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you’re like most Americans, you spend about 14 days a year in the bathroom. That adds up to three years by the time you’re 80!
Let the Sunshine In
Opening up the windows and letting in the fresh spring air can lift the mood of a stale winterized house in minutes. While you’re at it, swap out the heavy curtains that lined those frigid winter windows with a set of breezy sheers. Then, have a seat on your newly slip-covered couch, strategically placed in your fresh living room palette with a refreshing glass of sweet tea. Relax and take in the distant lawnmowers, chirping birds and playing kids. Ah, the sounds of spring.