POSTED ON APRIL 18, 2012:
Easy and affordable interior updates for spring
Usually around this time of year we feel a natural rejuvenation as we bid farewell to winter. The singing birds, blooming azaleas and warm sunshine provide fresh energy and excitement. However, because the first seasonal transition of 2012 has been a little anticlimactic, we may need to come up with some creative ways to give our environment a sense of renewal. The outdoor signs of spring have sneaked up on us, but interior changes can be just as uplifting.
If you want to give your home a little spring makeover, start by collecting ideas. "Look up anything you can to inspire your creativity," said Gary Posselt of Design Therapy. He suggested Googling "spring decorating design trends," exploring various websites and blogs, and joining the rest of the world in their obsession with Pinterest.
As you search for inspiration, keep your priorities in mind. "It adds up quickly so it's best to give yourself an idea of what you want to spend first. Then choose which plans will best meet your objectives," he said. Likewise, if you do not have time for crafty endeavors, don't bother putting them on your to do list. "If now is not the time for big projects around the house, you can still freshen your space and make it feel up-to-date and new to you." Be practical and realistic and you won't be disappointed.
Don't get stuck thinking spring updates have to include certain colors or trends. "Not everyone is going to be attracted to the bright spring colors, but you can certainly use some of the ideas ... perhaps selecting one of the bright colors and choosing a muted version of it," Posselt said. Forget about the rules and just have fun with it. "Lately it seems [like] almost anything goes, especially when it comes to self-expression with your own décor."
No Money, No Problem
Posselt said we often forget to look at what we already have, but that's the place to start. By doing this, many improvements can be made for free. "There are many things you can do to effectively create a fresh look in your home that only require a little imagination and work... Rearrange the furniture, switch out accessories between rooms, re-do the bookshelves, for example." You might be able to repurpose certain items, using them in a fun new way.
Search through cabinets, closets and the garage to find old items you no longer use, pulling them out to reconsider their possibilities. Old baskets can hold magazines or newspapers. A serving platter can be used as a tray on a coffee table to display flowers, candles, mementos, etc. This is your chance to think outside the box and let your imagination run wild. I like to use cute coffee mugs as pen holders and have even displayed a few of my favorite books on a pretty cake stand.
According to Posselt, when you want to rearrange accessories, you should gather them all up in one place and start over. This applies to knickknacks, throw pillows, plants, pictures and art. Consider swapping living room lamps and bedroom lamps as well. As you find new locations for family photos, think about updating them with recent shots. You could also spray paint the frames a new color if you feel so inclined.
One of the most effective free changes you can make is cleaning your windows inside and out, Posselt said. He also suggested taking all the books and pictures down from bookshelves and rearranging everything when putting them back. "You'll be amazed at the difference this can make."
Now that you've taken inventory on your current belongings and used them to their full potential, you can feel good about buying a few new items because you have a better idea of what you really want and need. "We often try a new haircut or style when the seasons change. ... Why not embrace the same attitude for your home?" Posselt said. "Accessorizing and adding colorful accents can be a great way to bring freshness to your interior."
Discount stores carry a plethora of affordable accessories. Enjoy a guilt-free search for throw pillows, table runners, dishtowels, colorful dishes and bowls, vases and more. Other fun additions include items for spring and summer entertaining, such as plastic margarita glasses, pitchers, dinnerware and serving dishes for the patio.
Posselt suggested purchasing "new sheets and bedspreads for the bedrooms; colorful towels and a new shower curtain for the baths; new placemats, towels and napkins for the kitchen" --- whichever updates are most important or exciting to you. "A fresh new set of sheets and a new comforter or quilted bedspread can change the look of your bedroom immediately. ... Spring colors in tangerine or blue/green can add a vibrant touch of color to a drab bath. Add a matching mat or rug and for very little money it will look like you've re-decorated the room." Even something as simple as new soap pumps can make you feel better.
If you want a huge impact without spending a lot of money, "re-paint a select piece of furniture in a bright spring accent color" or "paint one wall of a room in a softer version of the bright spring color trends," Posselt said. Powder rooms are a great place to try a daring new color. They are small and therefore easy to paint. Mirrors and lamp bases can be drastically changed with paint too.
Sometimes all you really need to do is a good spring-cleaning. Throw out the old to make room for the new. Get down on all fours and scrub like there's no tomorrow. Posselt recommended buying a DIY hardwood floor sealer at a janitorial supply store such as Bewley's Sweeper Service. This deep cleans hardwood floors and can really brighten up a room.
Don't forget to clean outside; the patio and front porch need some attention too. Then plant fresh flowers in your garden and add colorful pillows and new cushions to outdoor furniture. While you're out there, "cut flowers or a branch of a blooming tree right in your own back yard, shake it off and use it as the centerpiece on your breakfast or dining table," Posselt said.
As you're making all these changes, "remember to view your home as a whole," he said. "Do a little bit in each room to create the effect that you've done your whole house." Even just trying a few of these ideas can give you an amazing sense of renewal.
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