When spring cleaning is all finished, few of us look around and think, “Oh, this looks perfect!” Instead, we softly sigh and think that while our homes are well and truly cleaned of all the winter blah, it would be nice to do something just a little … different.
Decorating for this spring with all the latest expert recommendations in mind is actually something to get excited about. We’re talking vibrant splashes of turquoise against soothing white backdrops, nature indoors, and a strong focus on longevity. What’s better is that you can spice up any room in your house for this spring in five simple steps.
I know, you’re probably thinking that 5 steps to a spiced up spring look is going to require a lot of time and money. You’d be wrong. With the simple beauty of this year’s trends, spring redecorating is easier and cheaper than you could imagine.
Spring Redecorating Tip One: Splash on the Paint
This year continues a trend in spring redecorating that was started last year – people are focusing on the essentials. Bringing spring into your home is easy when you start out with some color. And one of the great things about paint is that you can pick up a couple cans without any strain on your wallet. Instead of reinventing your home design just for a spring redecorating scheme, compliment what you already own by pairing a bold colored wall with a basic piece of furniture, or freshen up trim with a bright accent.
What are the most popular colors on the palette this year? Expert designers are bringing in splashes of sunshine, driving away the winter with a sense of excitement in a vibrant, bright color palette supported by neutrals. Turquoise is a hugely popular color this spring, a soothing blue-green hue that evokes feelings of peaceful escape. Violets are also very popular because they bring a warmth to the room, lending an air of romance and warmth.
Feeling a little brave? Try a soft, sunny shade of yellow reminiscent of the sun rising over the horizon. Moving toward the orange shade of yellow, corals add energy to a room. Super-soft pinks are another option, and don’t require as much bravery. A delicate, wispy tint of pink, blue, or violet is being called this season’s “new neutral”.
For a full look at this year’s most popular spring redecorating colors, download Pantone’s Color Report Spring 2010. Intended for fashion, it’s just as applicable to your paint choices.
Before you start painting, take some time to look at Better Home & Garden’s Decorating Inspiration gallery, as well. There, you’ll find a ton of painting inspiration. Like what? A lovely dining room that is perfectly balanced in a soft sage on the walls with extra-large and ornate trims and ceiling in white. An attic room that uses soft blue to bring the focus on red furniture to create a wonderful retro look. And an absolutely stunning bedroom that uses warm beige paint to make the white furniture and bedding even more soft and dreamy looking. There are tons of ways to paint that don’t include painting every single wall in a room – you’ve just got to find the right look and the right color to splash spring spice in your home.
Spring Redecorating Tip Two: Let There Be Light
Right now, real quick, take a look at the light in your rooms. Want to be real quick? Just check out the light in the room you’re in. Chances are that, without any lamps or overhead lights, it’s a low-light atmosphere that can – literally – be downright depressing.
Beyond the brightening illusion of soft, light shades of paint, there are a couple things you can do to improve the light and ambiance of your rooms. If you do nothing else, this spring redecorating tip alone will snag the feelings of spring and usher them into your home.
First, consider the window coverings you’ve currently hung. Thick curtains are fantastic for winter because they evoke a feeling of heaviness and winter warmth. As spring blossoms fuller, though, this “heaviness” can weigh down the atmosphere of the room and actually block out the longer hours of light. Consider replacing the winter curtains (go ahead and save them for next winter, though) with sheer, lace, or softly textured light curtains which drape in ways that allow the most natural light into your room.
Secondly, actually look at the lamps and overhead lights available in your room. One of the propelling forces behind this spring & summer’s interior design trend is the idea of “real” design for “real” people; everything that is in a room should be attractive, but more than that it should be totally useful. There is little more useful than being able to exert your power over nature and brighten a room with the flick of a switch.
For overhead lights, consider replacing the cover with a flat, frosted light cover that doesn’t surround the bulb. This style of cover allows the most light to reflect from the ceiling down, but it won’t blind you when you look up.
For lamps, take a serious look at standing lamps or wall-fixture “candles” (the ones that do not require actual flame!) in shades that compliment your trim color or that match your existing furniture. The goal is to achieve a higher source of light (again, if it’s located higher in the room you will see a more natural light because it reflects off the ceiling) that doesn’t scream, “I’m more furniture clogging up the place!”
Spring Redecorating Tip Three: Bring the Green Indoors
My husband likes to tease that our house is on the verge of being a jungle. Green thumb or no, this is one of the easiest things you can do in your spring redecorating efforts.
Houseplants that require very little maintenance, making them perfect for the over-busy or forgetful, abound. Check around your local nurseries for these super-low-maintenance houseplants that will definitely fit somewhere in your room and instantly add a splash of spring:
Philodendron: A long-time staple as a houseplant, the heart-shaped leaves of this leafy greenery is just plain classic. It’s not a fussy plant, either. It can be grown well in either bright or low light, and is perfect for perching atop a bookcase where its trailing stems will cascade in a fall of springtime goodness. Allow the soil to dry between watering – super easy, you just need to watch for the first signs of wilt before you need to water.
Eternity Plant (a.k.a. Zeezee Plant): The popular name for this succulent houseplant, Eternity Plant, comes from its longevity. Place the 2-3 foot tall, multi-leaf spiked stem plant in a corner of your room on a pedestal that compliments your current décor and you can almost forget about it. Seriously, this houseplant is a challenge to actually kill – spring redecorating dream come true.
Cast-Iron Plant: When you’re not in the mood for trailing vines or something on a pedestal, consider this nearly indestructible houseplant for placing on a coffee table. Whether you neglect it, don’t have much light, or live in a climate of extreme temperature variances, this plant will continue growing full, long leaves that range from a medium green to varieties with white or yellow variegation.
Spring Redecorating Tip Four: Bare Walls Bloom
The problem with the popular modern natural style of décor, arguably pioneered by companies like Ikea, is that we tend to go for too little. A bare room doesn’t feel lived in, it lacks the handcrafted authenticity that really makes a home comfortable.
As you’re looking for places to perfectly display your new houseplants, seriously take a peek at your walls. I call it “Grandma Syndrome”, the way that most of us avoid placing anything on our walls. Everyone remembers entire walls crammed with framed photos, and most of us cringe at the memory. I’m definitely one of those that avoids placing anything at all on my walls for fear of making the room look cluttered.
Centered neatly over a sofa, lined up in a trio beside a hanging plant, or strategically placed along the space above a door or window, though, you can quickly bring spring inside with small framed pattern paper. Seriously, this is cool and a super-quick project.
First, take a trip to your local art supply store. You’re looking specifically for floral or nature patterned origami paper, which is usually sold by the sheet. Purchase three sheets that complement each other (but aren’t the same) and works with your current décor. Then, find three thin-frame square photo frames approximately two inches larger than your origami paper. Take it all home, center the paper on the frame’s backing and use double-sided tape on the back of your origami paper to attach. Hang where you like and suddenly your bare walls are blooming!
Note: Another take on this same idea is to find some cheery coasters with floral, nature, or other “green” designs and center them on the frame back instead of the origami paper.
Spring Redecorating Tip Five: Pretty Place Settings
This one is perhaps the most simple, but most overlooked, piece to spring redecorating: freshen up your place settings.
If you’re happy with your flatware and serving pieces, don’t worry – you don’t need to go to the expense of replacing them. Instead, start with a fresh look with your placemats and napkins. Go for soft, airy fabrics or natural pieces like bamboo that are easy to wash and bring nature right to your table.
You can also bring fresh greenery into your place settings in simple ways. Try tucking a single flower (daisies are very inexpensive and come in a huge variety of bright spring shades) between the flatware, centered on the plates, or peeking out of wrapped napkins. Use a simple, clear drinking glass filled with a solution of 1 teaspoon sugar to 1 cup of water to create a very light, airy bouquet of your favorite flowers. Delicate looking flowers show off spring best – roses are too heavy for this look.
Finally, clean up your tablecloth. White is all spring. Look for (or quickly create) an airy cotton tablecloth that is trimmed with a wide white lace, and you’re sitting pretty!