“Freshen Up Your Home for Spring,” “Spring into a Fresh New Look,” “Lighten Up, Brighten Up for Spring!” For years these have been some of my favorite design topics. Many of you know I built my business on speaking events and I enjoyed addressing groups from garden clubs to women’s organizations to homeowner’s associations and sororities. I can go through my archives and find flyers, postcards and hand-outs with my best tips, tricks and trends. So, I decided to do just that. Go through and pull some of my former tips to see if they stand the test of time. Let’s take a look…
This was hot off the presses in 2004:
Freshen up Your Home for Spring – Easy, Fool-Proof Decorating Guidelines
We all know that home maintenance requires good tools, quality materials and experienced workmanship. Once you have the basics covered and your home is in good working order, you may look around and still feel that something is not right.
The way you decorate your home can make or break its look and function. A few simple guidelines can make any house look better and be more comfortable. Some of the best tips are 100 percent free. Others cost just pennies or a few minutes of your time. Since spring is just around the corner, let’s discuss some easy ways to freshen up your home.
Even though it seems like Houston has had a real winter this year, we all know that warmer temps and outdoor living are just around the corner. Making your home reflect the season is a time-tested way to help you enjoy your home. These small changes can have a big impact.
Paint the back wall of your built-in shelves a fresh color. Pull a color from something in the room like a piece of art, a cushion or a rug. It should be a hue that you love but couldn’t use on all four walls because of its brightness, darkness or intensity. Make sure it has an organic or earthy quality for staying power. People are more comfortable for a longer period of time if colors are natural feeling. For example, if you love orange, think apricot, terracotta or pumpkin, rather than bright orange. If you don’t have shelves, you can always select a cabinet or two, remove the doors and paint the back of the cabinet for an interesting change.*
One of the best ways to freshen up a space is to remove clutter. Start by placing any plants outdoors once you are sure they are hardy enough to stand the cool spring temperatures.
Removing clutter from the floor, even nice clutter like houseplants, will go a long way in improving your style. Another good tip is to remove extra throw rugs and mats that are not necessary. They make your floors looks busier, messier and bogged down.**
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. I encourage my clients to consider leaving decorative containers empty. Vases, urns, candlesticks, etc. can look great with nothing in them. In fact, I nearly never fill my candlesticks. There is something very refreshing about this openness, especially after the accessory-laden holidays and long, cold winter months.
Take everything off of your mantel and add just one, dramatic piece of art. This can even be a nicely framed print. If your art is the same width of the mantle, you won’t need another thing. Alternatively, a good look is a mirror. They are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and styles. You can almost always use a mirror—whether over a dresser in a bedroom, to expand a long hall, over an entry table or buffet. A good mirror is a great investment for any home.***
Edit, edit, edit. Walk around your home and check your accessories. Remove at least one item per area. Enjoy the simplicity of looking at just a few of your favorite things.****
Well, here is my take 18 years of design later – the above are all still great ideas!
*For the tip about painting the back of your shelves — that still holds true. However, we use more wallpaper behind shelves these days because wallpaper came back after quite a long design hiatus. We LOVE putting wallpaper behind shelves and do it every chance we get but for a tighter budget, colored paint is a great option!
And, I have to say, we were just a bit ahead of our time suggesting you remove doors from a few cabinets. Today, more people would do completely open shelves but that can be a larger project. Removing the doors is a good hack. Another option would be glass doors in select areas.
In the top photograph we decided to use glass doors and paint the cabinetry a gray color. This works well between the overall white kitchen (See tiny bits of white cabinets to the right) and the grayer, warmer hues in the dining room. In this same house we used pretty, polished chrome supports for a classic bar style in the upstairs billiards bar. This house was a complete gut-job renovation started in 2014 and completed in 2015 so good design tips can stand their ground!
And, of course, open shelving is popular these days. Here is one of our renditions of them in another extensive renovation and addition that was completed in 2019. This is such a nice, clean and simple space with just a spot for a few favorite items.
I love the clean look of this little coffee nook (at right)! Isn’t it chic? **We all know that reducing clutter never goes out of style – enough said.
***/****I think today we often put less on mantels and tabletops that we did years ago. One good piece of art or a great mirror and possibly an outstanding accessory or two can hold their own.
Don’t you love how easy these ideas are and knowing that they will make your home look better for years to come? They are so simple; you could try one tonight or over the weekend. Let me know what positive changes you will make in your home in anticipation of spring.
Until next time find your inspiration or call us and we will help you discover it!