Spring has sprung and hopefully the cold of winter is behind us. Let’s get over this hot one day and cold the next and prepare for some of that beautiful sunny weather we all enjoy. When the spring season rolls around each year, we think about getting back outdoors and cleaning up our yards and flower beds so we can enjoy them as we start to spend more time outside. When it comes to annual spring cleaning, we start to think about how to spruce up the interior of our homes as well. I’m sure we all have some extra “stuff” we have gathered over the past several months. Consider those of us who have been working from home and all the extra office supplies that have filled our spaces. Let’s take a look at a few tips to make our interiors a little easier to maintain with some low-maintenance décor, preventing the clutter from becoming overwhelming!
Floors and walls: Our floors are a great starting point. We have so many options. They are the foundation of our living spaces. Carpet feels great underfoot, but for several years now we have ventured away from wall-to-wall carpet and have selected beautiful decorative rugs in its place on top of tile or wood floors. With hard surface flooring, you have the opportunity to clean them much easier than wall-to-wall carpet. Hardwood flooring is available in many different stains and finishes and you can also install them in decorative patterns to create a custom look. Hardwood floors are easy to maintain and last a very long time. Tile is similar. We prefer to use porcelain tile over ceramic due to the durability of porcelain and it is available in just about every look or style you can imagine. Whether it be the look of marble, stone or even wood, tile is a great solution for low-maintenance flooring. (See our “Exploring Art and Flooring Options for Home and Business” post for more ideas.)
Wall paint with a durable finish is another consideration for an easy to clean surface. We generally suggest an eggshell finish for the walls and a satin finish or even a semi gloss for the trim. Painted walls and trim with these finishes make clean up much easier than a paint with a flat finish. If there are children in the house, we have also recommended using the satin finish for the walls.
Another way to make sure you have a low maintenance home as far as cleaning goes is to ensure everything has its place. When you minimize the clutter, you don’t have to move stuff around as much to dust. We all know that no matter how clean we think we are, that pesky dust seems to come out of nowhere! Proper storage for shoes (I keep my shoes in clear shoe boxes in my closet similar to this photo), athletic equipment, and important papers can make a difference in keeping the clutter at bay. Outdoor shoes can be placed on a rubber mat inside a garage or in a mud room. Decorative storage boxes for those important papers or individual cubbies for athletic equipment also comes in handy. You can even use furniture to help with your storage needs. A decorative storage ottoman is a great place to store extra blankets, magazines and even a child’s coloring books and crayons.
Open shelving is another area where cleaning can be minimized by using closed cabinets instead. Now I realize the open shelving, especially in a kitchen, is a beautiful look. But I know myself and I do not want to have to clean the shelves and everything on the shelves all the time, especially in a kitchen. A closed cabinet with a decorative glass front can be just as attractive.
Another important item I’d like to talk about is the furniture itself. Elevated furniture is easier to maintain than a sofa or chair with a skirt. Now, I am not knocking a skirted sofa or chair, but those skirts do have a tendency to hide those dust bunnies, LEGOs and even a dog toy or two. Yes, I am speaking from experience. With a sofa and chair with legs, all that needs to be done is a good swipe with a broom or vacuum and it’s clean. No need to turn the skirted pieces on their sides to clean underneath! I remember my mother every Saturday, that was cleaning day, turning over the sofa and chairs to make sure it was spotless. No need to do that with an elevated piece.
Another point to consider with our upholstery is the material. Leather is a great solution for easy maintenance due to being able to just wipe it clean with a soft damp towel. There really is little dust with leather. Now I know some folks do not like the feel of leather so I would then recommend a fabric like Sunbrella or Crypton that has a stain protection built into the fabric. No worries when it comes to staining. Any liquid will bead up for a few minutes so you can blot it up. If a liquid does have time to penetrate, water and a clean cloth should always be used. Remember to blot, blot, blot. Never wipe a stain away.
I hope a few of these tips have come in handy when you take on that spring cleaning project. Remember: maintaining our homes is a must, but if we purchase furnishings smartly, we can spend more time doing the things we love, and the maintenance will not seem like a big chore. Until next time, let your creative juices flow!