Nothing says spring like a burst of fresh color. "Yank out the beiges and browns; add whites and something bold," said designer Cy Winship. Paint is the easiest and least expensive way to give your home a color infusion, but why limit yourself to walls? If you're lucky enough to have architectural details like recessed wall niches or built-in bookshelves, try painting the back a different color to make it pop. You can also add color with inexpensive, make-it-yourself artwork: Frame a colorful piece of wallpaper or a favorite fabric swatch. Or pick up a blank canvas at a craft shop, then paint it in a vibrant hue. "Maybe lemon yellow, with a little line of aqua," Winship suggested. "Then take your old patio furniture and spray-paint it carnation pink."
Need help de-cluttering? Try a different venue. "It's hard to work in the space that makes you crazy," said professional organizer Lisa Wendt. "There are too many decisions, and it's easy to get overwhelmed." If you're cleaning out your closet, for example, don't do it in the closet. "Take an armful of stuff into a different room, and focus on that," Wendt said. Bring old clothes over to a friend's house for a second opinion about what to toss or donate. Once an item is out of the house, "it's easier to finish getting rid of it," she said. One more tip: "Pep yourself up for projects. Pour some coffee, put on some music you like, light a candle that smells good. People have a negative image of organizing. Try to enliven the experience."
Your front entry is your home's focal point. Sprucing it up will give your spirits a lift every time you cross the threshhold. First, banish any wintry decor. (If the holiday wreath is still on your door, that's target No. 1.) Toss those spruce tips and replace them with something fresh, such as a small ornamental tree. If your wooden door is weathered or scratched, rub stain into damaged areas to minimize their visual impact. Then spring for a shiny new doorknob or knocker to add some polish.
RETHINK YOUR SPACE
After living in our homes for a while, we get so comfortable that we stop seeing them. Try looking at your interior with a critical eye -- then mix things up, repurposing furniture and even entire rooms. Designer Lisa Peck recently advised a client to take her family room accent tables, paint them cream and move them to the porch. She also encourages clients to rethink their color palette. If you've been pulling one accent color from a patterned rug, for example, pick a different color from the rug -- "preferably a lighter, spring-ier color, and work with that instead." Add some inexpensive accessories in that hue, such as accent pillows and picture frames, for a fresh new look.
Little things can put a spring in your home's step. Put away the heavy dishes and switch to melamine. Remove heavy wintry rugs and drapes, and let the spring sun shine through naked windows onto cool bare floors. Designer Lisa Peck swaps out her family photos seasonally, replacing holiday pictures with shots of her kids on the beach. Shop the sales, then splurge on a new shower curtain or spring-y new bedding. "There's something spring-y about crisp new sheets in pale colors," designer Cy Winship said. And treat yourself to fresh flowers. But instead of one big heavy arrangement, tuck sprigs and blossoms into several smaller vases. "It's not as controlled as a bouquet," he said.