After we all muddled through what seemed like the longest winter in history, isn't it nice to see the snow melting away?
For those who have ventured out, stores are now displaying spring and summer goods. And seeing the new porch and patio display at Target recently really gave me hope that summer may come after all.
Here are a few ideas that will hopefully bring a little of that spring excitement into your home.
1. Give your space a quick color makeover.
Either paint a room or simply the wall behind the sofa or bed for an immediate pick-me-up. Choose a light tone of aqua or a spring-inspired color.
It needn't cost you a lot or take much time, and leaving the warmer tones of winter behind will help to shed those doldrums.
2. Pick up a bouquet of tulips at the market.
It's a sure way to usher in the season.
3. How about a faux floral arrangement?
My favorite kind of plant is a fake one. While checking out the new HomeGoods in Westwood, I came across a display of NDI brand florals I thought were reserved only for designers and high-end florists. It's a very high end and pricey line. I found a small arrangement of peonies from NDI and brought it home to liven up my house.
Whether it is a large pot of orchids or a single stem - a faux arrangement can brighten your dining room table, kitchen or bath. (OK, they will not smell, but they also will not die.)
4. Roll up an old carpet and put down a new indoor/outdoor area rug.
The outdoor carpets of old resembled AstroTurf, but new polypropylene rugs are softer, fashionable and who doesn't love a carpet you can take outside and hose off?
These rugs are available virtually everywhere and many online sites have a great selection. Compare FrontGate with HomeDecorators and Ballard Designs for great selection.
When selecting a rug be sure to measure first. If you are trying to bring furnishings into a space (like those chairs on the other side of the room) then be sure to get an area rug that is large enough to reach the front legs of those chairs. Try to avoid using a number of smaller rugs in the same room because it can chop up the space.
Another thing to remember is that when using an area rug under a dining table, be sure that the rug is large enough to cover the space used when pulling out a chair. in other words, try to avoid having chairs spill off the rug onto hardwood.
Rugs that are 5-by-8-feet seldom work under a table. Instead, opt for a 6-by-9 or 8-by-10 one depending on the size of your table. Use it inside until the weather improves.
5. Shop for something new for outside your home.
This can be as small as a new outdoor pillows, a garden stool or new outdoor furniture. Selection is great. Garden stools also make a perfect side table or can even be used in a walk-in shower. Who doesn't like a few new pillows?
6. Buy a new wreath.
You can display it on the inside of the door until the weather gets better.
7. Clean out a closet or pantry.
If you are tired of the clutter in that closet then try your hand at designing a new storage system. I have had luck with an online site called Easy Closets. Many professionals use it, but it's easy for even the novice to use.
The key to success is measuring your items (yes, count the number of shoes in your closet) to be sure that your design is right for you. If you are worried about the installation then hire someone to install it for you. If you are not comfortable with the DIY option then hire a professional. There are solutions in every price category.
Why not redo your closet while switching out your clothing to your spring wardrobe? This is a project that will make you happy all year.
8. Change your window treatments.
This is one of the surefire ways of brightening up a room. You can even remove them and replace with a matchstick-style shade. They are easy to find and even Christmas Tree shops, Lowes, Home Depot, Target and Walmart have a selection of them.
Why is it that we would spend hundreds and sometimes thousands on a sofa but want to get a great window treatment for $39.95? If your windows are in the 32 to 38 inches wide range, then using those inexpensive ready-mades can really work for you.
The key to window treatment success is all in the installation. Here is how the pros do it:
The first thing I notice is the space under the draperies. One-half inch is the rule of thumb. I am not a fan of puddling. I've see it done on HGTV and it drives me nuts.
A friend brought me to her son's room to proudly show me her drapery efforts. The drapes were about 14 inches off the ground. Ugh. That is just wrong.
Buy longer drapes. Ready-mades can be found at 84 and 96 inches long. Better to get the longer ones and raise the rod height than go too short.
If your rod hardware is mounted on the window casing, that is WRONG. You want to frame the window with draperies, so do not be afraid to install the rods 6-8 inches off the frame.
If you want to give the illusion of taller ceilings then consider mounting rod hardware higher to the crown or just a few inches below the ceiling. You will be surprised what a difference it makes.
Although the trend is to use simpler and tailored valances, similar rules apply. Do not mount the rods on the frames! Install the rod higher so that the bottom of the valance covers the window frame and grazes the glass and does not cover half of the window. Professionals calculate the length of the window and determine the proper length of the valance for the window. This is generally more than 25 percent but less than 35 percent, as a general rule of thumb.
Hire a professional for a perfect look. You will be surprised how long lasting the right solution will be.
My mom used to change her curtains every season and could not understand why I didn't until I made one for her. She loved it so much it stayed up for years.
Karen Corinha is an accomplished and regionally recognized interior designer who specializes in creating high-style, affordable solutions. She is also a regular columnist for The Sun Chronicle.