En español | There's no better time to refresh your home than spring — a time of renewal.
Goodbye wine-colored velvet drapes; hello taupe linen panels. Perhaps your all-gray palette, so popular last year, could do with a turquoise or yellow boost.
In addition to simply wanting a change, a year of pandemic-related restrictions has transformed how people see and use their homes.
"After this last year — there was so much doom and gloom and we just had the [winter] storm from hell — I'm ready for spring,” says Carolyn Tillery of Dallas, 59, who works from home as a book reviewer and budding mystery author. “I redecorated about eight years ago. Now I'm ready for something a little fresher and lighter."
With people spending so much time at home during the pandemic, they've realized what they need, and what they like and don't like, says Michelle Harrison-McAllister of Michelle Harrison Design in San Diego. “If you hate it, you can change it,” she says.
Many ways to change your home are easy and affordable DIY projects, including:
1. Try rearranging
From furniture to photographs, rearranging the contents of your home can refresh a space, says interior designer Beth Brown of Beth Brown Interiors in Atlanta. “Maybe the credenza in the dining room could work in the bedroom under the television and provide storage,” she suggests. It's also free.
2. Invest in bold colors and patterns
Adding color accents to a room can make a big difference. “Color can change your mood,” says author and lifestyle expert Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home in New York City. “Find your own style; if you like purple, find a way to get it into your house.” Hot colors this year include blues and earthy tones like deep brown and mustard. Bold geometric designs, such as for floor tiles, are popular.
3. Pick up some pillows
Pillows are a simple way to add a spot of color to a room. “You don't have to be all matchy-match; mix a plaid pillow with a floral pillow,” Harrison-McAllister says. “And sometimes you don't need to add color, but texture.” If you have a plain black pillow, for instance, add a black faux shearling or linen pillow.
4. Consider new wallpaper options
You can easily and quickly update one accent wall or a small room with no-mess, peel-and-stick wallpaper that's removable. Choose from thousands of options. You can buy kids’ wallpaper for less than $15 a roll at Target or spend more than $100 a roll for designer patterns. “It's a very inexpensive way to change a space,” says Wilson, who has written two home design books.
5. Brighten up with lighting
Lighting can help set the mood of a room. “Your whole place should feel lit,” Wilson says. “It's not about the intensity (or lumens) but about lighting dark corners.” She recommends using layered lighting, such as table and floor lamps to complement ceiling lights, or going for a statement chandelier in a sculpted or industrial look.
6. Bring the outdoors in
Plants and cut flowers add color and vibrancy to a room, says Harrison-McAllister. “Even if you don't have a green thumb, get a cactus,” she says. Consider edible herbs that can grow in small spaces. Plants also filter toxins and release oxygen to help you breathe easier.
7. Change window treatments
"You can change an entire space with drapes” based on the color and texture, Wilson says. Heavy drapes that prevent winter drafts may be too warm for spring. Think white or pastel colors in linen or washable cotton, she recommends. To save money, Tillery plans to sew new drapes in a blue shade to draw out that color from her wallpaper.
8. Reupholster furniture
Tillery also plans to recover the seat and back cushions of her dining room chairs and reupholster some living room chairs in blue hues. “Soft furnishings are the easiest and most economical to change,” she says.
9. Take an artistic route
You can stamp your personality on your home with art. Although mixed-media and 1970s retro art in bold, earthy colors are hot, get art that makes you happy, suggests Brown. “Buy original art and support an artist,” she says. “You don't have to spend a ton of money. There are many resources online, such as Etsy, Saatchi Art and Tappan Collective."
DIYers can make a gallery wall by putting images from magazines into simple black frames from Ikea or Target, says Harrison-McAllister. Go to Pinterest to look for ideas, such as painting a plain canvas or decoupage, she adds.
10. Invest in new table displays
Make a table centerpiece using the glass vases that come with flower deliveries, says Harrison-McAllister. Clean the vases, clear off your dining table, arrange them and fill them with branches snipped from outside or even colored glass.
Sheryl Jean is a contributing writer who covers aging, business, technology, travel, health and human-interest stories. A former reporter for several daily metropolitan newspapers, her work also has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and The Dallas Morning News and on the American Heart Association's website.