Rooms in bloom: Five ways to brighten your house for spring

Rooms in bloom: Five ways to brighten your house for spring

Airy, open, light, bright and blooming"¦these are the marks of a spring-ified interior. Now's the time to embrace clean and colorful accents of renewal.

Garden colors
Get inspired from the ground up. "Notice the season's hues — the tender green of stalks, the eye-popping color of tulips, grape hyacinths and narcissus," says Annie McIntyre, owner of McIntyre Interiors in Ashland. "These are the colors that bring bright bursts to your home."

Quintessential green — citrus lime, calming Lucite, vibrant grass — spells spring. "There is also a decidedly fruity flavor this season and juicy orange is the color to be seen," McIntyre says. "From papaya and mango, pale and peachy to dark sunburnt shades, it comes in so many zesty hues."

Layer explosions of color over neutral backgrounds. "If you have white or neutral curtains, consider adding thick ribbon tiebacks in several colors and widths," suggests McIntyre. Also pile them on brown or khaki — both still in fashion as background fabrics — with inexpensive throws, pillows, candles, table linens.

Tuscan tabletop
"East Coast designers are showing a Tuscan wine country feeling which is perfect with our vineyards and booming wine industry," imparts Peggy Lindstrom, owner of Casa Bellisimo in Medford. "Think berry and wine shades and also olive oil colors in yellows and greens."

To avoid the permanence and expense of repainting, bring these new spring colors in as "quick fix" accents, especially on the tabletop.

"Turn your attention to tables, coffee tables, sideboards and mantels and do the greens as your palette with table cloths and runners; it's your meadow," Lindstrom advises. "Then build up from that with purples, burgundies and lavenders in plates, candlesticks, vases."

Thrifty homemakers can mine fabric stores for the raw materials for table linens. Fun solutions may also be found at discount, craft and secondhand stores.

"People want to do this on a shoestring," concedes Lindstrom. "So have some fun with it and use favorite wine bottles as vases for single stems. Or group a bunch of bottles on a shelf for décor."

Home in bloom
The flower garden is a handy, low-cost treasure trove for spring decorating. Go monotone with all-purple blooms like hydrangea, rhododendrons, lavender and lilacs. Place them throughout the house in all manners of containers.

If you don't have an army of fancy vases, "get creative and make something," counsels Janene Loran, sales associate at ScanDesign Furniture.

"You can even paint your vases and pots to give them new life," she says. "Then go through your gift-wrapping box and find some ribbons and tie them around other drab pots."

A green plant on an end table will add life to a wintery room; for those with allergies, opt for a nice-smelling spring candle.

Seasonal shift
Living rooms, family rooms and dens can get a fresh facelift simply by shifting the perspective of a sofa.

"If you can, face your sofa to the front window so you can enjoy the flowers and trees outside — there's no need to use the sofa table if it takes up too much room," says Loran. "Adding two small swivel chairs in front of the window is good, too, so you can swivel around and look out."

When main windows and doors face a backyard or deck that's bare or unattractive, liven things up with some greenery placed on small outdoor tables, railings and the ground — you'll have an instant view.

"Open all your blinds and bring the sunlight in," Loran says. "This alone will make you smile when you walk in the room."

Lighten up
Remove unnecessary throw rugs, blankets, layers and other fabrics — even in the bathroom. "Take off that old toilet seat cover and let your white fixtures shine through," says Loran. "Then change out your darker towels for white or be brave and go for yellow or green."

Once you've liberated floors, give them some shine with a coat of polish. Likewise, clean all windows and mirrors, allowing more sunlight to enter. For privacy at the front door window, trade out the shade for a lacy curtain.

"Then de-clutter," Loran says. "Have a great big garage sale and get rid of all that stuff you don't use."

Spread the spring attitude by inviting a neighborhood kid to sell lemonade during the sale — you provide the lemonade, he or she makes the money. And don't forget to greet your neighbors — planting the seed of kindness is the most natural way to welcome the season of renewal.

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