The spring cleaning and the refreshment of the decor have always been able to lift the mood. But after this long pandemic winter, there is a special satisfaction in clearing up clutter, an added joy in being creative, and an extra joy in making a room even more of your own.
“This time of year I often feel buried indoors after so much time, and since many of us work from home, it’s even more important,” says Tulsa designer Mel Bean.
Or as New York-based designer Thom Filicia puts it: “Be brave. The New Year is an opportunity to create spaces in which you can lead your best life.”
Some suggestions from experts to bring a sense of harmony and happiness home this spring:
Philadelphia-based interior design company Marguerite Rodgers added a playful, cheery red pocket door to a recent nursery project on the Jersey Shore. (Hello PR Group / Halkin Mason Photography via AP)
A good extinction
“‘Bright and bright’ is my motto, and when the days get warmer I can’t wait to clean some things and donate,” says New York designer Michael Wood.
Wood uses the change of season as an opportunity to get a professional company to do a thorough cleaning.
“Every piece of furniture is lifted and cleaned by the crew – all lighting fixtures, fans, walls, blinds / curtains and ceilings are wiped off,” he says. “You clean outside, inside and behind all devices, inside cabinets, shelves and cupboards, all windows inside and outside. Everything feels new again!”
However, hiring professionals may not be feasible for all of us. Fortunately, cleaning can be free therapy.
Organizational expert Marie Kondo says visualizing what a happy home would look like for you is a great first step on the path to neat cleaning.
“Think about what type of house you want to live in and how you want to live in it,” she says. “When you envision your ideal lifestyle, you are really clarifying why you want to tidy up and imagine your best life. The tidying up process is a turning point.”
Debugging could spark some new ideas for old belongings, says Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors in Lake Charles, La.
“Heirlooms are a great way to add accessories and bring luck to a home. Those old trinkets and doodads found during spring cleaning could make great coffee table conversation pieces,” he says. “There is something special about keeping memories and respecting history that nourishes the soul.”
Designer Thom Filicia’s advice is to be bold when redesigning your space. (PV Public Relations / Nick Johnson via AP)
Not ready for something big? After performing an anti-jamming, reward yourself by bringing some green home.
“Plants are known to increase mood and productivity,” says designer Jay Jeffers. “Add a ground plant with plenty of natural light to enlarge your space and place smaller plants where you spend most of your time, such as in your kitchen or on your desk.”
There are plenty of easy-care options like succulents (including aloe and jade plants) and pothos – or try cut flowers.
“Investing in a pretty vase and committing to fresh flowers are a great way to keep your space happy,” said Mary Patton, Houston designer. “Even if you do instacarting, you can have inexpensive flowers delivered. Arranging flowers is a simple, creative activity.”
Filicia advises paying attention to the parts that you touch the most each day. “Your home shouldn’t just be a place where you feel inspired and energized, but also a place where you can sit back and relax. Create an environment where you can recharge,” he says .
“Sheets, pillows, and throws create this welcoming environment.”
Paint or paper a wall, replace a rug, or reupholster a chair, he suggests.
Color is an easy way to create an upbeat feeling, says John Cialone of Tom Stringer Design Partners in Chicago. The company recently completed a project in Palm Springs, California that introduced a vibrant kiwi green. Cialone also likes coral on walls or furniture to “give them a healthy glow”.
Designer Thom Filicia says the New Year is a chance to create spaces where you can live your best life. (Nick Johnson / PV Public Relations via AP)
Changing the finishes or buying larger furniture costs more, but it’s a breeze.
Jeffers suggests taking inspiration from your favorite destinations. “Think about the places where you feel happiest. Whether it’s a beach with calm blue waters and warm white sand, or a cozy cabin surrounded by evergreen trees with design elements from your favorite travel destinations Bring them back mentally, “he says.
Home gyms were one of his most sought-after additions this year. Whether you’re setting up a few pieces of equipment or just some mats and pillows, this private oasis can pay off in both your fitness level and mindset, says Jeffers.
Changing the finish or color of kitchen cabinets can be a big task, but the payoff, says Cialone, is big too.
As the pandemic continued, Lisa and Peter Kinsman, of Westchester County, NY, were fed up with the dark cherry wood cabinets and black countertops of their kitchen. Inspired by a photo Lisa saw of a Studio McGee-designed kitchen, the couple chose a cream gray color to cover the cabinets and swapped out the counters for white Silestone. The updates brought more light to the small space behind the house and improved the mood in many ways, Lisa said.
“The light definitely, but we’re surprised at how much bigger it looks,” she says. “It’s hard to say whether that’s why I find it more pleasant or whether it looks so much more current.”
Philadelphia-based interior design company Marguerite Rodgers added a playful, cheery red pocket door to a recent nursery project on the Jersey Shore.
“The pop of color really connects the space,” says designer Kaitlyn Murphy. “You can easily freshen up existing mill work by adding wallcovering, fabric, or fun paint.”
Kim Cook is a freelance writer covering design, decor and lifestyle topics. Follow her on Instagram @kimcookhome.