Decorating for Spring Without Spending a Bundle

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Spring cleaning is just around the corner, only to be followed by spring decorating! Five interior designers give us tips on how to give our space a fresh spring look without breaking the bank.

Decorating for Spring Without Spending a Bundle

It seems as if everything is changing: celebrity relationships, the face of America’s political atmosphere—and of course the season. With the state of things it seems natural to want to jump right into spring, and give our homes a fresh new look that fills us with warmth and optimism. Regardless of whether the new season brings with it an economic upturn, there are ways we can decorate our homes for spring without breaking the bank. Changing out accessories for those in the hottest spring colors, or merely lighter and brighter colors, is an excellent way to incorporate a fresh new look without spending a bundle. We asked five interior design experts to share their best tips for giving a great spring look to your space with little effort—or strain on your budget.

Bring Outside, Inside

We’ve been cooped up in our houses for months now, fighting off cold and dreary weather. It’s time to open those windows, and take advantage of that natural spring beauty by incorporating outdoor elements inside the home. Live greenery or flowers from the garden add a great pop of color in any home, and exude life. Keep in mind you don’t have to be an expert to do this well. Joe Matthews, owner and interior designer of Matthews Interior Design in Philadelphia, explains to us that “sometimes people feel they need to put together a large arrangement. But really, you can get a large glass vase and fill it with five or six moss rocks and put it in the bathroom. Tall vases are striking with just two or three branches that have flowers on them.” He mentions this can be done by using materials found in your own garden, or by creating arrangements “which you could put together using materials from Michaels, or even Target.”

Words of wisdom: "When I go into a lot of spaces, it seems that people tend to either overdecorate or they tend to like to decorate in twos and pairs. But you don’t have to use pairs—two matching lamps, two corresponding pieces of artwork—as long as you use scale, or corresponding colors to tie the pieces together."


Rethink Furniture

Throughout our interviews, designers overwhelmingly agreed that the hottest color this spring is bold and versatile turquoise. Betsy Lucido, Interior Decorator from McKinney, Texas, explains how we can use our own or cheaply bought furniture to bring spring into the home: “Pick up an old table or sideboard at a garage sale or flea market, and paint it in one of these bright colors to really bring a fresh look to your room! Tables, shelves, and sideboards add more space for accessorizing a room.” Betsy reminds us that the most cost-effective way to redecorate our homes is to “use what you already have, freshen up finds at a garage sale or flea market with new fabric on a chair, or a fresh coat of paint. Also, shop stores like Hobby Lobby, Garden Ridge, TJ Maxx Homestore, or IKEA for some wonderful, inexpensive accessories and accent furniture.” She also reminds us that reusing our own or second-hand furniture is part of a commitment to green living—and that something as simple as rearranging our furniture is a great way to give a room a fresh look without spending a dime.

Words of wisdom: "I believe a home should reflect the owner’s personality in a special way. Family photos, things you’ve collected from your travels, things that represent what you love to do—these should all be displayed throughout your home. A home should reflect who you are and tell a story to those who come to visit!"

Lighten Up

This phrase has many meanings—all of which apply to spring decorating. Though we can all agree that spring is time to lose the serious attitude and incorporate fun, extroverted colors, Shiree Segerstrom of Sacramento’s Shiree Segerstrom Interior Design tells us also to just cut back: “Lighten up on accessories, as in use less accessories. Spring light needs a cooler, cleaner look. Knick-knacks make it feel warmer.” She points out that this could also apply to fabrics used in window dressings, pillows, or even the throw you keep on your couch—suggesting that “instead of using wool, you would use a light cotton or silk throw.” Finally, lightening up can be considered literally—bringing in light from outside is a great way to pull a room out of its winter gloom: “I did a show house based with solar tubes. No windows, just the tubes. Wow! Instant light. Mirrors opposite windows increase light and visually enlarges space beautifully.”

Words of wisdom: "Don’t get too caught up in the latest hot decorating trend. A little of the newest trend, say lamps and framed mirrors, go a long way to updating your home’s look. I’ve seen so many trends come and go and what happens is that ten or fifteen years down the road you have to get rid of everything!"

Play with Texture

Along with lightening up, finding new textures to incorporate into a room is a great way to bring a fresh look at a low cost. Mimi of MiMi Designs in Weston, Conn. tells us how we can replace old with new: “All of the things that make you feel warm and insular in the winter you want to put away to feel fresh for the summer time. Replace those things with pieces that are translucent and light in color and texture. Woven mats on the floor are great. Even if they are made for outdoors, they can be used inside. They are easier to wash—especially if you have children or pets. And they’re not too costly.” You can introduce lighter textures in all aspects of the room by using different fabrics or accessory finishes or repainting the walls (which is an inexpensive way to make a dramatic change in any room). Pay attention to what works in the room, and how you can utilize the natural assets of spring: “If you’ve taken down those heavier window treatments or draperies you can replace them with light woven shades or sheers so that when your windows are open the sheer will blow in the breeze.” Mixing up different textures will keep the room from being static, and allow for more movement.

Words of wisdom: "Just love where you live. Make your home a statement of all the things you love, all the things you do in your life, and the people who live there. It’s very important to reflect the individuals who live in the home. If you love to cook, make that an important part of your life. If you love to travel, make sure the things you’ve collected in your travels are part of your everyday life. There’s nothing better than coming home and saying, 'Oh, this is exactly where I want to be!'"

dining room

Think Outside the Box

When we want to give a room a makeover, the last thing we think of is using tired old ideas. Mix it up! Though you want a room to speak your own style, try pushing it to the limits. Detroit metro area interior designer Ronnie Frey of Frey Designs gives us some insight on how to walk on the wild side: “As far as furniture accents go, find something odd or extraordinary and use it for an accessory or decorative object in your interior. Using things that were intended for something other than a home interior is a great way of creating a very non-static and dramatic space. I used upper kitchen cabinets with glass fronts and lit from inside as my nightstands by mounting them to the wall at nightstand height. Often these things become conversation starters and are surely the things that will make your interior stand out above the rest.” He mentions that incorporating brighter spring colors through accessories is a great way to add punch to a room and give it a bold new look. However, he warns us to “be careful not to overuse the color though, and remember that nature includes more ‘natural’ or ‘neutral’ colors— such as wheat, oatmeal, dirt browns, warm bark gray, etc. Adding in these colors also will be the perfect combination for a successful room.” Mixing old with new is the perfect way to get a little funky while still remaining within your comfort zone.

Words of wisdom: "Following your own heart and creating your own style is always the best 'trend,' I would say. Designing around the current 'trends' can become very static looking and even tired looking very quickly, so while following trends is OK, just make sure you do not just copy what you see but find a way to infuse your own style into your interiors."

We’ll keep crossing our fingers that the season will bring with it welcome change—but even so, we will be able to enjoy our living space and provide some great spring energy and optimism. Remember to enjoy the beautiful weather and your home’s new look!

Tara D Sturm

Tara is a freelance writer currently pursuing a Master of Urban Planning, Development, and Design at Cleveland State University. Her writing has covered a wide breadth of topics, but she particularly enjoys meaningful work concerning community development, sustainability, and design. Her articles, blogs, and musings have been featured in various online and print publications, and she hopes her words will inspire creativity and innovation as we work toward social and structural change.

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