Lighten up for spring

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Small changes add spring to your home

Getting rid of the winter blahs is an annual March rite that often demands more than a little spring scrubbing. In March the sun is at just the right angle to shine a light on all that old winter cosiness that was so warm and inviting in December but gets to feel stifling by March.

The need for a lighter, brighter feeling inside your home could simply be a yearning for an open window and the song of a robin whistling outside the door, but to get you through until those things happen, local designer, Lori Drinkwater and home painter JoAnn Schmidt provided the Gazette with a few spruce-up ideas that could help.

Drinkwater, owner of Fresh Look Design, who is a home stager as well as a designer, provided the accompanying photos of a bedroom, which she recently redecorated. The room boasts new furniture, previously chosen by the owners. But the surface changes that brighten the feel of the room are relatively small. There is new lighting, a new duvet, bright blinds and lighter paint on the walls and ceiling.

“My clients wanted a “hotel” feel,” said Drinkwater, adding that in some ways, the new look provides the escape-like atmosphere her clients craved, because it was decorated with lighter colours.

“The bright yellow colour had a cosy warm feel to it but cool colours make the walls appear to recede,” she said, adding that new lighting fixtures make a big difference too.

“If you want to brighten your home, check your lighting. If possible, put all three forms of lighting in a room so you have a layering of light: general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting,” Drinkwater said.

In this room, a new overhead light provided a sparkling new aura to the room.

“It radiates with flashes of light all over the room,” said Drinkwater, adding that the new bedside lamps provide a newer modern look.

“Metallic accessories and a mirror brighten the room, as does a monochromatic colour scheme. The dark furniture adds contrast,” Drinkwater said.

Paint and pillows

Painting is the surest way to provide a fresh new look, said JoAnn Schmidt of Joey M Painting. Schmidt agreed that fashions come and go when it comes to paint and wall coverings, but currently many of the show homes she has worked in are going back to highly textured popcorn-style ceilings.

“So if you still have a popcorn ceiling, it’s back in fashion,” she said. “The easiest way to clean it up is to spray it white or cream.”

Painting a room is similar to buying a new coat, Schmidt said but as with anything new, it’s the accessories that add personality.

“If you are just fed up with winter, change the throw cushions. I have a friend who keeps a cupboard full of throw cushions and she pulls different ones out every time she wants a new look,” Schmidt said.

If you don’t have a ton of pillows, Schmidt suggests purchasing inexpensive zip-up cushion covers and draperies when they are on sale at the end of each season.

“Everything doesn’t have to be matchy matchy anymore. Two years ago my friend bought new yellow bedroom curtains for $30. She put those up that summer and in the winter she put back the grey ones she had before. In the summer she had a bright look and in winter she had a cosy look that kept the cold out – for $30.”

And buy flowers, Schmidt said. Use real ones if you can afford them, but fake ones will also make you smile every time you walk in a room.

“Go to the thrift store and buy a pretty vase for fifty cents. Then buy some inexpensive pretty fake flowers. You’ll see. Nothing freshens the house up like flowers,” Schmidt said.

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About Author

Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.