Spring Spruce Up
March is the perfect month to get your home “spring ready.” Maybe it’s the fresh air and warmer days that prompt the urge to give our homes a little boost. Or it could be the looming deadline of the first week of April when the house has to be in tip-top shape for Masters visitors.
Whatever the reason, the good news is that giving your home a facelift doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many inexpensive, quick ways to spruce up both the interior and exterior of your home.
Taking on the Inside
Beth Welsh of Beth Welsh Interiors suggests three things to give any room a fresh look—house plants, new throw pillows and paint. “These things are inexpensive and will make a huge impact on space,” she says. The idea is to draw the eye away from things you can’t fix quickly or without spending a lot of money. Something as simple as cutting fresh greenery from your yard and displaying it in inexpensive glass containers can make a big impact on formal areas that seem “tired,” she explains.
Peeling paint can quickly make a room look outdated. “A new paint color can change everything,” she says. If choosing a paint color is too overwhelming, Welsh suggests looking through home decorating magazines for inspiration and direction. Home and garden magazines typically reference brand names or paint featured so you can easily locate and and try out a new color. “The best trick is to paint all main hallways including baseboards,” she advises. “It will make the whole house feel fresh and new.”
Sometimes all a room needs is some fresh artwork or linens. Amy Walker, mother of two boys, ages 10 and 7, buys canvases and create her own artwork. She also suggests visiting discount stores to stock up on new hand towels. “I buy hand towels at a good price and then get them monogrammed,” she says. “Combined with some fresh flowers in each bathroom, the hand towels give the bathroom a homey feel.”
The best place to start, according to Welsh, is wih the rooms you use and walk through most often. “In other words, fix what bothers you the most. It will make you feel better,” she says.
Rooms such as the kitchen and family room are most important because they are usually used the most and get the most wear and tear. Torn or stained upholster can make a room feel old and worn. If your budget allows reupholster any worn chairs or sofas or have them professionally cleaned for a quick, less costly makeover.
Other quick and easy updates include removing clutter from kitchen counters and table tops, adding a few new accessories or maybe new paint for your kitchen cabinets to give the room a fresh more current look.
Welsh also suggests that once you start fixing up a room, stay with that room. “Doing things here and there all over the house will drive you crazy,” she says.
Sprucing Up the Outside
The exterior of your home is also an important consideration since it is the first impression many people have before they even enter your front door. Mary Louise Hagler, master gardener, garden writer and author of a monthly newsletter that shares gardening tips, recipes and projects (www.mlchgarden.com), offers many tips when it comes to improving your yard.
She suggests first viewing your front yard from the street and asking yourself these questions: Is it welcoming? Clutter free? Then walk around your house and remove anything that is clutter or has no purpose, as less is more. “Too many containers or ‘doo dads’ anywhere in your yard makes it look dated like too much artwork in your home,” she says. “The eye needs to rest on visuals to enjoy, but not too many!” Make sure to remove empty pots, old yard flags and dead plants—give your yard a garden cleanse.
“There are two things that will bring instant beautification to the outside of your home: pressure washing and pine straw,” says Hagler. With our mild winter tempertures, your home may need a good pressure washing to remove mildew, cobwebs and dirt. Also adding fresh pine straw or a dark much will freshen up any garden bed.
When freshening your entryway, use new containers and don’t be afraid to select taller, more modern types. Just make sure they are the right scale for your front door area. When purchasing containers, check on the store’s return policy and, if possible, take home the pots and try them out for a few days to make sure you like them. If they don’t work, take them back. “When you find something you love, plant ornamental grasses and hardy annuals in them for an updated and welcoming look,” she says.
With spring approaching, Hagler suggests gardening with a purpose. “Choose annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees that will be useful to you as food or flowers.” Herbs are great for containers and raised beds. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill and bay are Hagler’s favorites, which she uses for seasonings as well as filling vases. She also suggests planting “pops of color” for curb appeal. Sweeping beds with one color pallette are most appealing.
Pansies are a great choice that will last until the first heat wave. And once the pansies are pulled up, Hagler suggests planting Zinnia Profusion in red, yellow, orange or cream. “Zinnias are a no-nonsense, heat-loving plant that thrives on neglect,” says Hagler. A new plant that is making its way to our area is called Angelonia Angustifolia, a trendy, more feminine annual that is available in purple or white.
Another way to spruce up your yard is to move things around. Place pots, benches and tables in different areas for a new look. Create seating areas.
Walker likes to bring the inside out when “decorating” her yard. “Repaint a pair of old Adirondack chairs a bright green and add some fun throw pillows,” she suggests. Place a fire pit on your patio for an instant gathering space for family and friends.
To avoid getting overwhelmed by too many changes and updates, Hagler suggests making a list before you get started to stay organized and avoid buying pots and plants you are not sure where to place once you get home.
The key to a mini-home makeover is to make a list of the rooms or yard areas that need the most work. Then make a plan detailing how you’ll update the area, complete with a budget. Finally, get to work and start making your home springtime savvy.
Cammie Jones is an Augusta freelance write and mother of three.