Shake the rugs, clear the clutter, free some space: top spring tips
This time of year lifts the spirits and puts us in the mood for a makeover
Sparkling windows, fresh colours and more floor space will lift the mood of a room. Photograph: Getty
It is probably safe to say that most of us have had our fill of winter. Sure, we enjoyed the novelty of building snowmen and hunkering down in front of the fire on a midweek afternoon, but we are all more than ready for the arrival of spring.
This time of year, with its rejuvenation and promise of sunshine, always lifts the spirits and puts many householders in the mood to give their homes a little seasonal makeover. But, while for some, the first daffodil heralds a total domestic overhaul with carpets being beaten, walls being painted and winter drapes folded away for another year, others opt for something a little less taxing but just as uplifting.
We spoke to several design savvy homeowners who revealed what little changes they will be making to welcome in the new season.
• Hotelier and TV personality Francis Brennan says with a little effort, we can all add a fresh and positive atmosphere into our homes.
“The first thing to bring spring into your home is to open all doors and windows and let the air in. Then shake out rugs, clean curtains and promise yourself you will clean a press a day – until they are all in order. Next, clean the windows and let the soft spring light in, while a new throw, cushions, crisp white bed linen and fluffy white towels will all make a home feel fresh. And finally fill the vases with daffodils and tulips and look forward to the hazy days of summer.” www.francisbrennan.ie
• Pauline Dowling, interior design consultant in Galway, agrees and says adding a few simple touches will really spruce up your home.
“I love to recognise the changing seasons and always advise my clients to do the same. A few carefully chosen accessories can do a lot for your interior to bring the springtime indoors and give the space a fresh look and feel for the new season. This time of year I opt for softer, lighter tones of duck egg blue or cream and introduce them with scatter cushions, throws and a rug or statement lamp. Placing a mirror to reflect the natural light around your room will artificially bring sunlight flooding in – a great reminder that spring is here.”
www.dowlinginteriors.com/• Professional artist and homeware designer Deborah Donnelly says there is no need to spend lots of money on giving your home a springtime makeover as being creative is key.
“I upcycled my kitchen table by putting floor laminates on top of it to make it brighter and bigger. It is a very old table and is layered with lots of paint but although I wanted to get it dipped to remove all the paint, it was too expensive. So I had some leftover laminates in my studio and just hammered them into the wood. This immediately gave it a lift and it now withstands everything. It also made it seem a little bit bigger and looks like a completely new table. I also love fabric so I made a table runner to go down the middle of it.
“On another note, plants are fantastic for adding a bit of colour. I was gifted a beautiful orange tree plant in a sand pot and it looks very sculptural on top of the table; it really brightens the whole place up.” www.deborahdonnelly.com/
• Fiann Ó Nualláin, holistic gardener, designer and author of “By Time is Everything Revealed”, also recommends plant life. He believes that “change is the breath of life” and as this time of year is all about new growth, we should concentrate our efforts into bringing the outdoors into our homes.
“Spring is all about rejuvenation and new potential and outside the leaves are unfurling and the nature is enlivening,” he says. “But you don’t need to step outside to avail of the benefits of the natural world; you can bring it inside instead by simply having herbs on a windowsill or houseplants about the home.
“This will deliver a breath of fresh air into your house as plants remove dust particles and pollutants, and on the holistic health side of things, greenery lowers blood pressure and improves mood and relaxation response, so springtime, for me, is all about plants.” www.theholisticgardener.com
• Sarah Reynolds, a professional organiser and author of “Organised”, says getting rid of clutter can be life-changing. And by taking the time to look around our homes and simply removing any excess, we will be rewarded with a sense of relaxation and space.
“The golden rule of getting organised and energising your home is to keep your flat surfaces clear,” she says. “And your largest flat surface is your floor so clearing the clutter off completely or even a section of floor space will give you such relief, not only visually in your physical environment but subconsciously too.
“Too much furniture can be a real obstacle to the organisation of a room. Sometimes removing just one piece can be all it takes to give the room breathing space. So, with minimal effort, you can brighten a room and enhance its opportunity for relaxation.” www.organisedchaos.ie
• Abby Wynne, shamanic psychotherapist and author of “One Day At a Time Diary”, also believes in getting rid of things and says removing anything which we have an emotional relationship with can help us to feel rejuvenated as we head into the new season.
“To create lighter brighter energy in your home consider removing anything in your sight that has a deeply sentimental or emotional impact on you,” she advises. “Put family photos into an album and deliberately make time to look at them instead of seeing them in the background every day. And instead, put up photos of things that lift you and make you happy, like flowers or original artwork.
“Also, make sure that the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning is something which lifts your mood.” www.abbey-wynne.com• Spiritual teacher and life coach Judith McAdam has just written “The Source” which will be published by Gill Books in April. She says our lives can be enhanced during spring by adding splashes of colour throughout our homes – this will not only make us feel uplifted, but will also bring our houses to life.
“Using colour is a very powerful tool to create,” she says. “For example, the seasonal colour of yellow is the most inspirational of all colours and represents hope, richness and fertility. But adding some yellow to your life doesn’t have to involve anything too taxing. Smart ways to bring it into your living room, kitchen or bedroom is simply with décor accessories such as throws, cushions, candles and art.”
• Of course, traditionally springtime is all about giving your house a deep clean and Rena Fekete from CSI Cleaning Services in Ennis has a few tips to get you started.
“Every house needs a fresh start in spring. A deep clean gives you opportunity to get rid of clutter and to say goodbye to the pollen and dust we didn’t notice during winter time.
“So first of all open the windows to let the fresh air in, take down the curtains and bedcovers and wash them all.
“We always recommend starting off with dusting high spots first then move down step by step, polishing as you go along with a wet microfibre cloth. When that’s done, you can clean the windows, vacuum and move back everything to the right place. Then mop the floors and leave the windows open until everything is dry and aired – best of luck.” www.csicleaning.ie