Spiffing up for spring

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Hooray, it’s finally spring! The days are growing longer, the crocus and primrose have burst through their dark blankets of soil, and we feel refreshed and renewed with the promise of sunshine and warmer weather.

Welcome the growing season at your front door with a new mat. Try one made of coir with multi-colored flowers. Or feel in the pink after our dreary winter with cherry blossoms at your feet.

Tired of winter’s gray palette? Turn that around in no time with paint, the most budget-conscious and effective way to make a difference in your home. If a complete paint job is too pricey, pare down the project and make a statement in your hallway, the first space visitors see when they walk into your home.

From the high-energy palette of vivid greens and intense turquoise to more muted blues, greens and lilacs, there’s sure to be a color to coordinate with the furnishings already in place.

Little changes go a long way, so if the living room is crying for a redo, weep no more. Start small by transforming an old, dated chair into a show piece with some new fabric. Get a little wild while you’re at it with an animal print. Available in woven and printed patterns, faux leather and suede, these stylish coverings are just the thing for a spring pick-me-up.

At the same time you’re shopping for chair fabric, think about new toss pillows for your sofa. But skip the animal print there, if you’ll be using it on the chair also; animal prints are best used sparingly. A little leopard goes a long way.

Try solid pillows on the sofa. Heavy cottons, textured linens, ultrasuedes and crushed velvets add visual interest without bringing in patterns. You can pull the colors from a print already in the room, or from the new color planned for the hallway. Make the pillows big enough — 20 in. by 20 in. is a good size — so they call attention to themselves and have the eye-catching effect you’re after. Trim them with fringe or tape — or for a touch of luxury, crystal beads — and you’ll want to take their picture.

Speaking of pictures, if the mattes are faded and tired, spruce them up with new ones. Of course, the new mattes should pick up the colors in the paintings, but maybe there’s a color that can be pulled in from those new pillows? By repeating colors already in the room, the color scheme is underscored, and the furnishing and accessories are tied together. When the budget allows, paint the living room in a tint or shade of the pillows and matting, for a completely coordinated look.

With a fresh coat of paint in the hallway, a striking new chair, spanking new sofa pillows and bright new picture mattes, your home will look a lot like spring.

Rita Plush is an interior designer and coordinator of the Interior Design/Decorating Program at Queensborough Community College.

Updated 10:59 am, October 12, 2011
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