I know you are feeling this special block of time between spring and summer, where the nights are still brisk, but the days are sunny and warm. You fling open your weathered windows, let that glorious sunshine in and look through fresh eyes at the interior of your home. What do you see? Does it feel drab and dreary, like the months that have passed? Are you as energized in your space as you are outside under the midday sun? If your answer is no, you are not alone. Every year, as we move into summer, I get the itch to refresh my home. Some people do spring cleaning, but I much prefer the in between, when the days are long and there is more time to work with natural light to get everything just right. I have a few projects I do every year that make a huge impact in little time.
A fresh coat of paint does wonders to bring life to a room, like a breath of fresh air. As one of the easiest ways to update a space, a coat or two is all you need to modify the energy of your room and is a quick weekend project with minimal cost. Personally, I am a fan of all white walls, doors, and trim but that’s not the right fit for everyone, or every room.
When selecting color, keep in mind the light levels of the space. For example, south and west facing rooms have lighting that is bright, inviting and works with most paint colors, while north and east facing rooms with limited natural light can feel cold and sterile and are best suited to bold, warm tones. If you find yourself drawn to a new hue, take the plunge and know if you hate it or tire of it, just roll on another color. It’s only paint.
According to the principles of feng shui, clutter drains you of your positive energy. While living minimally is not for everyone, a little decluttering now and again can lift unwanted visual weight. Also, less to dust is a bonus, right? I suggest doing this at least once a year, bi-annually if you struggle with the process. Start in the room most heavily trafficked and work through it before moving on.
A few tricks I use to keep focused through this process:
• Stay put. Even if you find yourself building a pile that belongs in another room, don’t leave. It’s natural to want to move what is out of place to where it belongs but I find if I leave the room I am working in, it’s easier to get distracted by something else.
• Keep emotional and logical reactions level. Don’t let one overpower the other.
• Gauge how often something is utilized. If it hasn’t been touched in a year, donate or toss.
• Think about the things you struggle with. Is there a fix to help you live a more organized life? As a consistent loser of keys, I’ve added a sculptural hook right next to my door. It works like a piece of art when empty and I don’t displace my keys anymore.
• Give yourself permission to keep a reasonable amount of sentimental items.
We all have areas that don’t fit into a rotating cleaning schedule; baseboards, walls, ceilings and exterior windows are mine. Even with the most thorough list, many people overlook what can impact the feel of a room. With traditional spring cleaning out of the way, I focus on textiles for maximum impact. Once a year I have my rugs and upholstery professionally cleaned. It restores some of that new purchase freshness and helps increase longevity.
I also focus on a thorough cleaning of all window treatments. All romans and drapery go off to the cleaners for a professional scrub and everything else can be done in house. We have a resource on the site that covers window treatment cleaning that can easily be done with what you have at home.
Keep your windows and their treatments bright and fresh to bask in the long and lazy days of summer.
As a self-proclaimed plant mom, this is what I look forward to during the pre-summer spruce up. I love plants. They improve air quality, lower background noise and increase humidity in the home. Did you know that research has shown that people are more productive, happier, and healthier in plant rich environments? Since my home is a plant haven, it is important to me to treat my green friends well. Spring and Summer are growing seasons, so it is the right time to replant, propagate and feed. I recommend concluding a pre-summer spruce up with some green time and as a special treat, pick up new planters for the repotting and a few more plants for the home. Is there such a thing as too many plants?
If you are just not a plant person, or if you live in a space with very limited light, fresh cut flowers and tropical arrangements are a wonderful option. Spring and summer are the growing season for some of my favorite blooms, I find myself shopping locally for a fresh bouquet every week. Luscious flowers brighten up a room and add some of that summer magic to the indoors.
As we quickly approach the season where we spend more time outside than in, remember that your home is a sanctuary that you make. Fill it with things that bring you joy and are as comforting as a sunny, summer day. If you find that your home isn’t just as you like, see if a little spruce up does the trick.