Six simple spring solutions
Just as we shake up our wardrobe at this time of year, following the same approach indoors can brighten our homes for spring. It's not difficult to shake off winter chills, and add instant cheer to rooms so they're smart for spring: simply follow our six-step plan...
“Clusters of accessories, such as vases, add instant colour and interest to a space and can be an effective way to revamp a tired sideboard, bookshelf or dining table, as the eye will instantly be drawn to the new colour and pattern,” says Eiry Rock, assistant buyer accessories at Habitat. “Currently we’re seeing a big trend for more unusually-shaped vases, especially hand-crafted shapes, which work without flowers as a stand-alone decorative object.”
SPRING SNIPS: Tirado Orange Glass Bottom Vase, from £25; Leri Multi-Coloured Ceramic Bottle Vase, in blue and yellow or pink and white, £40; Peppae Multi-coloured Ceramic Vase, £40, and Layo Yellow Textured Ceramic Bottle Vasy, £45, all from Habitat (habitat.co.uk).
Alternatively go ‘quackers’ with a Billy Duck Container in Sunshine Yellow, £13.75, Acorn & Will (acornandwill.co.uk).
Maximise the light in a room by painting everything white, which will make a space feel fresh and airy.
“White’s often the backbone of a new decorating scheme and although whites can be equal in impact, they’re definitely not all the same. Choosing the right shade for your home depends on a few factors, including light quality, the colour of major items in the room and the style of the interior,” says Marianne Shillingford, Dulux creative director.
“If you have great natural light or well-layered artificial light, cooler whites and off-white shades, such as Moon Shimmer and Rock Salt, work well. For spaces which tend to be dark, or have a colder north-facing light, warmer shades like Jasmine White or Timeless, are better.
“For a safe-as-houses shade, consider White Cotton, which suits period or contemporary settings, and bear in mind large items in a room will reflect their colour onto the wall. A blue carpet, for example, will make a white wall look very cold, so you’d be well advised to opt for a warm white.”
SPRING SNIPS: Wake up walls with Dulux Ultra White emulsion, RRP £24.98 for 2.5L, and revive paintwork with Pure Brilliant White Gloss, RRP £16.99 for 2.5L (dulux.co.uk).
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
Outdoors, the sweet scents of grass, blossom and earthy pungency signal spring’s arrival, and floral fragrances can have a similar effect indoors, too.
“With nature’s colours popping up all around us and nights getting lighter, our attention turns to freshening up our homes, and welcoming scents play a big part in that,” says Rosey Barnet, creative director at Shearer Candles.
“Fresh and zesty fragrances are perfect for this time of the year; think Egyptian Cotton or Persian Lime, or if you want to really warm the atmosphere after the chill of winter, choose a tropical scent such as Amber and Rose.”
SPRING SNIPS: Amber & Rose Gift Box Candle, £15; Large Candle Tin, £7; Pillar Candle, £10, and Reed Diffuser, £10, Shearer Candles (shearer-candles.com).
Alternatively, evoke a sweet scented shrub with Dobbies’ Wild Honeysuckle & Rose Reed Diffuser, £12.99, available in stores (www.dobbies.com).
Even if your garden isn’t yet bursting with blooms to attract butterflies, there’s no reason you can’t welcome them into rooms.
“People have long taken inspiration from nature,” says Nichola McFall, brand manager at window blinds specialist, The Fabric Box. “It’s all about bringing the outside in, and we’ve shared our homes with all manner of flora and fauna for some time now. Our new Aporia range, featuring roses and butterflies, follows the trend.”
SPRING SNIPS: The Fabric Box’s Aporia design is available as an all-over design or a border print, Aporia Parade (available on roller blinds only), from £65 for a 61cm x 61cm blind (for stockists, call 08448 118 280).
Block out prying eyes or a dull view with Coloured Butterflies window film, from £55.40 per square metre (purlfrost.com). Butterflies also adorn a range at the Dotcomgiftshop.com and my favourites are their Butterfly Shopper Bag, £2.95 (try arranging spring flowers in a moistened foam oasis, seal the base with a plastic bag then pop inside and hang up for an inventive display), and Butterfly Jumbo Bag, £4.95; ideal for storage.
Pops of colour in unexpected places are a surprising and playful touch, which could revitalise an interior.
“Everyone gets very serious about interior design and worries about getting it ‘right’. Of course, that’s important if you’re spending lots of money, but decor should also be fun,” says interiors writer Kate Watson-Smyth (madaboutthehouse.com).
“Always have at least a couple of things in your house which make your heart sing when you see them. For me, it’s my spotty stair carpet, and I’ve also painted the edges of my doors in contrasting colours to the interior decor for a couple of rooms. This simple-to-do effect isn’t visible when the doors are shut, but has real impact when they’re open.”
SPRING SNIPS: Chair or sofa legs can be functional and a style feature if they’re painted, but always ensure you protect any upholstery before you start. Online specialist Pretty Pegs, which supplies Ikea and has a range of funky ‘legs’ for furniture, is a great place for inspiration. We love their Alfred table legs, from around £114 for four, and Hellevi sofa legs, from around £49 for four (prettypegs.com/en).
For real wow factor, splash out on one item which really packs a colour punch. Rigby & Mac’s super Yellow Floor Lamp is a bargain at £139 (rigbyandmac.com). If you’re flush, The Kae Collection Popping Yellow Chair, £485, The French Bedroom Company, couldn’t fail to stun (frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk).
Filling a house with flowers may seem like an indulgence reserved for celebrities, but displaying faux blooms and plants can be an affordable way to celebrate the season of new life.
“We saw the ‘age of faux’ emerge strongly last year, with the demand for everlasting flowers and plants for indoors and out taking off,” says Kay Hutcheson, head of buying at House of Bath.
“Potted daffodils are a traditional way to welcome spring, and if they’re faux, they work in areas where lack of light or draughts make them unsuitable for real arrangements.”
SPRING SNIPS: A sweet bouquet of faux Daffodils In A Pot, £14.95, couldn’t fail to lift the spirits (houseofbath.co.uk). For a more informal look, Dobbies has Faux Daffodils In A Paper Bag, £4.49 each (in store only; dobbies.co.uk).
For a quirky display, consider Melody Maison’s Black Rustic Bicycle Plant Holder, £24.95. Their Artificial Lavender Plants In White Wooden Planter, £16.95, is a prize pick too (melodymaison.co.uk).