Human centered design takes a traditional home and optimizes it for maximum safety and ergonomics. Many architects, designers and builders strive for a barrier-free environment – particularly for those with disabilities. However, universal design tries to make life easier and more efficient for everyone.
You’ve done some spring-cleaning, cracked those windows open and thought about showing some love to your lawn and garden. Now it’s time to introduce fresh colors and natural elements to your residence by giving your house a spring makeover.
Here’s some ideas to bring the outdoors in by infusing nature and garden-inspired items throughout your home.
The color of your walls, floors and furniture is the foundation for setting the tone of your environment. If everything is dark, you should probably lighten it up a bit. If you live in a stark white environment color is definitely a must. What you don’t want is your house to look like Rainbow Brite’s. Your spring décor should complement your base colors, not clash with them. If you aren’t happy with your base, it’s time to switch it up and think of ways each room’s color can better reflect your personality and the function of the room.
Would your bedroom be more relaxing with cool blues and whites? Would a Tuscan orange and yellow kitchen make you want to break out those pots and pans? Would a botanical theme make your bathroom seem like an oasis?
The possibilities are endless but here are a few tips to keep in mind as you embrace spring from ceiling to floor:
- Beiges, whites and grays are wonderful canvases that allow you to play with color. Consider jewel tones and bright colors for accent pieces to inject more personality.
- A sophisticated look can be achieved by combining rich shades like navy or plum with metallic home décor details in gold, silver or pewter.
- Pastels like pale green, soft yellow or lilac give you a chance to accessorize monochromatically with brighter and darker shades within the same family.
Paint is the easiest and one of the best ways to change the whole feeling of a room.
- If you feel unsure about a new color, or already have neutral walls, consider painting an accent wall. Or if you have molding, paint the molding a new shade for instant contrast.
- If you have furniture that needs a little help, give it a new coat of paint! Wooden chairs, desks and cocktail tables are easy to paint and much more cost effective than buying a whole new set of furniture.
- If you already love the neutrality of your walls and furniture, try painting your shelves or wall sconces if you have them. Is your bookshelf boring? Paint the inside of your bookcase to add color against a neutral wall.
Rugs are another item that add color. They can be changed with the seasons, and don’t have to be a costly commitment.
- If you have wood floors, try patterns like floral or geometric designs that complement your walls to freshen the look of a room.
- Placing a colorful rug underneath a dining room table or other seating areas can liven up the room.
- If you already have a neutral rug on your floor, layer a smaller one on top in a spring color for added dimension.
- Don’t forget about the outside…if your outdoor welcome mat is dingy from winter, swap it out with one featuring flowers, birds or something nautical.
From furniture to dining room placemats, fabrics can breathe new life into a room simply because of their color and placement in the room.
- If your couch and upholstered chairs are dark, try slipcovers that are pastel or feature a springy motif.
- Spice up a chair or ottoman by placing a plush throw blanket across them in a bright color.
- Consider light-hued draperies or sheers for windows that face the sun. They will add both light and soft warmth to the room. Pick a shade that complements your paint and you can then match pillows, throws and other accents to the drapes to really pull the room together.
- Colorful bedding can make your bed a statement piece in the room. Even if you don’t use colorful sheets, try a new comforter, duvet or quilt with complementary pillows for a luxe look. If you have a connecting bathroom, you can match the towels and shower curtain to the color of the bed for a fluid color scheme.
- Dress up your dining room. If you’ve left your table au natural during the winter, it’s time to use a tablecloth in a spring shade and place a table runner on top for added dimension. Choose placemats and napkins that pull in the same color as the tablecloth. Store the Santa-themed milk and cookie dishes, and unveil dishes and glassware with butterflies, flowers, or simply a solid bright shade.
Art and photographs are often the focal point of a room, so make sure they reflect the season.
- Swap out that reproduction of a snowy Victorian scene and replace it with a spring or summer image.
- The frames that hold your favorite photos may need changing as well. Do you have heavy dark frames hanging on the wall? Simply swapping them for silver or gold-plated frames can lighten the room and make the wall appear less heavy.
From an artistic vase to a collection of candles, accessories are an easy and inexpensive way to add color and personality to any room.
- Bring in live or artificial plants and flowers to update countertops, shelves or windowsills. Flowers such as hydrangea, lilies, tulips, daffodils and azaleas are available right now and can be placed in a vase or colorful planter to brighten your home’s décor.
- Avoid leaving side tables, the kitchen table or other furniture with decent surface space, empty. Add a vase of flowers, put fresh or faux fruit in a glass bowl, or add a decorative birdhouse to a tabletop.
- Candles and air fresheners are great home accents and can change the mood of a room in any season. Try a cotton scent in the bathroom, a citrus scent in the kitchen, and a sweet floral scent in your bedroom to bring fragrances of the outdoors inside.
- Accent pillows are a reasonable way to change a room for each season. If you have a neutral couch, use bright or festive prints, but if you have a printed couch, choose solids in a harmonizing color. Remember, pillows look better when paired in sets of two. For example, if you want to place turquoise and yellow pillows on your beige couch, layer one of each color at each end of the couch.
- Change lampshades to a bright color or a floral design to add pizzazz to a corner of the room.
- For your bathroom, pick a color scheme so it will be easy to match the rug, towels and shower curtain for a fluid appearance.
- Last but not least, don’t keep family heirlooms in a cardboard box in the basement. Whether they are antiques or a gift from 1987, there’s likely an item or two that can really give rooms a personal and lived-in touch.
Celebrate spring and breathe new life into your home with fresh scents, pops of color and design elements that can be easily swapped out to embrace changing seasons. Get creative and have fun!
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