Now that spring is here, you might be antsy to freshen up your home. But don’t fret if you don’t have the budget for an overhaul. If you want a new look, there is plenty you can do with a small amount of cash. We asked designers for some creative ways to welcome spring into the home for less than $100. Here are their tips:
A simple way to stretch $100 is to spend it on a paint project.
“A gallon of paint and a good paintbrush or roller brush can work wonders to instantly freshen a room,” interior designer Dana Tydings said.
Consider a warm white, Tydings said, because it goes with everything. “If you walk into a museum, they have constantly rotating exhibits, yet the backdrop is always a beautiful, warm white.”
If you want a fresh shade other than white, interior designer Zoe Feldman suggested painting the ceiling.
“A light blue or a light gray makes it feel like there isn’t a ceiling,” Feldman said. “It’s cheaper, too, because you need less paint.”
Window washing isn’t the most exciting task, but you’ll be glad you did it. “It really makes the house look different,” Arlington-based interior designer Suzanne Manlove says.
Tydings agrees: “It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done. They just they sparkle. Everything looks better.”
If you take on the job yourself, the supplies will be fairly inexpensive. Hiring a professional will obviously cost more but might be worth it for hard-to-access windows.
It also couldn’t hurt to extend the spring cleaning to other parts of your house, Manlove said, and pack up any lingering holiday decorations and winter-scented candles.
“Get rid of clutter and things that don’t spark joy,” Manlove said.
Let light in by taking down any heavy drapes and swapping them with simple curtain panels. Try a plain white cotton drapery panel, Manlove said. She likes Target, West Elm and Ikea for affordable options.
Slipcovers can be as expensive as fully reupholstering, so try this inexpensive trick from Tydings instead: Buy one or two cotton throws or foutas (thin Turkish towels) in solid colors. Tydings likes to use foutas as table runners or throw them on the back of a sofa.
“You can take a tired brown sofa and add a creamy white or pale yellow or aqua fouta,” she said. “Lay it across an arm or third of the couch. You won’t see that big ugly brown couch.”
Try positioning a mirror or collection of mirrors across from a window, Manlove said, to brighten a space. “It reflects light and is something happy for a room,” she said.
Already have a mirror? If it’s framed in a heavy antique metal or dark color, Feldman suggested spray-painting it white or a lighter color. And you can change it up whenever you want.
Give existing pillows a fresh start by replacing the covers with affordable, colorful options, Tydings said. Her firm’s go-to is Etsy.com.
“We always find some great stuff on Etsy,” Tydings said.
Think about the color palette of what’s permanently in place, interior designer Jessica Bonness said, and limit the new colors to one or two.
“People can get carried away,” Bonness said. “They buy a pillow that has 40,000 colors in it. You can never go wrong with a solid.”
Pick one or two new spring shades — navy blue, aqua, apple green or white — then build around that.
Pillar candles, even the battery-operated kind, offer great ambiance and warmth for the price. Clean out the fireplace and replace leftover coals and wood logs with four to five candles in various heights.
“You can also cluster them on a tray and plop that on the kitchen table or coffee table,” Tydings said. “It instantly creates a focal point.”
Plants are finally blooming outside. There’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a little color inside as well.
“Put things at your entry so that you are reminded of spring when you first walk in the door,” Manlove suggested.
Succulents and colorful spring flowers can be put in inexpensive planters, Manlove said. Or try a few birch logs or plants in your cleaned-out fireplace.
Feldman said spring is the time to fill vases with blooming branches, which are only around for the season outdoors but have longevity inside.
“Also, switch out your flowers whenever you head to a farmers market, which adds new color into your home.”
You don’t need a major or expensive landscaping overhaul to freshen up an outdoor space. A dreary deck or patio can be brought to life with colorful herbs, annuals and perennials grown in pots, said Bruce Allentuck of Allentuck Landscaping in Clarksburg.
Sweep up any leaves or debris left over from winter, then “find a nice piece of pottery and plant something that will last all season until the next frost,” Allentuck said. “That’s the easiest thing to do and will give the best impact.”
For sunny spaces, consider petunias, bacopa or sweet potato vines. For shadier spots, begonias, impatiens or heuchera will grow if well potted. Try growing basil inside the same pots, Allentuck said. You can pick it for fresh herbs to use when you’re cooking dinner.