Spring cleaning can be more than just dusting and washing windows. Take some time to go through the house and look at each room. Clean up the aspects you don’t like. There are plenty of updates that can be made throughout to make things look fresh and exciting, and there are often tips and tricks to make them easy and affordable. A new look doesn’t have to mean a complete home makeover.
By Ben Gifford
Add blinds, curtains for dinner mood lighting
Window treatments can be an easy and cost-effective way to breathe life into a tired dining room and can even make it more comfortable.
“You don’t want to sit down at a dining room table with the sun in your eyes,” said Sharon Agin, president of Earl R. Agin & Associates, Inc. With the right shades, you can bring them down just enough to still let you see outside and “have dinner without putting sunglasses on.”
The right dining room window treatments can definitely “make it look more finished,” said Agin. Choosing a decorative window rod with end panels can “tie the room together” and complement the floors and “everything else going on in a room.”
For something a little different, interior shutters are another way to control lighting and they’re “a big step up from a wood blind.”
Renovate old kitchen cabinetry
There are many workarounds that can give the kitchen area a fresh look without costing as much as a full remodel.
For those who are happy with their cabinets but want something new, “laminate countertops are starting to mimic the look of stone,” said Scott Herceg, president of Kitchen Design. “There are numerous edge treatments to make it look like real stone.”
Cabinet re-facing is another way to make things look new without a complete makeover. This involves removing the drawers, door fronts and cabinet boxes and replacing them with new components.
While re-facing, it’s even possible to add rollout drawers or other modifications. Herceg said, “Within a week, we can transform your kitchen. It’s half the cost and half the mess.”
Treat yourself like royalty
These days, beds have become “more of a lifestyle item,” said Michael Rogoff, owner of Metro Home. “One thing people should consider is upsizing the bed to a king size.”
Rogoff says people are doing more from the comfort of their beds, like reading or watching TV, and having the extra space is a benefit.
Some refrain from a king-size bed because they already have a queen-size headboard, but “it doesn’t have to match,” Rogoff said.
Storage beds are great investments because they can eliminate the need for other furniture in the room and free some space.
In terms of de-cluttering, Rogoff also says to get rid of excess pillows. “Make your life easy. You sleep on your bed. You don’t show it off to guests.”
Start the day right in a luxury bathroom
Keep the bathroom in mind when updating the house for spring. After all, it’s a room most people visit first thing in the morning. A luxurious bathroom can help you “put the spring in your step as you wake up,” said Liza Blackman, co-owner of Pink Pineapple Home.
Blackman offered several simple suggestions. Adding a more decorative mirror with borders can completely change the room. “Make it a piece of artwork,” she said.
You can also add a decorative light fixture or chandelier to the bathroom. “A new light can make you feel happier,” Blackman said.
Try adding candles and soaps with matching fragrances to make sure you’re surrounded by pleasant scents.
“A bathroom doesn’t have to be a place you just walk in and out of,” Blackman said. “It can be a place just to enjoy relaxing. Turn it into a luxury pad.”
Consider the cost of deck maintenance
Decks can be a source of joy of frustration. Consider the options when choosing to add or upgrade. Many materials that cost less up front can require more maintenance. Cedar needs to be painted or stained every year, said Heidi O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Landscape Design and Installation.
Synthetic materials like Trex can cost more, but they’re much more resistant to the elements. All the moisture in our climate can cause wood support systems to rot if uncared for, but now there are metal support systems, O’Neill said.
As long as the support system is in good shape, you can resurface an old or weathered deck for a new, clean look.
A covering can extend the enjoyment of a deck or patio. “We have a lot of evenings that are warm but drizzly,” O’Neill said. And keep in mind, “south or west-facing spaces need shade.”
Lighting plays a role in family room comfort
The family room is an important gathering space for having guests over and even for day-to-day family get-togethers. Re-furnishing it can be costly and involve a lot of work. Give it a figurative coat of fresh paint by rethinking the windows.
“New window treatments should focus on light, airy views, privacy, versatility and energy efficiency,” said Bob Bernstein, owner of Miles Park Window Treatments. “Today’s window coverings have adapted well for all of these concerns.”
Bernstein recommends Silhouette and Pirouette window shades to filter out harsh light and eliminate “almost all” ultraviolet rays. Adding the right shades can add privacy and even insulation if desired.
Screen shades are a great way to save on cooling costs by shading the interior without much compromise when it comes to a view of the outdoors.