Springtime is here. And for us design divas, that means a little bit of spring cleaning—and a whole lot of spring decorating. Look around your living space. If it’s anything like mine, it’s reminiscent of a bear’s den during hibernation—piles of blankets, books, DVDs, and a recycling bin full of empty wine bottles. Well, now that the cold months and gray skies have left us, it’s the perfect time to add some sunshine to our indoor habitat. Don’t worry. This won’t break the bank. Just a few details carefully selected can add a warm glow to your space that will last through Labor Day.
Before we start, I should tell you that I have absolutely no degree in design—but I am self-certified in style. So please, take my advice with a grain of well-preserved sea salt and use it as inspiration for your own design.
Okay, let’s start with the walls. My absolute favorite design element these days are wall decals and wall murals. They are incredibly easy to apply, incredibly inexpensive, incredibly stylish—in a word, incredible. They can take a wall from yawn to yeah! in approximately fifteen minutes.
Wall decals work as design accents and are good to use if you fancy creating your own patterns. For instance, I recently purchased a package of decals that depict the silhouettes of birds in flight. I put them on the stairway wall leading up to my apartment. For a mere $45, I transformed my boring old stairway into a proper entrance for my mod empire. (You can find the link to where I got my birds at the end of the article.) If you must have decals immediately, check your local Urban Outfitters. They have a good selection.
Wall murals take a little more time, but if you’ve ever hung wallpaper before, you’ll be a pro at this. You can cover an entire wall with a bamboo forest, the beach, a cityscape, a lovely cloud-cluttered blue sky. Imagine walking into your place after a long day at work to be swept into your tranquil bamboo forest. Sounds like mojitos and happy hour to me! Restaurants and bars often use wall murals to add dimension to their space, so you’ve probably seen them around. Imitation is the best form of flattery, so take a look at some of your favorite hang-outs and make note of their walls.
If you’re a renter, or prone to changing your mind often, never fear. The wall decals are peel-and-stick, and completely removable. The wall murals have a primer that acts as a shield between the mural and the paint or existing wallpaper protecting the original wall.
Another great way to bring a fresh new look to your walls—and relieve your floors of some undue book weight—is to use floating shelves. They are “L”-shaped metal pieces that attach to your wall and disappear when stacked with books. I recently picked up some of these on a whim while at The Container Store. They were only $10 a piece, so I bought two and ended up using them in the kitchen to store cookbooks. They are a stylish and inexpensive way to re-invent book storage and help battle the never-ending clutter problem.
Now, let’s discuss the floor. Look at yours. Okay, so it needs a cleaning, but other than that, do you really love it? Is it all that it can be? I’m guessing it could use some sprucing. The power of a rug is something almost unbelievable even to me. Merely laying a piece of thick, patterned 3" x 5" material on the floor can enhance nearly any space, cover any stain or blemish, and create a personality for a room. Visit your local Target, or Urban Outfitters again, and check out their rugs. Let your imagination run wild, and try using a rug to delineate a specific area in your house or apartment. Whether it’s a reading space, conversation space, sleeping space, or eating space—just by using a rug to anchor it, you can guide the action to that area and suggest an activity—without dropping too much coin.
Alright. We’ve covered the walls and the floor. Now, like stylish people everywhere, we should accessorize. The key to accessorizing a place with a fresh, vibrant approach is your imagination. I find that the best trinkets, coasters, bowls, and tablecloths can be found at garage sales and thrift stores. Look for flower vases or plates to hang on a wall or use as coin dishes. Find old lamps that you can refresh with a new lampshade or a coat of paint. You might even happen upon material you can use as window coverings or sew into pillow covers. That would be a lucky day.
With a positive attitude, a head full of ideas, and a free weekend, you can toss out the winter blues and welcome sunny days to your living space. Use the links below to get ideas and get started!
Assorted home accessories
Photo: “Waterfall in Spring” wall mural from walldecorshops.com