Spring-fresh homes

Connock London Scented Candle, a sensual blend of Hawaiian flowers including Gardenia and Jasmine blend.
Connock London Scented Candle, a sensual blend of Hawaiian flowers including Gardenia and Jasmine blend.

WE’RE finally leaving winter behind, yet our homes can look as though they’re still suffering from its effects. Thankfully, a few changes, small but significant, can spruce things up.

“First go outside, then walk back through your front door with fresh eyes to identify things that could be tidier or more cheerful,” advises Amanda Fox, creative director of homeware and gift specialists, The Handpicked Collection.

Undated Handout Photo of round white finial, two pack, �3; fleur de lis style, Hogtidlig finial, two pack, �6; Blast finial, black, two pack, �5, Ikea. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

Undated Handout Photo of round white finial, two pack, �3; fleur de lis style, Hogtidlig finial, two pack, �6; Blast finial, black, two pack, �5, Ikea. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

“Have fun by investing in a set of colourful pegs for hanging coats, or identify something you can paint a bright colour.

“Do you fancy bright yellow banisters or perhaps an emerald green door frame? If it’s a small job, you’ll probably only need a few tester pots, rather than a whole litre can of paint.”

It’s all too easy to get used to cluttered surfaces, especially in the kitchen, so she suggests making a clean sweep and storing away all but the essentials and allowing attractive items, like quirky mismatched crockery or sleek designer gadgets, to star.

Take a similar approach in living areas, by collecting decorative items in one place, deciding which work well together, and then redistributing them in different arrangements throughout the house.

Undated Handout Photo of Tie back made from left over fabrics from Ikea. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

Undated Handout Photo of Tie back made from left over fabrics from Ikea. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

“Try to mix-match heights, sizes, textures and colours to make them visually appealing and they’ll look new and different,” says Fox.

“Similarly, take down pictures and try each one in a different position. You’ll be surprised how fresh existing artworks can look with different light on them and a change of surrounding environment.”

Finally, plump up sofa cushions, fling windows wide open for at least 30 minutes a day, and drape a colourful cloth over a table and make fruit a centrepiece.

“A glass vase filled with zesty, colourful lemons and limes whose aroma will scent the room is a stylist’s favourite trick,” she says.

Undated Handout Photo of fusion glass stairset, prices start from �600, Richard Burbidge. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

Undated Handout Photo of fusion glass stairset, prices start from �600, Richard Burbidge. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

“Most of these changes won’t cost a thing but they’ll have the effect of putting a spring in your step every time you go indoors!”

So in time for March 20 and the arrival of the new season, check out the experts’ suggestions for spring room projects.

Stairs can be taken for granted when it comes to redecorating and may merely get routinely repainted.

Yet a complete replacement staircase, or even simply replacing the spindles, stair baluster and newel posts, can be hugely effective and transform a hallway.

Undated Handout Photo of Skurar plant pot, in off white, �2, Ikea. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

Undated Handout Photo of Skurar plant pot, in off white, �2, Ikea. See PA Feature INTERIORS Changes. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Changes.

Sitting in a comfy chair basking in glorious spring sunshine pouring through an adjacent window is an easy way to relax.

“Rejuvenate your window space with textiles, plants, vases and lamps, then pull up a chair, have a good book handy and you’ve got your very own sunshine haven,” says Aisha Gibson at Ikea.

“Sheer curtains allow sunlight to filter evenly through a room, and if you add layers of textiles in different patterns and materials you can give your space a textured, layered look.

“Like jewellery, curtain finials complete your window dressing and make it even more elegant, playful and personal. The best part is that you can easily change them whenever you feel you want some variation.

“Make your own tassel with a length of leftover fabric. Fold it, cut into strips, then roll and bind with decorative ribbon and use the ribbon to act as a tie back.”

Family occasions are great photo opportunities but it’s a visual opportunity lost if they later languish on laptops.

Producing a collage of photos or a themed selection in compartmentalised picture frames is a brilliant way to display them and keep memories fresh.

Create a gallery on one wall with a group of frames, maybe interspersed with favourite posters, and you’ll have a talking point in any room.

Easter’s on the horizon and celebration meals or informal gatherings will be on the calendar.

“Springtime is all about giving interiors an uplift,” says Claire Hornby, interior stylist at Barker & Stonehouse.

“Breathe new life into a jaded dining area by introducing a few key accessories in bold, zesty colours.

“Update your look with brightly upholstered chairs or new chair cushions, and a statement rug to zone the area.

“Pot plants hung on hooks, and vases of cut flowers, will add vital touches of greenery.”

Alternatively, recreate informal al fresco dining in a kitchen or conservatory with a simple bistro-style table and chair set. Use seat pads for comfort, keep styling simple and display freshly picked garden foliage in pots or containers like jam jars or milk bottles.

Just the scent of a warm, spring day can lift spirits. Even if the weather doesn’t co-operate, evoke the atmosphere with fragranced candles conjuring smells of cut grass or flowers.

“Treat yourself to a really good scented candle and burn it for 10 minutes each day to fill the room with floral, fresh fragrances,” says Amanda Fox.

“It’ll last for months if you’re frugal with it, making the treat perfectly justifiable. Also, cut up bars of fragranced soap, popped into drawers and linen cupboards, will make bedding and clothes smell sweet.”

It can be depressing staring out at garden furniture that’s been battered by downpours and winter frost.

Instead of buying new, give it a revamp. Choose a dry day to repaint chairs and the table.

If necessary, rub down with coarse sandpaper or a wire brush to remove any flakes or rust. Wash the table and chairs thoroughly with hot, soapy water to remove dirt and grease. Rinse well with clean water and allow to dry.

Spread newspaper in a well-ventilated area or preferably outside. Apply two or three fine coats of PlastiKote Outdoor satin spray paint in the colour of your choice, allowing 10-15 minutes between each coat. The furniture will be touch-dry in 30-50 minutes and thoroughly dry in two to three hours.