It’s spring! Trees are budding, kids are playing outside, and everything seems fresh and new. Except your apartment, where the gloom of the winter seems to be lingering on? Spring cleaning has long been a tradition for many people – scrubbing all the baseboards and insides of cupboards to make everything feel ready for the new season. I don’t know about you, but the thought of deep-cleaning every surface in my home doesn’t make me jump for joy. I’d rather focus my efforts on a few effective ways to spruce things up without all the sponges.
Here are a few of my favorite tried and true ways to put in an hour (or maybe a few) and really make my space feel fresh, give it a new life, and be more ready for spring! Try just one, or do them all for a seriously springy feel. They are all very low or even no cost, which is great as you save up for a nice summer vacay…
I can’t say this one enough. Sometimes the only thing between your space and the magazine-ready look is just the piles of stuff on every surface. I have been learning a lot about minimalism lately, and could write a whole series on decluttering, but the basic concept is to start in one room and work toward two goals:
- Get rid of things that are not bringing value to your life.
- Everything should have a home.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it can be an emotional process, but maybe get a friend to help, or employ a rule that says if you haven’t used it in 90 days, and won’t use it in the next 90, you can get rid of it. Find a system that works for you. And for the things you keep, make sure they have a home that is practical for you. Easy to access if you use it a lot. Easy to get in and out so you actually will put it away when you’re done.
Decluttering alone is a great way to spruce up your space. So feel free to stop here, or move on to more ideas.
2. Move your furniture
You can turn your space into a whole new experience simply by shifting what you have. Try your bed against a different wall, or maybe even “floating” in the middle of the room! Move the couch to face a new direction and see how that changes how you walk through your home. You can grab a patient friend to help you lug things all over and see what works best. Or you can use one of the neat online tools that let you input the size of your space and your furniture, then arrange it digitally to find a great new look.
3. Wash windows and light fixtures
Okay, this one involves scrubbing. But it’s SO worth it. Light is such a powerful force – sunlight in the morning helps us feel more awake and energetic. Good lighting makes our things look brighter and more colorful, makes food look more flavorful, and has even been shown to make people more productive!
This can all be true of light from outside as well as the light from your lamps and light fixtures. I recommend starting with the windows. Wash the insides (easy) and, if you can reach them very safely, the outsides too. Then if you still feel motivated, go ahead and wash the light bulbs (yep! Be gentle, but get that dust off of there) and shades or fixtures around your lights. For fabrics, a gentle vacuum does well. For glass or plastic covers, you can wipe clean with your standard glass cleaner. For windows and lights, I recommend this cheap, easy, environmentally-friendly glass cleaner you can make at home.
4. Change the pillows or rug
For a more serious commitment to something new, don’t feel like you have to get all new furniture. Instead, try out some new colorful or patterned throw pillows, or get a vibrant rug. These small items cost much less than a new couch or bed, but can really change up the feel of a space.
5. Get some plants
Spring is all about new growth and life sprouting up outside. So bring some of that life in! A few green plants can make a space feel much more alive, and can be helpful to bring feelings of calm and better indoor air quality. Be sure to choose plants that will work well in your space – if you don’t get much light, for example, you could try bamboo or peace lilies. If you’re terrible about remembering to water, hearty succulents might be your style.
Paint is my favorite way to bring a whole new look to a space. If you are allowed to paint the walls of your home, enough paint for a room will only set you back $30-$100, and can let you really express yourself. Green is known to be calming. Orange hues bring energy to a space. Pick a color or few and have some fun! For an even lower time and cost commitment, paint just one “accent” wall.
Even if you aren’t allowed to paint walls, you can always add a splash of color by painting a piece of your furniture, some wall shelves, or other small “pops” of color in your space.
Making your home feel fun and fresh doesn’t have to be a huge investment – of your time or your money. Try out a couple of these tips, or let us know your favorite way to quickly spruce up your space in the comments below!