Cozy Ways to Enjoy a Spring Break Staycation

A staycation is the perfect opportunity to give your bedroom, living room, or wardrobe a little DIY love. An added perk to getting crafty: The rhythmic, repetitive motions of these activities can give you a mental vacation, putting you into a state of “flow,” where you become so immersed in what you’re doing that you lose all track of time. So put down the phone, and pick up a needle and thread.

Macramé. When The Wall Street Journal recently asked 11 interior design pros about trends for 2014, macramé, which was beloved in the 1970s, was on the list. The trend is now more hipster than crunchy granola, and crafters are using unexpected scale, materials, colors, and shapes to make lampshades, wall art, plant hangers, rugs, and more.

Knitting and crocheting. The current trend is to go big with chunky, oversized stitches, using large needles. Or take a turn at the latest fad, arm knitting. This is a technique in which you use your hands and arms instead of knitting needles. The greatest thing about this method? You can make a comfy cowl or scarf in less than an hour. (It’s easy to find online videos to walk you through the steps.)

Quilting. Whether you’re interested in making a quilt for the foot of your bed or a tablecloth for your dining room, the art of quilting has gone modern, featuring bold colors and geometric shapes. You can find lots of tips and techniques online. 

Needlepoint and embroidery. Maybe Grandma had it right. Needlepoint and embroidery are popping up in unexpected places, gracing the runways on purses, shoes, and dresses from top-notch designers. You can take the DIY approach and stitch your own purse, pillow, or belt. Look for a kit or canvas that lets you make a dramatic tapestry-like or arty design.

Say Hello to Spring

Now that spring is upon us, it’s time to shed the winter blahs and perk up your home and your outlook on life. Fortunately, there are easy ways to brighten your environment and your state of mind simultaneously. The trick is to harness the powers of sense- and scent-appeal! Read on to learn how.

Use the power of flowers. Place a vase of yellow daffodils, forsythia, or tulips in a prominent spot in your house, like the kitchen table, your desk, or the front hallway. The sunny color, according to experts, can help foster optimism, hope, and good cheer. Bring it on!  

Spring clean walls and windowsills. Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to remove dust from your walls and window ledges, then remove fingerprints and dulling grime with a multi-surface liquid cleaner that has a fresh, ready-for-spring scent.

Let the light shine in. Research suggests that bright light has a positive effect on mood, so throw open the curtains and raise the blinds to let the natural light pour into your home. Not only will this make for a happier, brighter space, it may well do the same for your spirits.

Give dust bunnies the boot. Clear bookshelves and coffee tables and dust the surfaces (and your books). Ditto for ceiling-fan blades, lamps, and any other decorative accessories. After that, take your sofa cushions outside and beat them by hand (or with a clean broom) to remove any dust and crumbs, then refresh the fabric with a freshening spray.

Create a fruit centerpiece. A beautiful bowl of apricots or oranges will remind you that warmer weather and healthy treats from Mother Nature will soon be coming on strong. Some other seasonal options to consider: mangoes, pineapples, or star fruit, all of which promise to tempt your eyes as well as your taste buds.

Lighten up your bed. Swap out your flannel sheets, wool coverlets, and extra-heavy down comforters for cotton sheets and medium-weight blankets. As you’re tidying up the rest of the room, wash linens with a detergent that has a light, delightful scent to help welcome spring. Do the same for your pillows—and you’ll set the stage for sweet, happy dreams. 

Have a Spring Fling—for All Your Senses!

 

Focus on Spring Colors

 

Bring the outside in with fresh flowers from your yard or a local florist shop. Daffodils are often the first blooms of the season!

 

 

Smell: Embrace the Scent of Spring

 

There’s no question that fresh fragrances conjure up good moods. An easy way to tickle your olfactory nerves: Infuse all your laundry loads with scents of spring.

 

 

Sound: Listen to the Early Birds

 

There’s that sweet spot in the early morning when the world is still quiet. No kids, no Internet, no honking cars. That’s the time to throw open a window and take in the sounds of calm.

 

 

Taste: Eat Green!

 

Heavy stews and spicy chili are so last season. Now’s when we tend to lighten up: Create a spring salad or pasta primavera using market-fresh veggies, and wash it down with iced tea instead of hot. And it goes without saying—if the weather is mild enough to eat outdoors, dine al fresco.

 

 

Touch: Make Your Bed an Oasis

 

You’ve pulled out your cotton sheets and lighter blankets—now make them silky soft by adding fabric softener to your wash cycle. Your skin will thank you!

 

 

Four Ways to Freshen Up Your Home

It’s the time of year that we really start to crave those long, sunny days, a garden bright with blooms, and gentle breezes permeating the house. Why not hurry up your springtime? Here are four simple household refreshers that will kick-start that much-needed transition from dreary winter to glorious spring.

1. Brighten up.
Introduce bright colors and warm-weather floral patterns to a living room or bedroom with new throw pillows or area rugs, or try out a different window treatment, such as sheer curtains, that will allow for more natural light.

2. Flora and fauna.
Don’t wait for the annuals to bloom; embellish your house with natural beauty. Fill a glass or ceramic bowl with lemons and leave them on your kitchen counter. Go to the local nursery and buy bulbs to force in pots indoors—imagine the fragrance of hyacinths in a couple of weeks’ time. Cut some forsythia sprays or apple, pear, cherry, or plum branches off of your trees in the backyard, stick them in a tall vase of warm water, let them transition first in a cool area, and then watch them bloom spring in your living room.

3. Fresh scents.
The windows have been closed for months and you can’t wait to air out the house. There’s an alternative way to refresh your house while the mercury is still low. Start by selecting an air freshener, which come in a variety of amazing scents. Now gather up all of your spring cleaning—bed linens, towels, bath mats, slipcovers, throws, and rugs—and wash them with liquid laundry detergent and a fabric softener of your fragrance choice. Then dry them with dryer sheets or dryer bars of the same scent. You can even enhance your fragrance with a scent booster that will allow that heavenly aroma to linger longer.

4. Color your world. 
Want to experiment with a new wall color in your house, but feeling just a little fearful? Take a tip from interior decorators: Play out a new palette in the guest bedroom this weekend. Because guest rooms tend not to be in daily use, decorators will tell you they’re a great place to be more adventurous with color. Let springtime inspire you.