Ask the Expert | The Times

  • Advice
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  • Inspiration
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  • Spring Clean
  • Transformation

Sara’s latest ‘Ask the Expert’ column in The Sunday Times this month was all about brightening up your home for Spring…

Q. Now that spring is arriving, do you have any tips on brightening up my house?

Spring is a great time to reset and recharge your home. Even small steps can make a huge difference, so it is less about investing money and more about investing time. I would take a multilayered approach.

To start, nothing can beat a deep clean and declutter. I break down the tasks room by room, sometimes just sorting through the books and papers piled up, or moving toys into matching storage boxes. This can start to create order quickly.

The benefits of a feather duster cannot be underestimated and it makes dusting ceiling corners, light fixtures and architraves and windows much easier. You can buy one for as little as €7.49 at Woodies. Wiping down and vacuuming skirting boards will also lift your spaces.

You don’t have to give your home a complete overhaul. Simply changing some elements of your scheme, such as adding a new rug and cushions, will refresh the interiors instantly.

The power of paint to transform a space is obvious. Vibrant colours are popular at the moment, and Colourtrend, the Irish paint company, and Farrow & Ball have added to their collections. If you would like to be braver with bright colours but are unsure where to start, try a feature wall or, if you have alcoves either side of a fireplace, use them to flex your colour muscles.

Unruly shelves can be brought into line by creating collections of items such as photo frames, decorative objects and books. By arranging them in pairs or groups of three you create balance. If you have bookshelves, match up all the spine colours and colour code your books.

Another trick is using mirrors to increase light and brightness in a space. Large mirrors placed opposite windows can enhance rooms with limited light.

Finally, house plants really can lift the spirits, especially at this time of year when the weather can hamper our efforts to spend time outdoors. Low-maintenance options such as aloes, peace lilies and asparagus fern bring freshness to an interior, while seasonal flowers — cut or in pots — such as daffodils, hyacinths and orchids, bring vibrancy and brightness.

You can read Sara’s column every month in the print and online edition of The Times.

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