For­get spring ‘clean­ing’— in­stead, go for a lit­tle spring dec­o­rat­ing

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Residences South - Christine Brun

Spring is here, so let’s ex­am­ine five in­ex­pen­sive things that you might do to cel­e­brate the new sea­son. All of these ideas take up very lit­tle room, and all are affordable.

An old Chinese adage ad­vises that if you have merely two pen­nies left in the world, use one to buy bread, the other to buy a flower.

We surely can all use a small dose of cheer.

For your front door, make or buy a wreath that cel­e­brates the col­ors of the sea­son (you might, of course, have to pre­tend that you live up North): yel­low, pink, laven­der, blue and pur­ple.

When you buy or make an ar­ti­fi­cial wreath, look for greens that are made of plas­tic.

Be­fore you shud­der, know that the tech­nol­ogy of ar­ti­fi­cial plants has ad­vanced to the point that the plant ma­te­ri­als and blos­soms look very re­al­is­tic.

You don’t need rib­bons or bows, be­cause you want this adorn­ment to look as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble — as though you cut flow­ers from your own back yard and stuck them into the wreath.

You might be­gin with an affordable grapevine wreath from your lo­cal crafts store, and a silk ivy plant. Ar­ti­fi­cial blos­soms can be cut with wire snips and in­serted into the twisted vines.

If you have more money to spend, con­sider a “liv­ing” suc­cu­lent wreath, avail­able at lo­cal nurs­eries.

These have less sea­sonal color, but they should last year-round.

Treat your­self to a new front door­mat.

I ad­vise you to stay away from cute say­ings and ob­vi­ously fake-look­ing en­try mats with painted pic­tures of fairies or kit­tens.

In­stead, make a grown-up state­ment about who lives be­yond the en­try door.

Look for solid col­ors, and know that there are dozens of prac­ti­cal­ma­te­ri­als to se­lect from, in­clud­ing rugs that can be hosed off.

Some of these have pat­terns and tex­tures that mimic in­te­rior rugs. Don’t be skimpy with the size, be­cause a tiny door­mat on a large porch looks re­ally silly.

String some twin­kle lights along the fence or around the eaves on the porch.

I have clear lights looped along my side fence, which is vis­i­ble each night from the kitchen door.

This can in­tro­duce a lit­tle dreamy qual­ity to a bal­cony, pa­tio or porch area.

Look also for lit­tle Chinese lanterns or other types of or­na­men­tal lightemit­ting diode (LED) lights, which are of­ten sold at home-im­prove­ment stores, Big Lots, Tues­day Morn­ing or T.J.Maxx.

Buy a few bloom­ing bulb plants for your win­dowsills or gar­den win­dows.

Choose pots of yel­low minia­ture daf­fodils at the su­per­mar­ket or home cen­ter.

Slip the plas­tic pots “as is” right into the slightly larger, match­ing dec­o­ra­tive bas­kets.

You might also in­sert the bulbs into wa­ter pitch­ers or small ce­ramic pots.

Choose young plants for longer en­joy­ment as they grow.

Pick up fresh pots ev­ery few weeks to sus­tain a con­tin­u­ing spring­time show.

You can look for hy­acinths if you pre­fer blue. Freesia is a fa­vorite of mine be­cause the de­li­cious fra­grance of this African na­tive ex­ceeds earthy ex­pec­ta­tions. It is like an aro­matic va­ca­tion.

Wash your win­dows. This costs you nearly noth­ing. I use warm wa­ter, white dis­tilled vine­gar and crum­pled news­pa­pers for the quick­est and best re­sults. You will not be­lieve how lovely the in­side of your rooms look when you sim­ply clean the win­dows and screens.

Look around your rooms and pick up the scat­tered “stuff” like mag­a­zines, old mail, pho­tos or cloth­ing that needs a but­ton or a seam mended. You will not spend money and can cre­ate ex­tra space in any room by re­or­ga­niz­ing and clean­ing up. En­gage the en­tire fam­ily.

Christine Brun is a Cre­ colum­nist.

For easy affordable spring color, choose pots of yel­low minia­ture daf­fodils at the su­per­mar­ket or home cen­ter.

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