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Brighten every room Go ahead -- think spring! It's still a little chilly out, but you can warm up the inside of your home with color and creativity

Even though snow flurries flew this week and some homeowners still have holiday wreaths hanging on their doors (tsk, tsk), a new season is on many people's minds. And with those warm thoughts, for many, comes a desire to think spring at home.

"The first thing I do is add yellow," said Elaine Friedhaber, a community volunteer and former floral designer.

"On St. Patrick's Day, I bought two big bunches of daffodils. Yellow is not my color, but it is spring to me," she said.

This time of year, she also pulls out a two-piece ceramic egg her aunt made in 1970 and fills it with jelly beans.

"And a third thing I do is have a pedicure. I had it yesterday. A pedicure is spring to me," Friedhaber said, venturing beyond the topic of decor.

And she's not alone.

As writer Marian McEvoy declares in the April issue of Domino magazine: "Enough with the earmuffs, the clunking radiators and the leafless trees! Before the first daffodil starts its showy climb, I celebrate spring with a top-to-bottom house transformation."

McEvoy, like others, is all for sprucing up a home's interior -- decluttering, spring cleaning (the subject of a Weekend Life story coming Sunday) and changing decorative accessories to better reflect the warm-weather months ahead.

Even if you are not quite ready to retire your flannel sheets or down comforters, now is a good time to bring touches of spring indoors -- before gardening chores and golf games beckon.

Is your shower curtain looking weary? Replace it with something fresh and new, maybe adding a few coordinating accessories as well. If your bath is neutral, you can really have some fun with color.

Tired of looking at those heavy, dark draperies? Send them off to the cleaners and go with some sheers for the warm months ahead.

Kids' room need a pickup? Butterflies are showing up on all sorts of decor this spring -- from bedding and lamps to mobiles and Wallies, those prepasted vinyl-coated paper cutouts you attach to walls to brighten things up on a budget.

And that is just the beginning.

Here are some other ideas for adding splashes of spring to every room of the house:

*In the kitchen: Fill a ceramic pitcher or vase with tulips. Hang a framed colorful poster. Invest in colorful sink accessories, apron, towels or a cutting board. Clear off the counter tops of appliances you may not use as much once warm weather arrives (slow-cookers, for example).

*In the guest bath: For not much money, you can invest in new fingertip towels in colorful hues or with designs that range from the rich to the whimsical. Designs include embroidered or appliqued flowers; tropical birds; colorful fish; elegant monograms . . . it's all out there. Paper guest towels you'll want to nestle in a pretty basket also come in bright, seasonal patterns.

A guest bath can also be a fun place to hang some of your child's colorful art work; acrylic frames can help keep framing costs down.

*In the dining room: File away the burgundy table runner and switch to pale or white table linens. Eye-catching color is another option. The House Beautiful Home Collection (a line launched by the Hearst magazine and the May Department Stores, including Kaufmann's) offers table linens in irresistible colors, while graphic black and white designs at many local stores put a fashion spin on home decor. At Target, Isaac Mizrahi serves up black and white dinnerware and table linens, for example.

Another idea: This one from Martha Stewart Living. Dress up the sides of a solid-toned tablecloth with fabric flowers. The one featured in the "Good Things" section of the March issue shows a coral cloth embellished with coordinating roses, ranunculus and mums that have been fitted with mini magnets for easy removal.

Simply adhere the magnets to the backs of the flowers (just above their raised centers) with fabric glue. To secure, place a second magnet on the reverse side of the cloth. Tip from the magazine: The larger the flower, the farther off-center the magnet must be.)

*In the living room or den: Those somber toss pillows and weighty sofa throws have to go. While not every homeowner has the desire, storage space or budget to rotate pillows seasonally, it can make a difference. Creative types can make their own -- perhaps adding some decorative cording to the borders. For fabric, consider stripes, checks, florals, graphics.

And don't be afraid to mix things up.

Tip from Cottage Living: Stripes and florals of all shapes and sizes work together if they share the same background color.

Also consider replacing heavy-looking vases and candlesticks with lighter ones you already own -- going for glass or crystal instead of brass, for example.

A final idea from McEvoy: Once you stop using the fireplace for the season, disguise the empty black hole.

"Cover it with a low screen, or park some framed artwork in front," she writes.

But she's not so keen on filling the space with a plant or flower arrangement.

"Shoving leaves and flowers into a charred cave is a nasty idea," she writes.

Your call.

Oh, and when you are finally removing that holiday wreath from your front door, take the opportunity to pick up any flyers or bagged newspapers from your front entrance. And clean and polish the light fixtures.

See, things are looking brighter already.


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