TORONTO - With the arrival of spring comes the ritual of seasonal cleaning and the urge by many to refresh their interiors, front porches and backyards.
Design experts share tips on changes Canadians can make to spice up their spaces.
"We've had such a long winter, and everybody's ready for some colour," said Erin McLaughlin, editor-in-chief at Style at Home magazine.
McLaughlin said they're seeing bright splashes of colour, such as a gallery of inexpensive prints in vibrant hues.
Yellow is the standout shade for spring and pairs well with grey or black.
"It could be an enamel lampshade; it could be that you're taking an old chandelier and spray-painting it bright, bright yellow," she said. "It's really a hot look right now."
For those timid about embracing colour, McLaughlin suggested creating a focal point with an accent chair.
"It could be anything from a little art deco upholstered piece that just has a very pretty silhouette, to an armchair with a new slipcover on it."
She also suggested teaming a favourite hue with complementary colours, like dark and pale blues paired with a fresh green or yellow accent.
McLaughlin recommended homeowners consider painting the front door in a high-gloss colour and updating hardware with brass accents.
"When you go to Europe, colourful doors are the norm. It adds personality ... creating a focal point on your home — especially if your home doesn't have great curb appeal."
Ottawa-based interior designer and Rona expert Ulya Jensen said individuals should go beyond minimalist approaches in colour use.
"We've always said, 'Just do a cushion here or there.' But doing a new area rug with that nice bright colour scheme that you want to incorporate into your space, that's really going to have some bold impact."
LIGHT IT UP
There is no shortage of illuminating options which fuse style with function.
Among fresh alternatives are colour-changing LED lights, rechargeable LED cubes and a wireless vase with programmable remote available in a variety of hues.
The vase can be transformed into storage for chilled beverages, Jensen noted.
"It's functional because you can use it as an ice bucket or a planter, but it's also a piece of art.
"We're lighting up from the ground up instead of the ceiling down. So it really helps to layer beautiful light for your space."
Jensen said LED cubes can double as side tables. To add a taste of country chic, place a lamp with a reclaimed base and white shade atop the modern cube.
LED lights can also be housed within a hurricane glass. "That would look so neat as a centrepiece on a table," said Jensen.
Homeowners missing the glow of festive lighting can put retro string lights with exposed filament bulbs under an outdoor umbrella or clustered along a fence.
Jensen said there's also a trend toward tabletop fireplaces, from gel fuel versions to coffee table built-ins.
HomeSense spokeswoman Hilary Smyth said florals are showing up large-scale on everything from rugs and artwork to tabletop accessories and cushions.
"The key to florals this season is to go bright and bold and pair them with graphic black-and-white stripes or polka dots."
Smyth said block-printed textiles are a decorator favourite, and there are plenty of options for spring with bedding, throw cushions, draperies and placemats in a pretty palette of turquoise, pink, purple and orange. Geometrics will also make an impact with circles, squares, diamonds and triangle shapes printed on textiles.
Smyth said safari influences will also be strong, with striking black-and-white images of lions, elephants and zebras. Tropical colours will add punch.
"Watch out for zebra print rugs in bright hues of yellow and green."
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