If you ever see my house in a complete mess or, heaven forbid, unclean then you'll probably see me in the middle of a nervous breakdown.
For me, a clean house is intrinsically linked to feeling happy. And if it's ever in a mild state of untidy or unclean, my anxiety levels start to rocket.
You see, unlike normal people I actually enjoy cleaning, tidying and organising (lucky husband eh?!)
Apparently, I’m not alone. According to new research of 2,000 adults, National Spring Cleaning Week found that those who have a clean and tidy home not only admit to feeling more productive (45%) but have also stated that they feel psychologically better (48%).
So when spring comes I revel in the fact that it's acceptable to stay in because ‘I'm having a spring clean' – an excuse that I can't use for the rest of the year!
And I enjoy taking it one step further by updating a few bits and pieces around my home with lighter, brighter colours.
No, I’m not talking the full on redecoration – that would be far too expensive!
I’m talking swapping heavy tog duvets for lighter blankets, stowing away most of the candles and, my favourite tip, swapping decorative items and accessories to revamp a room and give it a new lease of life.
It’s a good idea to have a neutral background in a room and then just update your accessories or furniture depending on the season.
I have lived by this theory for a number of years now and it’s never let me down.
So here are a few of my favourite tips and tricks that I’ve used to take my home from cosy to cool this year.
Swap candles for diffusers
If you’re familiar with my blog you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of a burning flame, but sometimes they’re just too much for the warmer months, except if you’re dining al fresco of course.
So instead of burning candles indoors, I swap them for diffusers. This way, my home still smells great when guests come round without a hint of a candle in sight.
The one I’ve gone for this year is Beauticology’s Strawberry and Pomegranate diffuser (£15), which I proudly display in the hallway on top of the radiator cover.
It offers the perfect dose of freshness to greet guests as they walk through the front door.
Update duvets & designs
They say that the suggested bedroom temperature to fall asleep should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, so when the nights start warming up, you might want to swap heavy togs duvets for lighter ones – or even use blankets.
Also have a think about swapping your duvet cover for a lighter, brighter design, which will instantly ‘lift’ the room.
If you’d like your duvet cover to take you through all seasons, opt for a plain white design. In winter you can layer it with heavier blankets and in summer, just remove them.
Opt for healthier alternatives
When I think of spring and summer my thoughts turn to the great fruits that the supermarkets start promoting; I’m talking pineapples, strawberries, kiwis and mangos to name just a few.
And I don’t know about you, but even though some of these fruits are available year-round, I start craving tropical fruit as the weather warms up.
There’s also the appeal of buying more citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes to add to creative cocktails in the garden.
And what better way to display my renewed interest in tasty fruit (and to encourage the family to eat healthier), than to display them in a nice new fruit bowl?
This spring I’ve opted for this wired bowl, which I’m displaying in the kitchen (the hub of our home) to encourage the family to reach for some sweet, juicy fruit when they’re feeling a bit peckish.
As you can see by the ‘before' and ‘after' pictures, I didn't have enough room in my wire wall frame to put all my fruit, but the huge fruit bowl has meant that everything has a home – and I can now use my wire wall frame to display my favourite knick-knacks!
Plump it up
One of the quickest ways of updating the look and feel of a room is by changing cushions – or having a selection of different covers depending on the season (or your mood!).
It's such a simple thing to do that offers great impact on the overall feel of a room.
Having recently updated my office decor (to a slate grey and fushia pink combo), I was looking to add even more colour to make the room really sparkle.
The obvious place to do this was on my new grey sofa by adding some pretty pink additions.
They really make the room pop and help tie together the look I'm going for.
Vamp it up with a vase
There's little better to cheer up a room than by displaying your favourite blooms.
You can start emulating the colours that emerge in gardens indoors by showcasing daffodils, tulips and chrysanthemums (or whatever you fancy) in pretty vases.
I've opted for two new vases – one for my lounge and one for the kitchen.
In the kitchen I'm displaying this colourful bouquet of flowers in this gorgeous new vase, with hues of pastel pink to complement my pale blue colour scheme.
And my lounge has been updated with this green vase to tie in with my green and brown colour scheme, alongside a bird ornament and another vase that holds pot pourri balls – again with different shades of green to bring consistency to the look.
If you're not a flower fan then consider displaying a selection of nice houseplants; you can get different foliage and a variety of colours to tie in with your current scheme.
You really don’t have to blow the budget on redecorating the whole room – just a few subtle changes are enough to offer a spring vibe.
The devil’s in the detail
Finally, take a look around your rooms and, with a critical eye, try to see what items can be swapped to lighten and brighten the space.
You might opt to put away a winter blanket that has been draped over a sofa; swap heavy lined curtains for lighter fabrics or update (or getting rid of) a rug.
You might even look to add something to a plain surface; sprucing up for spring isn’t always about hiding things away.
For example, in my dining room I had nothing on my radiator cover and it looked a bit stark.
So I’ve updated the looks with this gorgeous (and very unique) Emery Cut Glass Cup Table Light.
Its bold design means that it becomes a statement piece – and a great conversation starter while guests are sat at the dining room table.
So far I've had a few people asking where it came from (it's right here if you're interested!)
Spring cleaning tips & tricks
I have a general routine that I follow when I spring clean and I have a list so that I get a huge sense of achievement when I cross things off – try it, it’s quite therapeutic!
My top tip is not to set your sights too high. Aiming to clear, organise and clean four rooms in the space of a day is just setting yourself up for failure.
Be realistic: if you’ve got a whole house to get through, spread your spring clean over the space of a week. It’s better to concentrate on one or two rooms a day and do them thoroughly rather than rush through and end up missing bits.
Here’s my room-by-room guide: (Note that I spend time before I organise and clean tidying up! It’s pointless trying to clean around mess – what’s that they say about doggy you-know-what and glitter?)
Also note that I start off high (i.e. the ceiling!) and work my way down in rooms.
In all rooms I…
- Clean ceiling lights/vac away any dust cobwebs on ceiling/walls
- Grab my magic eraser and clean any visible fingerprints/scuffs/marks off walls
- Dust then polish any surfaces
- Clean windows/mirrors with newspaper and white vinegar in water
- Vacuum all over (even the walls as dust clings there too!)
In the bedroom (in addition to the above), I…
- Change the bed sheets and update the duvet and its design
- Fold and store winter clothes in huge bags to put into the loft (and replace them with summer clothes, sandals and accessories)
In the lounge and home office I’ll …
- The rooms will get a top-to-toe clean
- I update accessories or homeware that are old or that are better suited to the cooler months (such as the heavy blankets on the sofa) and the plethora of candles!
- I also update the cushions or cushion covers
- And when I remember to do so, I’ll buy fresh flowers to brighten the whole room up (particularly when we’re expecting guests!)
In the bathroom…
- I’ll clean the sink, loo, bath and shower as well as the floor.
- And in the downstairs cloakroom I’ll make sure that I put a toilet block in the back of the cistern.
- To curb any smells, I also swap the candle I keep in there for a sweet smelling diffuser.
In the kitchen…
- I pay special attention to my kitchen as it’s the most used room in the house. Not only do I clean the ceiling lights, walls, floors and windows, I’ll also clean my washing machine (using special tablets), dishwasher, fridge and oven.
- On top of that, I go through all the cupboards throwing out any food that is past its use-by date plus clean the fridge/freezer too.
Here’s a picture of some of my favourite go-to items for a good old clear out…If you're wondering about the WD-40 – it's AMAZING on stainless steel! I use the Orange Glo to polish wood (it leaves a great scent), but it's only available in the USA sadly.
Steal my style!
Here are just some of the accessories that I’ve used to update my home for spring this year:
Vase on radiator cover in lounge (£4.90)
Bird on radiator in lounge from Dunelm-Mill last year for about £3
Pink cushions in home office £16 each
Mix It Up sign in kitchen – purchased from BHS in its closing down sale.
Tea chest in kitchen – purchased on holiday in France for about £12.
*Debenhams kindly helped update my home for spring, allowing me to choose new accessories from its vast range of options!