Here are the 5 P’s of perfect home updates as we ring in a new season
By Margot Black
If there’s one thing Angelenos have in common in the early 2020s, it’s spending more time than we ever thought possible in our home environments. Due to the monotony of the local lockdowns, you may find yourself looking around your home and no longer feeling inspired or even satisfied. With spring just around the corner, there’s no better time to update your living space and fall in love with your home all over again.
Refreshing our at-home surroundings to make it feel new or different can positively influence our mental health by boosting productivity and cultivating a calmer environment.
To get your spring to-do list organized so you can tackle your home refresh, follow the 5 P’s—purge, paint, plant, purchase and present – and you’ll feel like spring has sprung.
Transforming a room that you’re all too used to into a space that feels new will be impossible unless you purge first. Getting rid of things you don’t love and that you’re not using will make it so much easier to organize your space. “You don’t need to buy anything to begin organizing your home since everything you need to do the job is already there,” counsels Laura Ellis, a certified professional organizer and owner of Organized by Ellis.“Post-it notes, markers and garbage bags can help you label and sort where things can go.”
Ellis recommends jumpstarting the process by purging a small space first. “Clearing off counters in the kitchen and bathroom are often areas you can make big, quick progress with a high visual impact,” she says. “You’ll have a feeling of accomplishment and be motivated to continue.”
To make the larger tasks with emotional charges connected to grief, loss and past parts of life more manageable, Ellis suggests going easy on yourself and taking it one step at a time. “That sort of Oprah update where everything changes in 24 hours in your home isn’t real or achievable for most people,” she admits. “However, with small, consistent clearing efforts over a consistent time period, you’ll get the clean, organized, space you desire.”
If the paint color you once adored now seems drab or outdated, it’s time to make a huge color leap. A fresh coat of paint will always give you great bang for your decorating buck. But how do you ease the stress over choosing the wrong color? “Don’t paint samples directly on to your walls,” advises Jana Rosenblatt, an interior designer who offers two-hour color consultations for $250. “It can be costly and hard to cover them once you select the perfect shade, and if you do too much, it can change the texture of your wall.”
Instead, Rosenblatt suggests using a disposable brush to paint two to three coats of sample-sized paint on four or more pieces of white printer paper to save money and enable you to experiment a little bit more. “Be sure to use the same sheen you intend to put on the walls, and then put them around the room and check them out during both day and night,” she adds. Ideally, you should clear everything out of the room first, and the paint job will go more quickly.
Houseplants are a great way to bring spring inside and out. Even if you go to Trader Joes to buy some orchids, it will immediately brighten up your space. But what if you don’t have a green thumb? Start your indoor plant collection with harder-to-kill plants such as a jade and a fern and then aim to add one plant to all your rooms.
And as for refreshing any outdoor area, Garden Designer Susan Taylor Fisher of Paradise Gardens Landscape Design has the simplest advice: “The most important person to be happy with your garden is you. Get rid of anything you don’t like and replace it with something you love. ”
After you have purged, painted and planted, you’ll want to purchase new items, if desired. And to feel more confident about your purchases, you can always use an online interior design service like Modsy, where there are easy packages and design experts to help you pick what you want. Consider purchasing a fresh bedspread with flowers or leaves on it to bring the spring imagery indoors. Or you can purchase items to help combat clutter. “I recommend a new shelf in your bathroom, or storage baskets that are stylish yet functional and can be elegantly hidden,” advises Karina Lameraner, creative stylist at Modsy.
Lastly, remove some old items that you might not be using and make new use of them. All homes have a few great spots to feature for displaying decorative items, and rearranging these pieces will undoubtedly give your home a fresh feel for the season.
For a home office desk refresh, just add a few folders in a seasonal accent color, fill a funny cup with pens and pencils, and hang a piece of wall art with a bright, cheerful vibe. You can also change up photos in the entryway or change out heavier winter linens for lighter coverlets. Try “shopping” the rest of your home to find worthy candidates, and by rotating a few items in and a few items out, you can easily re-present your own things with some new spring zing.
Following these few steps will bring a spring back into your step—whether you’re stuck at home or not.
Margot Black is a storyteller with more than 15 years of experience, an L.A.-based traveler, wife and mom.