Getting Your Home Ready for Spring

Here are some affordable tips.


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Lauren Hosmer, director of interior design for East Bay interior decorating firm Visual Jill.

Photo by Sergio Suzuki

As spring approaches, refreshing your house doesn’t have to be a big expensive deal. It can involve little more than a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, some plants, a bit of gardening and a carpet cleaning, according to East Bay designers and agents.

“Update your lighting. If you’re on a budget, this is an easy way to refresh your home room by room,” said Lauren Hosmer, director of interior design for Visual Jill, an East Bay interior decorating firm.

A Berkeley real estate agent had a similar outlook. “How long has it been since you’ve replaced your overhead light fixtures?” said Geri Stern of Pacific Union. “Take a look in all your rooms and see if they might benefit from a new look.” Stern recommended Build.com as a good place to purchase reasonably priced fixtures.

Stern and Hosmer also agreed on another easy fix: Painting.

“If the rooms are looking a little beat up, a new coat of paint can give your home, or just your front door, a huge lift,” Stern said.

Hosmer said, “Add some contrast to your home. For an exterior example, paint your siding white and paint the trim a dark color like navy, charcoal, or black.”

For the daring, the designer said, “To top it off, paint your door a fun color like bright orange, blue, or yellow.”

Some basic gardening can also make a big difference, Stern said. She suggested having a gardener give the yard a general cleanup. And most homeowners can do their own pruning and clearing dead branches and debris.

For the interior, “Add more plants to your home,” Hosmer said, especially over the winter months. “Greenery brings so much happiness to each room. Add a little succulent to your coffee table or have fresh flowers a few times a month. It improves your attitude day-to-day to see something natural and smell something refreshing.”

Stern suggested cleaning the carpets, which she said can keep allergies at bay and give the home a cleaner smell, as well as helping it look fresher.

Getting a pest control report doesn’t make the house look better, but it can save a lot of money in the long run. If the home hasn’t been checked in more than five years, homeowners need to hire an expert to inspect behind the shower walls and under the foundation for dry rot, termites, or other pets, Stern said.

The real estate agent also recommended changing up the house numbers. If the place is still sporting numbers from the 1970s or earlier, they’re probably in an outdated style, she said.

Another reason to get new numbers: If the address is not readily visible, pizza deliverers, UPS drivers or — most important — firefighters and police might not be able to find you, at least not as quickly.

Choose large, dark letters on a lighter background, or if the house is painted a dark color, light letters. Make sure there’s enough lighting so the house number can be seen from the street.

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