Indoor makeover: Winter perfect time to spruce up home

Framing a piece of fabric with a printed design can be an inexpensive way to create an artistic wall hanging. This sample is courtesy of Jane Bateman: The Interiors Store in Lawrence.

Winter need not be synonymous with such words as “stuffy” and “blah.”

The cold weather makes it a perfect season to spend time indoors freshening up a home’s interior, according to area designers.

“I think it’s a great time” to decorate, says Jane Bateman of Jane Bateman: The Interiors Store, 2101 B West 28th St. Terrace. “We really need to have something to make us feel alive again.”

Bateman and others offered their top tips for making the most of the wintertime opportunity to spruce up the home:

• Decorate for R value. R value is a thermal resistance measure used to gauge the insulating quality of windows and insulation. Bateman suggested adding lined draperies or panels to windows, even if they already have blinds. The added layer can make a home more energy efficient.

“It makes a big difference, especially if the panels are lined,” Bateman says.

Bateman says the panels should hang to the floor if possible to keep the cooler air behind the curtain.

“It’s not like the cold air won’t come in,” she says, “but it’ll warm up before it gets to you.”

• Paint a room. David Boyd, paint sales consultant at Lawrence Decorating Center, 2400 W. 31st St., suggested painting to spruce up a space.

“In most cases, painting a room is cheaper than any piece of furniture you might buy,” he says. Boyd suggests Benjamin Moore’s new Aura paint, which is available at the Lawrence Decorating Center.

“It features one-coat coverage, quick cure time and has virtually no odor,” he says. “All of which contribute to quick return to service for entertaining.”

• Change accessories. Bateman says small items like toss pillows and decorative pieces can be changed periodically. Though small, they can make a big difference in the look of a room, she says.

• Transform Formica countertops the inexpensive way.

“They can be painted with a special bonding primer and high-gloss oil-based paint,” Boyd says. “It’s not as durable as granite, obviously, but you will get several years of service out of them for a fraction of the cost of replacing them.”

• Change the artwork. This doesn’t mean pounding new holes in the walls. Bateman says it’s easy to take down frames and put up new ones, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Unique postcards, pieces of fabric, or greeting cards can make great photos, Bateman says. In her showroom, Bateman created works of art with a fabric decorated with bird scenes.

• Highlight a wall. Boyd suggested painting a holiday-themed accent wall in an entry or dining room.

“Try a silver metallic glaze over the accent wall color to create a ‘winter wonderland’ sparkle,” he says. Another suggestion from Boyd: consider putting up some Wallies, which are easily installed and easily removable wallpaper pictures, good for either holiday or more permanent themes.

• Don’t wait for spring for flowers. Bateman says florists can force tulip bulbs, by creating an environment for them to grow out of season. She suggested buying a splash of hot pink tulips to brighten a room.

“I think adding flowers makes you think of spring,” she says.

• When the Christmas tree comes down, turn the chore into an opportunity. Many homeowners have to put a room back in order when they take down the tree. Bateman says this is a perfect time to dabble in rearranging the furniture.

“Here’s your chance,” she says. “Here’s a chance to stand back and just do it differently.”

• Start spring cleaning early. Kim Schmidt, owner of SDG Home Collection, 4621 W. Sixth St., Suite C, says homeowners need to plan ahead in order to complete spring cleaning tasks on time.

“If your plan starts in January, then by April, maybe, you’ll have your plans completed,” she says.

And then it’s off to work outdoors.