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Five ways to freshen your home for spring

Tom Scheerer at the Boston Design Center.Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

Now that the weather has finally caught up with the calendar, the spring catharsis has begun. Interior decorator Tom Scheerer, who was at the Boston Design Center last week for a signing of his book, “Tom Scheerer Decorates,” envisions a seasonal makeover in much the same unpretentious manner in which he furnishes homes.

The 58-year-old architect-turned-decorator, who is based in New York, chatted about how best to freshen home decor, easily and cost-effectively. (Hint: reclaim your floors, fall in love with a fern.) Scheerer offered five easy changes, each of which requires modest sweat equity and costs next to nothing.

1. “Wash the windows and open them. Spring cleaning is a great purgative. Also, try to experience the new weather. One of my pet peeves is people not opening windows. Everyone’s used to air conditioning and temperature control. Make sure you have a place in your home you can sit outside.”

2. “Roll up the rugs and have bare floors. Experience nice clean floors. Or scatter around small, inexpensive straw carpets.”


3. “Cultivate a houseplant and love them like a pet. House plants have become terribly unfashionable, and it’s the experience of nature that people don’t think of as part of decorating. A plant is the best decorative accessory. I have two Madagascar palms in my apartment. I’ve had them for at least 15 years, and they’re animate objects.”

4. “Freshen up pillows. Amateur decorators are very focused on fabrics, and doing a pillow or two is a way of experiencing a fabric. It’s like a mini date, like a speed date with a fabric. You can try them out without too much commitment.”

5. “There’s always a better way to rearrange your furniture. When you spring clean, it should probably involve getting rid of old pieces of furniture and letting the space breathe a little more. I generally find that you can improve a space by taking something out rather than adding something. One of the key — and least recognized — elements of decorating is understanding there’s a spatial relationship between pieces of furniture that make a simpatico space. Making more negative space is as important as the elements that fill up the space. It’s a way of lightening things up.”


Jill Radsken can be reached at jill.radsken@gmail.com.