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Five easy ways to add a touch of spring

The arrival of spring has long been celebrated by people of every faith and from every corner of the globe as a time to say farewell to the cold and gray of winter and to welcome the return of warmth and color and the beginnings of new life.

While spring is breathing new life into the outdoors, it's also a perfect time to add a little seasonal oomph to your indoor environment. Here is an assortment of tips for brightening your home in celebration of spring.

* Change is in the air. Spring is a perfect time to bring the outdoors in. Spring flowers, arranged either in one large bunch or in several mini-bouquets placed in nooks throughout the house are not only a visual treat, but emit refreshing springtime scents.

* Brighten up. Adding seasonal touches to your home can be as easy as painting a piece of furniture, a single wall or the trim in the sunniest room in your home. The best colors for spring are light, clean, refreshing, and natural as opposed to either pale pastels or deep, color-drenched hues. Consider paint colors inspired by nature, such as shamrock, violet, slate and goldenrod.

* Lighten up. It's hard to imagine that spring has sprung in a room decked out in velvet or other heavy fabrics. Warm days and spring breezes call out for sheer or lightweight curtains, slipcovers in natural solid-colored or floral fabrics, and decorative pillows that bring splashes of color into the room. It's not necessary to replace all of the fabrics in a room to usher in a new season. Sometimes simply changing out pillows and removing warm winter throws is enough.

* Floor it. Don't forget to give your floors a spring facelift as well. Substitute lighter cotton, sisal, jute or seagrass rugs in natural shades for the heavy wool rugs that feel so right when the weather turns cold. (Spring and summer are also perfect times to have wool rugs cleaned and/or repaired.)

* Re-view. Shifting the arrangement of the furniture and decorative pieces in a room can have a major impact on its look and feel. During the cold winter months, it may be comforting to be nestled in a chair that faces a fireplace. But once the weather warms up and the flowers begin to bloom, the best view in the house might well be out the window. Invite spring into your home with a furniture arrangement that is oriented toward a window or other source of natural light. Then sit down and enjoy the view.