(ARA) - Winter can be dark and cold, but spring is a time for warmth and light. Few things will brighten your mood as much as transforming your home to greet the season. Even inexpensive touches can have a big impact. Some simple spring redecorating will lift your spirits as much as spotting the first returning robin.

Your secret weapon is color. The vibrant colors of spring will brighten otherwise ordinary home decor. Let nature lead you to your color palette: delicate pink cherry blossoms, lavender blue hyacinths, sunny yellow forsythia and the pale green of new leaves. Do you smile when you see a basket of tulips? Why not take your cue from nature and be surrounded by those beautiful colors? For inspiration, take an early spring walk in the park. Breathe the softer air and study the scenery. When a color makes you happy, that's the one to choose for your home.

You can easily and inexpensively change a room by buying a couple of gallons of paint and doing the job yourself. For years, white or ecru were the standard wall colors, but no longer. Be daring and choose a color that makes you feel good, and a little "out there." If you don't like it, you can always paint over it.

Take down heavy drapes. They may have made you feel cozy in the cold months, but for now, get them cleaned and put them away for next year. For spring, the word to keep in mind is light, as in airy fabrics and sheer curtains that let natural light into your home.

Slipcovers are an age-old way of changing the look of a room from winter to summer. You might be able to find them ready-made and inexpensive. At least, buy new pastel throw pillows which will quickly upgrade a room and give it a new look.

Don't forget to arrange fresh flowers in bright vases from the craft store or in your own pretty crystal. Spring flowers growing in your garden are free and, for city dwellers, choose the least expensive bouquets at the corner market. These flowers don't know they're not prize orchids, and will give their all to lift your spirits.

"In any room, hanging botanical drawings, framed or unframed, is another way of bringing nature into your home, says Elizabeth Polish, interior designer and instructor at The Art Institute of New York City, If you don't want to buy original drawings, cut images from magazines, and mat and frame them yourself."

Freshening the bathroom is also easy. Change the shower curtain and towels and you have an instant new look. Look for sales on bathroom accessories to complete the picture.

About the kitchen, Polish says, "Even if you can't redecorate, start an herb garden on your windowsill. Grow fresh dill, chervil, and mint. Watching things grow brings you in tune with the season of rebirth. And be sure to use the herbs to spark up your meals."

Bring on the spring. You will be ready with a home that has been refreshed, revived and renewed.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

EDITOR'S NOTE:

To learn more about The Art Institutes schools, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/nz.
The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu) is a system of more than 40 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.