Style at Home: Add spring to your decor

Mary Carol Garrity
Tribune News Service

Goodbye winter — spring is officially here. As soon as the excitement of the holiday season is over, I start counting the days until winter gives way to spring, the flowers in my cottage garden start to bloom and the grass and trees turn green again. One of the ways I embrace this season of new life is to welcome signs of spring into my home’s decor.

Pop plants in pretty containers: In the spring, I can’t resist buying live green plants, putting them in pretty cachepots and tucking them here and there in my home. My new love is African violets, and I have a pair of them at the center of my dining table. Unfortunately, live plants only have a slightly longer life expectancy in my home than fresh-cut flowers. I always intend to water them regularly and find that window where they have the right light to thrive, but, well … I get busy, and the plants go from fresh and green to brown and crunchy.

Treat yourself to topiary: For brown thumbs like me, preserved boxwood topiaries are a perfect pick. Whether they are live or faux, these artfully shaped plants add a structural elegance to a display. We like to cluster groups of different sized boxwood topiaries together to make a bright display, perfect for a centerpiece, side table or kitchen island.

Set your table for spring: When the seasons change, I re-evaluate my table linens, replacing the stained or ragged ones with tablecloths and napkins in fun new patterns and colors. One of my favorite tricks is to get a yard and a half of a seasonal fabric, hem it, then place it on the diagonal at my table’s center. This little swath of textile sets the stage for a lovely spring table setting, while still letting the beauty of the table show through.

Fill your home with spring fragrances: Creating an inviting environment in your home isn’t just about making it visually lovely. You also want to fill your spaces with a seasonal fragrance that captives you.

Showcase spring flowers: Pull out your beautiful containers and fill them with spring flowers! English footbaths are some of my favorite decorating tools. I use them year-round to hold everything from florals to potted plants to tumbles of apples, gourds or pine cones.

If you don’t have any narrow mouth vases, you need to get some — they are an essential for those of us who are hopeless at arranging flowers. Snip some blooms from you garden or pick up a bouquet, and use just two or three stems per vase. My favorites? Hydrangeas! I like to cluster several of the smaller vases together for a big impact.

Urns are another all-season decorating essential. In the spring, use smaller urns to hold bulbs, like tulips or daffodils. When the weather warms up, you can use the urns in your outdoor decorating.

Dress up a hurricane: Glass hurricanes are cornucopias, just waiting to be filled with the best things of the season. In the spring, I like to use my hurricanes as little stages for whimsical displays.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at