Solutions: Spending time inside? Renew your rooms

Jeanine Matlow

During a recent shopping trip at a home decor store, I overheard a conversation that stayed with me. A customer was telling the cashier she was looking forward to moving back to Michigan after living in Arizona where there was too much pressure to go out and do something every day because the sun is always shining.

The dreary weather here meant she could simply sit on the sofa and watch TV.

This reminded me how much time we spend inside our homes in Michigan, especially when compared to areas with warmer climates. This is certainly true during the fall and winter.

While participating in a fundraiser for my daughter’s field hockey team that yields a different selection of fresh flowers or plants each month for a year, I had an idea. So I bought one package for myself and another for a friend, hoping this will inspire us to refresh our homes on a regular basis.

When you spend so much time indoors, it makes sense to renew your rooms.

There are other ways to enhance your surroundings more often. First you can revive your environment without spending a dime with a weekly or monthly organizing project or furniture or accessory swap from one space to another.

Seasonal flourishes add a festive touch to your everyday items and there are plenty of holidays around the corner, from Halloween and Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s just to name a few.

This year, we got an early start on our Halloween decorations because my daughter loves to decorate for any occasion.

These holiday accents have already sparked conversations from guests who admired my quirky purchases. And my husband reminded me about the time he borrowed the black velvet cowboy hat embellished with skeletons and the eye mask that adorn a classic bust in our living room. When he stole these two pieces from the statue last year to wear as an impromptu costume for a Halloween party, no one recognized him.

My daughter has already taken the Halloween decor I found at a dollar store, like a set of eyeballs that look great in a mason jar, and claimed them for her room. At the same time, she is celebrating my favorite season with a sign that says: HELLO FALL.

When I get the first bunch of flowers from the fundraiser this month, I’m sure my daughter will want me to put them in a kitschy vase shaped like a cowboy boot that my father got me years ago at the now defunct Mervyn’s. I have to admit that floral arrangements look really cool in this funky container that has come to be her favorite.

Sometimes you simply need to revisit what you have to refresh your personal retreat, whether it’s a collection of vessels or seasonal pieces that are tucked away for the time being. Mark your calendar as a monthly reminder to alter or add whatever makes you happy in your home. Your creative modifications might even get you through the winter.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at