You may think that the leaves have to change color and start falling off the trees before you can decorate with holiday flair, but that's not true. Nowadays, there are designer ideas to dress up your home and enliven your spirit year round. This Easter, embrace your gingham and chintzy side by inviting spring indoors. Baby bunnies, chicks, eggs and baskets are all great décor motifs that have Easter flair and promote a spring sensibility, but you can employ other, less obvious decorative touches, too.
Winter is so over. Lose the brocade curtains, bayberry scented candles and snuggle-up blankets. Let's take a look around the house and see what we can do to let the sunshine in.
Nothing celebrates the prospect of a long, leisurely summer better than a party. This Easter, invite the grownups over to share in the fun while the kids are hunting for Easter eggs. A weekend brunch is one of the easiest meals to throw together for guests. You can stick with breakfast fare, like a fluffy quiche, or move on to lunch nibbles like pinwheel sandwiches and a mouthwateringly fresh green salad. With spring knocking on the door, design your table with lighter, gentler colors in mind.
If the griller at your house wants to christen his equipment for the season, brats and burgers are a spring and summer classic that never go out of style. This year, try prepping your dessert on the grill, too. It'll be fun and make for easier kitchen cleanup.
Prepare a pitcher of sun tea and spread some snack-filled baskets around the house. If you aren't grilling and have a chocolate fountain left over from Christmas, give it a multi-season treatment with an accompaniment of fruits, marshmallows and cookies -- out on the deck where all the action is. The kids will love it, and the resulting mess will be a photo-op worth buying a camera for.
Decorate your Easter table with a riot of wildflowers in soft pastel colors. Crisp white is OK, but what about a Monet-inspired, soft-hued flower pattern, or even a solid in lavender, yellow or peach, instead? If you're on a budget, check out your local craft store and buy some perky, gingham, cotton fabric. Three yards will be the most you'll need for a custom tablecloth, and you don't even have to hem it. Looking for a standout centerpiece? How about cubed fresh fruit on wooden kabob skewers? Place the skewers into a rigid foam base with herbs or other greenery as decorative and fragrant fill.
Your traditional china may be a little stark for a spring palette, but you can always buy an inexpensive service for the occasion. Better yet, go with a set of clear dishes that you can dress up for any season. These tempered glass favorites will show a sprightly placemat or tablecloth to advantage all season long.
An unspoken law of décor is that holiday colors, like reds and greens at Christmas or pastels at Easter, become neutrals during the season. This is a great way to enjoy colors you don't get to use in your decorating very often, like lavender, peach or light yellow. One wonderful thing about color is that it can change your mood for the better. A cheerful yellow milk pitcher on your kitchen table is an inspired accent that will make you happy every time you look at it.
We've talked about using pastels in your tablecloth choices, but you can expand that thinking to other areas of your home, too. Kitchens and bathrooms are spots where you can indulge your dramatic side. Add lime green accents to your kitchen, or change out your shower curtains and other bathroom textiles for a spring color that frees your inner princess. If your décor is pretty neutral, try draping spring themed fabric swags over your existing curtains. They'll look pretty and change the quality of the light in your rooms.
Evaluate your space and then fill bare spots with flowers and plants. If living plants aren't an option for you, decorate with cut flower bouquets. Spring bouquets don't have to cost a fortune, and they can last up to a week if you change their water daily.
Make a spring wreath for your front door, and don't forget to decorate some hollowed out eggs to dress it up. We love the new lace or polka dot egg effects you can get with stencils. Inject some white glue into the holes and they'll last until next year and beyond.
There's more to Easter in the garden than burying eggs for the kids. This year, dress up your yard by taking advantage of the themes of the season. In recent years, decorated trees have become more popular, and you can get in on the fun by adding egg ornaments to tree branches in anticipation of the blossoms and birds to come.
You can even get a jump start on summer fun by encouraging birds into the garden with strategically placed feeders and birdhouses. Like a little whimsy with your spring veggies? Plant some lettuce varieties in your favorite vegetable patch before the weather gets too hot, and add a few garden signs leading the way to your secret stash of greens.
Sow wildflowers on that bare spot by your shed or back gate. They're available in easy to plant mats that make bringing effortless color to your garden as easy as unrolling and watering.
If mirror balls aren't your garden décor of choice, you can still get added sparkle by including a few small hanging mirrors in your landscape. They'll catch the light and look like tinsel -- in a good way. Don't stop with encouraging wildlife and adding some color. Outdoor living spaces are very fashionable, and a few pieces of furniture, comfy cushions and soft lighting may be all you need to add a virtual room just in time for fine weather -- and the Easter bunny.
If you're on a tight budget this year, you don't have to go all out to decorate Easter baskets. Put wrapping paper or tissue paper through your strip shredder for straw, and spend the money on candy instead. Need a container? Get creative. What kid ever ooh'd and aah'd over the design of his basket? We recommend a trip to your nearby dollar store. You can opt for a low-budget woven basket, or choose from any of a number of plastic containers instead. Once you add the colored straw, some ribbon and the candy, the container will look plenty cute. Best of all, you'll be able to use it as a bucket, wastepaper basket or storage bin after the holiday.
If you're having friends over, consider making up individual tokens for them, too. Nothing says spring like sharing. You don't need to get carried away. Even a few individual candies wrapped in sturdy pastel napkins and tied with ribbon will help to spread Easter cheer. If sugar is a no-no for some of your visitors, try giving them small herb plants instead. Herbs like mint, basil, tarragon and thyme are useful and smell amazing. If it's too early to find them at your garden center, try looking in the produce department of your market instead.
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Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Better Homes and Gardens. "How to Blow Out Eggs." Undated. 3/8/10.http://www.bhg.com/holidays/easter/eggs/how-to-blow-out-eggs/
- Better Homes and Gardens. "New Decorating Book." Meredith Corp. 2007.
- Better Homes and Gardens. "Polka Dot Eggs." Undated. 3/8/10.http://www.bhg.com/holidays/easter/eggs/polka-dot-easter-eggs/
- Family Fun Magazine. "Easter Egg Wreath. Undated. 3/8/10.http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-crafts/easter-egg-decorating/easter-egg-wreath-847635/
- Family Fun Magazine. "Easter Eggs: Bee Egg." Undated. 3/8/10.http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-crafts/easter-egg-decorating/easter-eggs-bee-egg-661806/
- MarthaStewart.com "Lace Eggs." Undated. 3/6/10.http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/easter-eggs
- MonkeySee. "Blowing Out Easter Eggs: Making it Hollow." Undated. 3/8/10.http://www.monkeysee.com/play/13337-blowing-out-easter-eggs-making-it-hollow
- The Home Depot. "Decorating 1-2-3." Homer TLC, Inc. 2000.
- Walton, Stewart and Sally. "The Complete Home Decorator." Anness Publishing. 1997