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Originally published Monday, March 12, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Decorating tips to help you welcome spring

Home Style: 6 easy ways to give your home a fresh look for spring.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Take time this month to welcome spring by making your home as fresh and pretty as the scenery outside. Here are six of my favorite ideas to inspire you.

1. Pretty pillows

Never underestimate the power of the pillow to transform your home for a new season. Replace warm and cozy winter textiles with the bright and breezy fabrics of spring. Pillows are a great way to freshen up a room without going to the trouble and expense of slipcovering a sofa. It's a simple step that yields a big visual impact.

Start by getting accent pillows made with concealed zippers so you can slip out the down pillow form and insert it into the new season's pillow cover. Before you store away the offseason pillow cover, have it cleaned so it's fresh and ready to go in six months when you transition back to fall.

The traditional but fresh color combination of navy, apple green and white is making everyone's heart rate go up this season. If you're not a fan of navy, pair the apple green with robin's-egg blue.

I also can't get enough of coral and marigold right now. Put them together, or pair them with navy and green. Take your cue from the color combinations outside your window: lilac, periwinkle, daffodil yellow, peony pink.

Another great look for spring this year is layering together several different patterns of soft neutrals. How about a palette of cream and light gray? Or cream and white?

2. Clusters of cheery pottery

You know how it feels when you open your windows for the first time in the spring, and that cool, fresh breeze sweeps in and scatters the winter blues?

That's how I feel when I use bright pottery in my home décor this time of year.

Inexpensive and expressive, you can't beat these vases, urns and bowls for value and impact. A few pieces of Clementine orange pottery will add some sunshine to the corner of a TV credenza.

One of my favorite color combinations this spring is apple green and turquoise pottery paired together. Or cluster a few different-sized and -shaped vessels together on an end table or a nightstand. The beauty of these little pieces is you can pull together several for a big impact, or just tuck one tiny vase into an existing display on your bookcase for a more subtle effect.

3. Yummy fresh fruit

You can't beat decorations that are as functional as they are fun. Try a beautiful bowl filled with apples. Other possibilities include strawberries, grapes, kiwis, pears or oranges.

4. Bright table linens

This spring, I'm decorating my dining-room table with a new table topper. These are so inexpensive and easy to make, you've got to try it. Start with a yard and a half of decorator fabric, then finish the edges either by sewing a seam, using fabric glue or adding a decorative trim. I finished my fabric square with a 1-inch flange with mitered corners made out of navy linen. Now, just place the topper on the diagonal, like a diamond, at the center of your table and decorate it at will.

I'm using my topper to hold an assortment of Asian blue-and-white vases and urns. When summer rolls around, I'll switch out the blue-and-white pieces for a cluster of green pottery.

5. Heavenly scented candles

Spring is definitely a feast for the eye, but it's just as much a delight for the nose. Before the blooms are out in full force, I fill my home with the perfume of spring through scented candles. My favorite this year: hyacinth.

6. Welcoming door décor

I'm a huge believer in dressing up your door for each season. When it comes to spring wreaths, my top pick this season is a wreath made out of boxwoods. Boxwood greens are just right for this awkward transitional period, when it's not fully spring yet. You can hang this simple green wreath with no adornment and it will look fresh, clean and classy. Or you could punch it up by tying it to your door knocker with a colorful ribbon.

The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at http://www.nellhillsblog.com/.

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