As spring quickly approaches and you begin planning fun outdoor activities, it’s important not to neglect the seasonal chore that keeps your home in check (aka — spring cleaning). Spring cleaning is a great way to reset after a long winter. Our apartments seem to collect a lot of extra dust, mold, and belongings during the colder months, and deep cleaning and purging is just the key to freshening and organizing your space. Whether you only have a few minutes or an entire weekend, a few of our favorite North Jersey interior designer pros are here with their best spring cleaning tips to help you get started. Read on for spring cleaning tips from these local North Jersey interior experts.
Julieta Alvarez Interiors | 157 Watchung Avenue, Montclair
Julieta Alvarez is a trained and experienced interior designer with 8+ years of experience. She, along with her team, offers complete interior design solutions from one space to an entire house and knows exactly how to make a space feel chic and modern, yet warm and comfortable. When it comes to decluttering a home, she believes one of the most important questions to ask is ‘do I really need it and have I used it or worn it in the last two years?’ If the answer is no, then plan on donating it. After purging some items, it is time to organize. She suggests planning on cleaning one room a week and not overwhelming yourself. “Just like in life, it is better to get to your goal by making smaller steps to it,” Julieta added.
In addition, she says “chic” storage baskets should be your friends. Whether it be shoes, backpacks, mail, or keys, nothing should live on the floor or be on surfaces at random. You can even take it a step further and add labels on the baskets to make your life easier in the long run. Items like cereal bars, pouches, and cookies in the kitchen or pantry should have their own container or be all in one as “snacks” so they are easy to find and you can easily see when you need to purchase more. Same in the laundry room — have containers where to put the detergent, softeners, sponges, etc. Julieta also suggests changing up your throw pillows for a more fun and colorful vibe for spring/summer. “Adding some plants in key locations like a tree in the living room or smaller plants on dressers and consoles makes a huge difference. Just like the outside is coming alive, your home should too.”
Rachael Grochowski of RHG Architecture + Design | 491 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
Rachael Grochowski focuses on creating spaces and structures that are holistic, engaging, and consistent. She explained to MG that spring is a great time to pause and assess what is no longer serving you and what is no longer needed. Anything from clothes, decor, toys, or even habits. Over the fall and winter, we tend to stock up on ingredients for warm cozy foods, and organized cabinets encourage us to eat lighter and better. She suggests it’s best to go through the cabinets and remove items that are expired to prepare for the seasonal ingredients that will soon be available for the spring and summer.
Rachael tells us that a spring refresh doesn’t feel complete without a change of decorative pillows. For instance, fabrics that are lighter and brighter give a sense of renewal. And it’s important not to neglect our plants. “Over the past few years, many of us have added plants to our homes, creating a sense of connection to nature. Spring is a great time to give them a little extra care, dusting every leaf.” About every three years a deep spring cleaning should include sealing kitchen (and bathroom) stone countertops and reapplying protection of fabrics and rugs.
HCO INTERIORS | 45 S Finley Ave, Basking Ridge NJ
Hillary Cohen founded the full-service interior design company in 2015 after working in the industry for 10 years. The firm offers virtual consultations, custom design, project management, and decor services and specializes in renovations and custom design. When it comes to spring cleaning, Hillary offers three easy tips to get started.
First, the earlier the better. She suggests making the most of those last cold and wet days in winter by planning out which areas to focus on. This allows you to order any supplies or storage items that you may need ahead of time so you can be as productive as possible when you do begin cleaning. Next, she says it’s all about setting realistic goals and focusing on smaller areas that can be finished in a day. This is especially helpful with young children running around or with little time on hand. Rachael says that organizing is just as important as the actual cleaning. “I like to start by pulling everything out of a room or area. I clean the space and sort everything into categories before putting anything away. If everything has a place, then keeping your home cleaner will be easier moving forward. A well-designed interior makes a plan for your storage needs.”
Emma Lynn Design | 89 River Street #844, Hoboken
While specializing in residential interior design, Emma Mecka of Emma Lynn Design also has experience working on corporate projects serving restaurants, hotels, retail stores, as well as co-living spaces and offered some amazing tips to get your spring cleaning started. First, don’t be afraid of open space. This goes a long way, especially in city settings like ours where more often than not, square footage is hard to come across. “Challenge yourself by emptying out that cluttered corner of your home that’s been driving you nuts and when you do so, don’t feel obligated to fill that space with something new.” Leaving it open will lend to a more spacious and airy flow. This goes for that smaller artwork you’re looking to take down, or those few inches on a bookshelf that just opened up, as well. She also suggests replacing that patterned or colored shower curtain with a textured white/off-white one. This will help make the bathroom feel larger, in addition to feeling and smelling much cleaner. Once the deep cleaning is done, throw those everyday items (Q-tips, cotton balls, eyedrops, etc.) in some baskets, light a fresh scented candle, and you’ve got a bathroom that is ready for the new season.
If you’re looking for a brighter feel in your space for the new season, a fresh coat of paint may do the trick. Going even one or two shades lighter than what you currently have could make a huge difference, and won’t interfere with the design of the rest of the space. She recommends trying a creamy white or a light beige, such as Sherwin Williams’ Cotton 9581 — or if you have some gray tones in the space that you’d like to work around, try a greige, such as Sherwin Williams’ Popular Gray 6071. Emma notes that spring cleaning doesn’t have to exclusively consist of cleaning. Use this as an opportunity to take it to the next level by updating your artwork, picture frames, plants, and even a chair or two. Upgrade that old Keurig or toaster oven that may not be worth your elbow grease anymore. These small changes will make a big difference in your day-to-day, without breaking the bank.
B. Garcia Designs | 96 Park Street, Montclair
With over 24 years of experience in residential, hospitality, and commercial design, Blanche Garcia is an award-winning certified Interior Designer and the owner of B. Garcia Designs. Lucky for us, she offered some great tips and tricks for spring cleaning.
First, cleaning with vinegar is a great way to incorporate more natural products into your routine. Its high acidity is what makes it a good cleaner, especially when it comes to giving windows, cabinets, and mirrors that shine. Blanche explains that a good way to make your room feel refreshed is by changing out all your winter bedding with sheets that are lighter in material, which will help you sleep better and stay cool at night. Flowers are also an amazing way to cleanse the air in your home and they make you feel great too.
Similarly, clearing out the old energy by getting rid of things that you no longer need or that no longer serve you will not only help you out physically but energetically as well. “When organizing, try to do it in groupings. Baskets are a great way to hide the things you don’t need to see every day and help with editing and clearing your space.”
Delphine Interiors | 1200 Park Avenue, Hoboken
Now based in Hoboken, New Jersey, and New York, Delphine Interiors offers a complete design service, creating personalized interiors for your residential projects, with a touch of French influence and inspiration. When it comes to spring cleaning, Delphine remarks how important it is to read cleaning labels. She explains that most homeowners ruin their upholstered furniture with the wrong cleaning agents. Use dry cleaning solutions and water-based agents and solutions only. Next, she suggests making use of your at-home items. For instance, using a lint remover to dust lampshades and fabric surfaces or switching your air conditioner fan on before dusting and vacuuming prevents any lingering particles to be pulled through your home’s air filter. Also, it’s important to tackle one room at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and choosing one room or task per day will help you avoid feeling tired. Putting on some tunes while you clean also brings joy and makes daunting tasks like these a lot more enjoyable.
Antoinette Allande Interiors | 634 Park Avenue, Hoboken
Antoinette Allande Anderson is known for her bold and eclectic style that combines vintage and new modern furnishings with contemporary art to achieve collected, layered, and inviting interiors. The MG team was lucky to speak with her about the best way to approach cleaning this spring. First, before bringing in new beautiful furnishings to your home, you must declutter and let go of items that no longer serve you. “Space and expansiveness is such a luxury, and the more space that one can create in their homes the more luxurious they will feel,” Antoinette added.
Next, never underestimate the power of a simple window cleaning (inside and out) to spruce up a space. It’s also vital to clean and organize kitchen cabinets. “I find that I tend to accumulate a lot of unnecessary groceries and kitchen wares in my cabinets and they take up so much space. Cleaning the cabinets out and organizing them helps me be more efficient in the kitchen and gives me a sense of clarity.” Antoinette shared.
Sarah Elizabeth Design LLC | 25 N Fullerton Avenue Suite 5, Montclair
Sarah Elizabeth Design is a full-service, high-end interior design studio that prides itself on creating beautifully curated spaces throughout New Jersey and the tri-state area. When Spring is upon us, one of the first things you can do is to switch out sofa pillows. While it seems small, it can have a big impact by introducing brighter color linen or cotton pillows, or something with a fun print, like a floral. Put away the plaids and velvets, and heavier throws, and switch out for a lightweight cotton throw. Pro-tip: use reusable zippered clear bags to keep and store off-season pillows so they stay clean and fresh for next year. Likewise, with your bedding, start putting your heavy duvet away and replace it with a coverlet and lighter sheets.
That goes with the outside also, start taking out your patio furniture and think about adding something new like those colorful paper lanterns you always wanted or strings of outdoor lights, and tie it all together with a colorful outdoor area rug. Sarah advises you to surround yourself with things you really love, including artwork, accessories, clothing, etc. If an item doesn’t bring you great feelings, put it away — you don’t have to toss it but you also don’t need to see it all the time. She also suggests hiring a professional organizer to work with even for just a few hours. With such busy schedules, organizers will help with everything from decluttering kids’ bedrooms or playrooms to organizing kitchen drawers, bathroom drawers, and linen closets. “It’s well worth the investment freeing up time and adding a sense of calm having things in order, and easy to locate.”
CBH Interiors | Jersey City
Founded by Carissa Byrne Hebert, CBH Interiors is a full-service interior design studio, serving Jersey City, Hoboken, and the Greater NYC Area. With over 15 years of interior design experience working on corporate interiors and residential interiors, she is an expert at helping clients decipher what they truly want and need in their space.
Carissa considers spring organizing and spring cleaning as one and the same and recommends starting small — one room at a time. For instance, if you start with your bedroom closet, you should go through everything you have in there — clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, etc and set aside anything you haven’t worn in the last year or two. Once you’ve removed those items, then begin organizing. A good tip for a clean and organized closet is to have matching hangers and to use bins to store items on open shelves. It can be helpful to pull out your label maker and label those bins so you know exactly what’s in them and where to put things back to help keep the closet organized long-term. The very last thing is the cleaning. Clean all surfaces, shelves, mirrors, and floors. Remove the shoes and bins from shelves and clean those hard-to-reach surfaces that never get any love, then put the items back. That closet will never look better.
Design MACS | 330 Washington Street, Hoboken
Design MACS is an all-inclusive Design + Build firm based in New Jersey with two offices in Bergen and Hudson Counties. Founded by designer Marissa Sauer, the Design MACS team shares their passion, enthusiasm, and expertise in designing + building functional, unique, and beautiful spaces. When it comes to spring cleaning, their team suggests organizing and getting creative with your storage locations. You’d be surprised at the ways you can tuck storage into unexpected areas, creating a more organized home that is easier to keep up with. “The best thing we do to maximize storage, especially in tight spaces, is to build storage into custom items — whether they be built-in entertainment walls, benches, or even into flip-up upholstered furniture.” While going custom costs a touch more, it utilizes every inch of space thoughtfully so not an ounce is wasted. This way you can stay organized while your space looks and feels elegant. When designing a built-in, think about the items you plan to store there. Measure what you can, and ensure your cabinet design will work for you. When decorating open shelf areas, pair down on the knickknacks you’ve collected over time. Keep some hidden behind closed doors and others on display. You can swap them out over time to enjoy them all, but when too many are clustered together the space not only looks overcrowded, but you don’t have a chance to appreciate any of them.
Lighting is another element that adds brightness, sophistication, and ambiance to any room. Proper lighting enhances your design and helps create distinct areas at different times of the day. Don’t just settle for builder-grade overhead lights, and similarly, don’t overcrowd with too many lamps. Adding chandeliers and sconces in key locations to highlight artwork, pinpoint work areas, or provide general illumination at night can give specific areas a defined purpose and make large empty walls feel warm. The definition created by different lighting scenes helps to make even a small space feel large.