Interior designer Doniphan Moore shares his 17 fave ways to let the sun shine in
Whatever your budget for decorating, there are plenty of quick, simple ways to brighten your rooms for spring and summer without spending a lot. Dallas-based interior designer Doniphan Moore, whose elegant, nature-inspired design aesthetic works in sprawling mansions or high-rise condos, says he’d start by putting some light on the subject.
Here are some of his best tips.
Sparkle that glass. Clean windows are the simplest way to brighten a room. Wipe ’em inside and out with foam cleanser and a microfiber cloth. “It’s a huge task but that sparkling glass really brings the shine in,” says Moore. If you have draperies, now’s the time to get them professionally cleaned. “That’s something people forget to do.” Moore recommends Country Club Cleaners, “the only company in town that cleans drapes on site.”
Sheer joy. It’s time to shun shutters and lose light-filtering window blinds and try “sheers,” those filmy curtains that let a soft, diffused light into sunny rooms. Moore recommends The Shade Store (4516 McKinney Avenue).
Brighter bulbs, lighter rooms. Swap out old light bulbs for brighter LED lights. “There’s been a lot of advancements over the past year in clean, white LED bulbs that don’t look like fluorescents,” Moore says. The big-box home improvement stores are well-stocked right now. Also, clean all your dusty lampshades with a lint roller to get a sudden boost of light from a previously dark corner.
Give your bed a makeover. Swap out all the heavy winter layers of coverlets and poofy duvets for some new fluffy pillows and lightweight duvet inserts. “All-white linens reflect light and feel fresh,” says Moore. Spring is also a great time to buy new bed pillows. (Moore likes the selection at Bed Bath & Beyond.)
Purging feels good. There is life-changing magic to tidying up, just like that book by Japanese de-clutter expert Marie Kondo says. Doniphan Moore says he’d start by clearing off and re-accessorizing book shelves. “Use small plants like succulents, which don’t need a lot of attention, in spaces between books to bring in touches of green. And donate books you’re ready to part with to charity.” Don’t forget to dust the top shelf.
Free up fridge space. Now’s a good time to do deep inventory in your kitchen pantry and fridge shelves. “Get rid of your winter munchies, clean the shelves,” Moore says. “You look in the fridge and pantry all the time. Be happy with what you see there.” (He also advises tossing any food past its use-by date, including ice cream. But really, Doniphan, who keeps ice cream around long enough for it to expire?)
Go back in the closet. But only to organize it. Moore suggests hiring a professional closet organizer who won’t have any emotional attachments to those too-tight jeans you wore on your best date ever. But if you’re motivated to do it yourself, toss out things you didn’t wear last year or anything that you’re now too thin for after a winter of steady workouts. (That’s thinking positively!) Pack away winter wools and cashmeres in acid-free tissue paper inside clean drawers with a few cedar chips.
Get all up in the grill, gurl. Some Easy-Off oven cleaner, or some vinegar and baking soda and a wire brush will get the gunk off that outdoor grill. Time to prep now for warm-weather cookouts because you don’t want to plan the party but open the grill to find it caked with old greasy goo.
Fruit over flowers. Moore likes to accent tables or counters with seasonal fruit in pretty bowls. “That’s easier to do than flowers and you can’t eat flowers,” he says. “I love lemons in bowls. The yellow is so pretty. Remember to remove all the stickers — so tacky!”
Pick a room and paint it. Even giving a small room a fresh, bright, fun new color can be a home décor picker-upper. Moore likes Pantone’s color of the year, “Greenery,” a zesty yellow-green that evokes the outdoors. Use it in a laundry room or guest bath, he advises. He also likes painting garage interiors a nice clean white. “It’s another space you see every day. Why not make it something pretty?”
Scents for sensibilities. Just replacing your dish soap and hand soaps with new spring scents can be an inexpensive, easy re-do. “I love things that smell like herbs and fruit,” Moore says. “Basil, lemon, grapefruit — all nice for warmer months. Fresh candles in these scents add another layer.”
Tumblers for you. If you like mixing summer cocktails, invest in a new bar set. Moore likes the ones at Highland Park’s Forty Five Ten (“awesome dishwasher-safe crystal tumblers for $20 each”). And look for a new cutting board and indoor/outdoor linens and napkins. For those, head to Set & Co. in Oak Cliff (841 W. Davis Street), says Moore, where you’ll also find a line of great kitchen gadgets. Need fresh dish towels? Pick up a few at a dollar store or the simple, crisp white ones at any Williams-Sonoma.
Make a fix-it list. Tour your yard and house and make a repair list, advises Moore. “There’s always something,” he says. “Leaky toilet, squeaky doors, a cabinet hinge that’s falling loose.” Start fixing that stuff. Re-grout your bathroom to make it look like it’s had a new paint job (no, really). Roll up old, dusty rugs or welcome mats in entryways and put down some new sisal or jute ones, which “feel sort of beachy and summery.”
Go deep, go clean. If a deep-clean of your entire house is too much work for you, hire a professional cleaning team to do it. They’ll clean places you haven’t even thought of, like ceiling fans, behind dressers and armoires, the crannies of your entertainment system. It’s an investment in results that last most of a season before you have to think of doing it again.
No more faking it. Things to get rid of forever, says Moore, include fake plants (buy real tulips because they’re pretty and inexpensive). Also toss old pillows that have gone shapeless and anything else that looks worn out, like dingy chair covers or outdoor cushions that may have sprung some mildew spots over the winter. Replace organizational boxes and baskets with a set of something new. Moore says he always trusts The Container Store for innovative storage solutions in bright, fun colors.
Claim it and frame it. How often do you change out pictures and picture frames? Not often enough, according to designer Moore. Take inventory of your framed photos. Display new ones that reflect life’s happy moments and place those where you can enjoy them daily.
Love your stuff. Get a new perspective on things you already own by moving your collections around in your house. If you have favorite pictures or art pieces, put them in new spots where you’ll see them every day. “It will make you feel good every time you look at them,” Moore says. And that’s what good interior design is all about, right?
— Elaine Liner
To learn more about designer Doniphan Moore, go to DoniphanMoore.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 21, 2017.