House Proud – Cabin Fever Makeover, The Toronto Sun

Once every year, sometime between the groundhog’s annual pop-up and the appearance of spring’s first robin, I wake up with an antsy feeling. Suddenly I have to redecorate something. It’s how my own personal cabin fever manifests itself. 

This year, everything about the master bedroom bugged me. The glass ball lamps which I used to think were so chic and such a great deal, purchased at a warehouse sale for a fraction of their value, annoyed me because their on/off switch is on the cord, not on the lamp itself. After three years I had finally had enough with compromising and occasionally knocking a book off my nightstand because of them.

The browns and gold tones of our bedding and curtains gnawed on my last nerve. The comforter struck me as too tailored and serious. It was all very nice, but it just didn’t seem to suit me anymore. Looking back, this abrupt change of perspective arrived after one too many snowstorms.

My first task was to narrow down my desired new colour scheme. I’m a sucker for chocolate-brown and sky-blue and might have gone for something with a wild, abstract pattern in those colours except that I must also consider the sensibilities of my sleeping partner.

My husband is pretty easygoing when it comes to my decorating whims, but he’s also quick to declare that something is “too busy” for his taste.

I felt that a zany or loud print might be a little too much for him to accept. So together we chose an ensemble in a soft gold-brown after we happened upon a major sale of good-quality bedding sets. Complementary curtains were just a few aisles away and we were set.

Once the bedding was changed, the wall art no longer worked. I love the print of a curled-up puppy sleeping on a bed and the blown-up photo of Peggy’s Cove, but they didn’t fit with the new look.

They got rotated out to other rooms (with a new frame put on Peggy) while a much-loved large print on canvas got rotated in. I had almost decided to make a high faux headboard for our bed, but the print anchors the bed quite nicely, so that project is on hold. I chose espresso-coloured shelves and a multi-frame unit into which I put photos of us and some our favourite vacation spots in France, England and elsewhere.

Fortunately, the white shag area rugs look right at home in the updated environment. I’d love to make more room for a chair, but the giant wardrobe that takes up so much space is a non-negotiable item because we need the storage space. I still think that the nightstands are rather predictable and dull and I’ll be keeping an eye out for interesting tables that can be transformed into worthy replacements.

I’m pretty happy with the changes I made for a grand total of about $200. And it’s all just temporary, anyway, while we design a garage addition with a huge master bedroom to be built on top. So I consider this minor upgrade just a bit of practice for the real thing.

There’s just something about winter that makes me look for ways to improve upon my decorating choices. I suppose it’s just frustration from spending so much more time indoors.

However, I rarely start from scratch the way I did this time. Sometimes a bright accessory will break the fever. You could go with just new bedding or just new curtains.

Rotating artwork, as we did, doesn’t cost a cent and quickly gives each room a fresh new look. If cabin fever is getting to you, too, relief may be just a throw pillow away.