Is it time to replace these 5 household items?
As winter grinds to a close, our focus will soon move from indoors to outdoors. So, now is a good time to take a critical eye to some of the often overlooked details inside your home. If something is looking shabby or worn, replacing it will give your home a lift.
Designer Lauren Liess shares her Virginia home with husband and business partner David, five children, three dogs and a gaggle of geese. Liess navigates a long to-do list between her family and her work (a decorating business and the HGTV show “Best House on the Block”). She is also working on her second book, “Down to Earth: Laid Back Interiors for Modern Living,” coming out in the fall.
In the midst of this, she tries to keep the volume of items in her house under control. We asked her which household items she was targeting for replacement. Here is her list. What’s on yours?
You might think towels last forever, but they don’t. Every once in a while, weed out those that are looking dingy or frayed. “My towels last only a few years, and they need freshening up as they turn kind of gray,” Liess says. She keeps it simple by using all white for her bathrooms and black or gray towels for her dogs.
It’s easy to forget about your pillows, Liess says. But they need to be examined at least every other year, because they get flattened and stained, especially with lots of kids in the house. She usually buys replacements filled with down or synthetic down at Bed Bath & Beyond. “I’m not keeping up with this one; I need to check on my guest pillows,” she says. After a quick look, she says the style she has bought previously, the Wamsutta Dream Zone Synthetic Down Side Sleeper Pillow, has held up well and that she is going to order some more.
Your doormat is the first welcome guests get when they arrive. A fresh mat is a good way to give your house some curb appeal, even on a dreary day. The wet weather we have had this winter may have given your mat a workout. Liess is a fan of natural coir mats and often uses them at clients’ homes. “I like the relaxed, timeless look and feel of coir,” she says. She has found Kempf Natural Coir Coco Doormat on Amazon, with its polished braided edge, to have a nice thickness. Although cheap coir mats tend to shed, she says, these do not.
Liess uses linen and cotton tea towels in her kitchen and powder room. She keeps a basket of them in her kitchen, usually solids or stripes in natural flax tones. “I replace the ones in the powder room about once a week,” she says. She periodically goes through the basket and gets rid of stained or worn ones. She recently found Magic Linen’s washed linen towels on Etsy and likes their casual look and $10 price tag.
“This is the time of year you notice house plants hanging by a thread,” Liess says. “We get used to looking at them, but it’s a good idea to go in with a critical eye to every room and get rid of the ones that don’t look good.” If you have any poinsettias left, it’s time for them to go. Liess likes a bit of green in a room and prefers larger plants that make an impact. She is partial to jade plants and loves a good fern. “I have good luck with ferns even though I’m a plant killer,” she says. Her favorite is asparagus fern. She also sometimes looks for foxtail ferns.