Here's how to develop a relaxed look for spring — without it appearing contrived

Spring is finally here again, and it's time to celebrate.

Los Angeles interior designer Frances Merrill of Reath Design says the season is all about comfort and ease — and less about perfection.

A great way to loosen up is by eschewing minimalism.

It may be gratifying to come home to an immaculate interior, but the effect can border on sterile: "Minimalism can sometimes feel competitive," says Merrill.

It's not about having the one perfect highlight but having a collection that can be mixed and matched according to one's individual style.

Add more verve by mixing in accents with rich hues and textures. But don't forget to keep an even keel by pairing these bright additions with simpler patterns such as stripes or solid blocks. Nothing says spring like flowers, so feel free to mix in real-life blooms and place them in a perfect vessel — such as one with a bright gingham pattern that we found. A home's hard edges can easily be softened by a simple addition of vintage quilts. Search Etsy or EBay or take a weekend trip to the Pasadena Antique Center for an aged find.

Such pieces, infused with a sense of history, add a sense of reassurance. Old World-style furnishings are increasingly popular, perhaps in tandem with the appreciation for the artisanal and handmade, says Merrill.

If you're making tweaks to your home this season, it's important not to obsess. The beauty of the season is its relaxed sensibility.

It should feel "accidental," says the designer. "Like you might have just found it and dressed it up just the way you like it."

How to mix and match

Dress up your glassware with this blushing drinking cup (CB2, $3.50).

Then add in some stripes (Sur la Table, $25 for a set of 4).

Play with your place settings by mixing plains (Heath, $18) and floral prints.

Then add vintage silver flatware. Mart Collective on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice sells them by the piece or by the bunch.


How to balance with basics

This cotton velvet pillow in rose quartz — the color of the year — is a bargain (Ikea, $8)

and pairs well with Cari Joy Designs' pinstripe pillow cover with off-white background ($23).

This gingham vase from EnSoie reminds one of sunny picnics to come and lazy days outdoors. (, $105).

Old world-style furniture gets a seasonal update

Solid wood Millstream bed from Sawkille Co., with hand-turned spindle legs ( starting at $6,800 for twin).

The Colt highback armchair takes its cues from Scandanavian and Swedish design. Available in ash, maple or other O&G stains. (, $920).

This Rossmore dining table has hand-turned bobbin legs, brass tips and a circular top and brass-tipped feet. (, $5,850).

Twitter: @latimeshome


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