Simple Summer Tips

On the mantle of our little beach cottage in Florida, I've got some of my favorite sea shells that I've collected over the years. A great look display for the summer months.

On the mantle of our little beach cottage in Florida, I’ve got some of my favorite sea shells that I’ve collected over the years. A great look display for the summer months.

 

Summer is here, and maybe you’ve already packed your shorts and swimsuits for your vacation. Hopefully your garden is well underway, whether sprouting vegetables or the flowers you love. Along with that sense of summer freedom comes the feeling that your home should have a different look for the season. Few of us have the time to do seasonal re-decorating, but some simple changes can make your rooms say “summer”.

 First, “lighten up”. Put away bulky blankets, throws, and bedspreads and replace them with lighter colors and textures. These can range from a simple coverlet in cream or robin’s egg blue, to lighter hues in towels and table linens. Any shade of white or cream will lend itself to a neutral backdrop for brighter accessories such as pastel throw pillows. You can also store darker-toned rugs for the season and leave wood or stone floors bare, or use area rugs in lighter tones.

Though you will still want protection from summer sun, consider leaving windows bare or switching out heavy window treatments by replacing them with a set of airy sheers, or simply change to a valence and tieback in a lighter color. You can also choose lightweight blinds or shutters in linen or bamboo for another option which can also work in the winter underneath your heavier window treatments.

Summerize with a slipcover. Just as you’re changing into your summer clothing, dressing your furniture for summer is an effective way to change the look of your room.

While custom-made slipcovers can be expensive, there are also less costly versions that you can fit yourself without sewing a stitch, and you don’t necessarily need to cover all your pieces.

Choose a light, solid color for your sofa slipcover, and then the sky will be the limit for the hues that you can go for in pillows and maybe even a light throw for the chillier evenings. For a different look, try a pashmina, very inexpensive these days, and wonderful as throws on a sofa or chair or even on the back of your chairs outside for a punch of color.

I also love slipcovers in the summer because they’re so practical. When family and guests are in and out of the house all summer, it’s great to be able to pull those slipcovers off and simply toss them in the washing machine. One trick to remember – put them back on while they are still damp or you will get shrinkage that won’t allow you to get the slipcover to fit back on!

– Try “bringing the outside in” and vice-versa. Getting outdoors and enjoying summer weather is the inspiration here. Fresh flowers, houseplants, end even small indoor pots of herbs will make a statement along a window sill. Bring a favorite piece of garden furniture, like a metal chair or table, inside for the texture and feel of the outdoors.

And following that design trend, take the indoors out by creating outdoor rooms that will be natural gathering spots for everyone. Simply extend your interior living spaces to your porch, patio, or yard. Decorating rules for interiors apply to outdoor rooms, as you make use of furniture, lighting and accessories to bring people together in a comfortable, cool setting.

Brighten your outdoor furniture with colorful cushions. Add a table skirt to a simple wooden table and top it with a lamp (just be careful with anything electric!). Accessorize this space with baskets, battery-operated candles (look great, give off plenty of light, and are safe to use) and your favorite hanging and potted plants and flowers.

Surround yourself with items that evoke summer for you. Even after that week at the beach, keep those seashells in a small bowl on a coffee table, and hurricane lamps on the mantle. Simpler yet, why not use a bowl of seasonal fruit, such as the strawberries you picked yourself, or a basket of fresh lemons an edible centerpiece for a family cookout? Add a small flowering plant or summer herbs to decorate your kitchen island.

Or, turn your bathroom into a summer spa. Pale colors will make a big difference on hot summer nights. From a silky robe to plush bathmat, think cool shades, like white, bottle green, sky blue, yellow, and lavender to transform your bath into a cool retreat and encourage leisurely soaks in your tub at night.

 

There is something truly special about the summer season and it always seems to be too short. We’re able to spend more time with our friends and family, enjoying the outdoors and delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. The long nights enjoying a cool breeze can be magical – as poet Emily Dickinson wrote, “to see the summer sky at night is poetry.” Making a few easy changes indoors and out can enhance your enjoyment of the season – so turn your home and garden into a festive summer retreat!

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