Seasonal Decorating

I was swapping out a few accessories on the mantel over the weekend, and got to thinking about all the different ways there are to style a mantel in the summer when the fireplace is not in use.

When we’re not using it in summertime for its warming purpose, it’s still fun to accessorize the fireplace mantel to fit the style of your home. Here are a few ideas from the galleries sure to inspire your summer decorating!

Mirror Mirror on the Wall.  Mirrors continue to be one of the most popular choices for above the mantel, they play along well with the focal point philosophy and bounce light around the room. Partner them with candlesticks, and vases or urns filled with summer blooms.


summer blooms on mantel bhg


mirror and urn bhg


simple mantel and mirror bhg


trumeau on mantel bhg


Be Artistic.  A large scale piece of art, be it an abstract or landscape, sets the tone for a space. Play off the color cues with accessories layered around the room (think vases, throw blankets, or shapely ceramics.)

abstract art on mantel bhg

 art above mantel bhg


art over mantel bhg


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Today we’re wrapping up the Outdoor Room Series with a look at spaces that aren’t enclosed or covered like we’ve seen with previous articles. Now we’re talking about outdoor rooms that anyone can create in a small area with just a patio, deck, or balcony. All it takes is a few square feet, some furnishings, and accessories to make a sweet and scenic space for enjoying the summer months!

The best outdoor rooms mimic what we love about indoor spaces – they include comfortable seating and practical and pretty accessories, but they have the added benefit of being situated out in the sun and surrounded by foliage. What could be better? So I rounded up five favorite elements for creating your own blissful outdoor room!

A Gathering Space.  There must always be seating for a group, so consider a small sofa and chairs with a coffee table or ottoman in the middle for setting beverages or reading material.  Choose neutral seating or make it colorful!


outdoor seating area bhg


outdoor patio orange umbrella bhg


city balcony bhg


A Cooking Place.  Outdoor kitchens come in many shapes and sizes, but having a barbeque, perhaps a sink, and some prep space are all you need to create memorable meals infused with seasonal flavor.

outdoor kitchen bhg


outdoor kitchen on deck bhg


outdoor kitchen 3 bhg


A Dining Space.  Once the meal is prepared, there’s nothing quite so delightful as dining alfresco on a warm summer night. Combine a table and chairs for a sit down experience or get creative with a bar type scene for enjoying informal appetizers and beverages.

wood table green chairs bhg


dining room on deck bhg


cinder block bar bhg


A Growing Place.  An outdoor space is incomplete without greenery – your blooms can consist of just a few succulents, an enchanting collection of thriving botanicals, or could include a lush pathway that welcomes anyone who enters your patio scene.

succulents in pots

 flowering plants bhg


archway with plants bhg


A Warming Space.  Mankind has gathered together around the fire for centuries, and in modern times we use fireplaces and fire pits to warm our surroundings and also to create ambiance. Invest in a permanent structure with a chimney or a simpler chiminea or fire pit.

outdoor fireplace bhg


outdoor fireplace 2 bhg


firepit bhg

fire pit bhg


You’d never need a vacation away from home if your outdoor patio possessed all five elements mentioned.  The most perfect outdoor room would incorporate seating, dining, cooking facilities, greenery, and warmth! 

kitchen living dining fireplace


outdoor firepit bhg


This concludes the Outdoor Room Series, I hope you’re inspired to create a fabulous space of your own!  To read the entire series, don’t miss the other spotlights on covered porches and patios, screened porches, sunrooms, and cabanas!



The focus on outdoor rooms continues today with a peek at unattached spaces, namely converted sheds or cabanas that are freestanding in a rear yard, often requiring a short but worthwhile walk to the destination.

Converting a shed or erecting a breezy cabana are two ways to get creative with an outdoor room when your home lacks a covered patio, screened porch, or sunroom. Both give you the same benefit of an enclosed space designed for lounging throughout those fair weather months. 

Remove the walls of an old shed and use its frame to create an inviting sleeping nook for lazy summer afternoons.

outdoor bedroom bhg


Hang colorful paper lanterns up above and include a daybed that also acts as a sofa for gathering or lounging with friends.

sofa in converted shed bhg


Hang an elegant crystal chandelier for contrast against the rustic wood paneled walls and include cozy linens for catching up on your summer reads or stealing an afternoon nap.

converted shed bedroom bhg


Sheds also make wonderful playhouses for children – include all the adult amenities like curtains, window boxes, and bistro sets for summer fun on a small scale.

playhouse space bhg


Cabanas are readily available from many retailers and a wonderful way to enclose a small deck. Curtains add to the ambiance and also allow for greater sun protection.

cabana bhg


A comfortable sofa or sectional is all you need to make your cabana style space a welcoming one. Combine colorful stripes and solids in summery shades of blue and green.

bhg deck with cabana


Posed under a favorite tree, a small yet sophisticated black and white cabana provides both shelter from the sun and a stylish spot to chat for hours.

outdoor cabana bhg


Later this week, we’ll wrap up the series with some inspiring ideas for uncovered alfresco spaces, including patios and balconies!



The conservatory dates back to 16th century when British and European civilizations living in colder climates realized citrus and botanicals could be cultivated indoors. The modern day sunroom is a successor of the conservatory, and is also referred to as a solarium or a Florida room.

The sunroom is a space that is filled with natural light, hence the label and one of the most desirable rooms for relaxation because it allows residents to enjoy the light and view of the outdoors any time of year and without fear of inclement weather.



Architecturally, sunrooms are defined by their multiple walls of windows, ones that often stretch from floor to ceiling. Some sunrooms are designed to capture a scenic view while others are designed to collect sunlight for warmth and light.

rounded sunroom with view bhg


sunroom with view bhg

enclosed sunroom bhg


Take the opportunity to dress up your sunroom as you would any other indoor living room with colorful upholstered furnishings, keeping in mind that outdoor fabrics which resist fading are smart choices due to increased sun exposure. 

colorful fabrics in sunroom bhg


decorated sunroom bhg


Some sunrooms repeat the home’s exterior on the interior walls with shingle siding, stucco, or brick adding a textural element to the space. 

brick walls in sunroom bhg


sunroom with siding bhg


sunroom with brick walls bhg



Space permitting, tuck a dining table and chairs into a corner to enjoy the view while you linger over lunch.


dining room in sunroom bhg


Invest in a large outdoor sectional to guarantee a comfortable seat for everyone.

 sunroom with sectional bhg


Or convert an empty corner into a daybed for reading and snoozing in the soft sunlight. How clever is this solution placing three trunks together?



Next week we’ll wrap up the Outdoor Room Series with a spotlight on patio rooms and cabanas, see you then!



Part two of the Outdoor Room Series continues today with a look at a variety of beautiful and comfortable screened porches. As we saw with the beginning of the series and the focus on open air covered porches and patios, having a space that combines the comfort of the indoors with the pleasure of the outdoors is a bonus for any homeowner.

My brother has a screened porch at his home in Savannah, Georgia and during our visit last year we spent every night enjoying beverages and playing games in that cozy and comfortable space, while a few neighbors stopped by to say hello and linger in the conversation.

Screened porches are wonderful in any area where insects are active during hotter weather and can be used for dining, entertaining, or simply relaxing with family and friends. Dress up yours with a sectional that includes bright colored fabrics to welcome both comfort and good times.

screened porch with bright pillows bhg


Like with open porches, you can always incorporate decorative or textural elements into the design plan – think planks of wood on the ceiling and fans for circulating air.

  screened porch with ceiling fan bhg


It’s fun to be fearless with color in these transitional spaces. Spray paint your furniture in unexpected bright colors and include cushions in vivid fruity shades from orange to pink to yellow.

pink cushions outdoor sofa bhg[6]


Or decorate around a favorite summer holiday in red, white, and blue to embrace the Fourth of July.

foru season porch bhg


Screened porches are a wonderful place to grow potted botanicals since they receive ample sunlight.

screened porch with plants bhg


Be playful with your lighting and furniture choices too – why not a whimsical chandelier or a curvy rattan piece you’ve freshened with spray paint!

screened porch bhg


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The urban dictionary defines a “staycation” as a vacation spent at one’s home enjoying all that one’s home environment has to offer. Transitional outdoor rooms than include the comforts of the indoors and the pleasant atmosphere of the outdoors are one of the most desirable spaces in a home. Covered porches, sunrooms, converted sheds, or screened porches are all examples of sheltered outdoor rooms that extend our living spaces and also our hours of leisure at home.

Because they are protected from sun or unpredictable summer rainstorms, the covered porch, patio, or loggia has the benefit of circulating fresh air with the bonus of a roof that provides shelter from the elements. Ceiling fans are a smart addition to a covered porch or patio and provide necessary air circulation, especially in regions where temperatures can creep above 100 degrees.

covered porch with columns

  covered porch with ceiling fan bhg


Covered porches are an opportunity to use furniture just as you would indoors since their surfaces are protected from direct sun or moisture.

covered porch with wicker sofa bhg


Consider the addition of a bright swash of paint to your porch ceiling like these planks coated in a cheerful yellow also repeated in the fabric toss pillows below.

outdoor porch yellow ceiling bhg


To encourage lingering among guests, or create a space where you wish to spend many hours relaxing, invest in furnishings with deep seat cushions in stylish outdoor fabrics.

covered loggia striped sofas bhg


cozy seating covered porch bhg


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