Summer Style

Let summer blossom in every room in your home.


Whether you want to decorate with summer style year-round or just want to give the house a light, fresh makeover when warm breezes blow, here are some inspiring ideas for every room in your house. We'll start with porches, then step inside to offer ideas for your living room, dining room, bedrooms, kitchen, and more.

Porches

Sweep away the dead leaves and toss out those rotten jack-o'-lanterns, it's time to get the porch ready for summer. Even if your exterior space is only a cement stoop, there are plenty of things you can do to make it stylish and comfortable.

Click on any image for a better view.

Start your exterior decorating by giving the front door a new coat of paint. A summery color, such as this leaf green hue, immediately brightens the spirits. Use a weather-ready exterior paint for wood doors and a paint that adheres to metal for steel doors and metal screen doors.

If your eyes would rather be focused on the kids playing in the yard or the comings and goings on the street, turn old-fashioned rockers or another comfortable seating piece, such as a wicker sofa, to face the activity. Be sure to provide plenty of tables for drinks and snacks. And give the space life and color with potted plants.

Turning up the wattage seems to be the best way to awaken your living and family rooms from winter hibernation. Peel away heavy window treatments to usher in the sunlight. Slipcover upholstered pieces in cottons with pastel patterns or muslin with relaxed wrinkles. If you're not inclined to slipcover, drape the sofa with bright quilts, throws, or even table linens in sunny colors.

You're probably thinking "If I had that view, I wouldn't need to mess with making it look like summer." The lesson here is not that you should move to the shore (although that would be nice, eh?), but that you can blur the line between indoors and out. Incorporate colors indoors that are seen through your windows, or bring in flowers. Alternatively, decorate subtly so leafy trees, a colorful flower garden, or a seascape outside gets center-stage attention.

Families have less use for a formal dining room in the summer -- everyone would rather be barefoot on the patio. But a dining room inside the house can be just as inviting if you're casual with the decorating.

Cause a mood change with mismatched dining chairs, flirty short skirts on the table as well as the chairs, and a centerpiece of wildflowers tucked into a picnic basket. You can also create the feel of alfresco dining if you train climbing houseplants, such as ivy, to trail over the windows.

Set up your dining room to have the feel of an outdoor room. Here, a whitewashed cabinet looks weathered and utilitarian, suggesting it might once have held tools in a garden shed. The wrought-iron dining chairs resemble outdoor furniture, and a wooden bench along one wall looks like it could line a garden path. Lots of lush green plants push the outdoor illusion even further.

The kitchen is probably the first room to indicate summer has arrived. Seasonal fruits fill the fruit bowl, windows are opened to catch a breeze, and fresh greens sit washed in the sink, waiting to go into salad. You can also add a decorative touch or two to say summer loud and clear.

Glass front cabinets are an easy way to display pretty dishware and collectibles. Pull ice-tea glasses and brightly colored acrylic dishware to the front. The space above the cabinets is also prime real estate to show off pastel-color pottery or fresh plants. Draw up the blinds or replace heavy curtains with a blue-and-white tablecloth.

Dark, dated cabinets can look altogether new and summery when they're given a coat of white paint. It's easier than you think to paint cabinetry, as long as you prime them correctly. Consider removing some of the doors to showcase colorful containers of the garden's bounty.

With summer come clear, moonlit nights and early-dawn mornings. Your bedrooms should reflect this light-filled season with bright colors and undressed windows. Peel off heavy down comforters and make the bed with linen sheets and a weightless quilt or coverlet.

Consider altering your color scheme slightly for the warm-weather months. If it's usually blue and white, add touches of sunshine yellow with pillows, throws, or prints in yellow frames. When it's time to batten down the hatches again, these accessories can be stored away.

Give old furniture a coat of white paint, which unifies mismatched pieces and lightens the mood. Dainty floral print sheets pair well with quilts in subdued patterns and colors. Paint the walls white with a hint of a cool, ice-cream tint, such as pistachio or raspberry sherbet.

Brief rinses after a dip in the pool take up all the time you'll want to spend in the bathroom this summer. So keep things simple and easy to clean.

Bring out a store of summery towels. Choose ones in white and pastel colors and buy smaller sizes that dry quickly in humidity. Corral bathtime necessities in a seashell-shaped container or an unused picnic basket.

Give the walls a dose of color to heal the wintry blahs. This tiny bath benefits from a sponge-painted wall in a shade of rose pink. It helps set off the painted mirror and vanity, giving their floral designs more emphasis. The hue is also carried over to the chair seat for the dressing table, which overlooks the backyard garden.

If a complete overhaul of your house is a bit more than you can manage, get the feel of summer in small spots that you can tackle in a weekend.

Next to a window, park a comfortable chair and ottoman. You can feel sun-kissed even if you don't have time to head outside. What makes this setting feel different in summer is the choice of accessories: a framed beach vacation photograph or summery artwork and a bunch of fresh flowers.

Create a place to pause where normally you'd pass through in haste. These stair risers have all new importance with a painted pattern in fun colors. If you can't do that, add a print that acts as a window onto the sunny world. This pool view is irresistible.

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