When the sun shines, the summer wardrobe comes out. Seersucker suits replace wool ones; airy, cotton sweaters are favored over warm cashmeres; perhaps there's a little less burgundy and brown, a little more pink and ecru.
So if we get to have seasonal makeovers, why can't our homes have them as well? With a few simple switches, "summering up" a home can be easy, even on a limited budget.
If you can stand the heat, why not spend as much of the summer as possible outside? Whether you have a yard, patio, porch or balcony, invest a little into fixing up the space outside your home. Look for weather-resistant pieces in a mix of neutrals and brights. Even a small yard can benefit from a few Adirondack chairs or a cafe table.
Bring the outside in
Aimee Beatty, in-house stylist for Pier 1, said images that reflect elements of nature, such as flowers, birds and butterflies, are receiving a lot of attention this season. Such motifs are available on pillows and linens but can also be incorporated into kitchenware. Consider also a wall decal that can bring in a summery element but can be removed when it is no longer deemed seasonally appropriate.
For a more permanent project, consider having your ceiling painted in a light blue color to bring an element of the sky into the home. Other pale colors are also encouraged.
"We're using a lot of ceiling paint lately, so they can paint it in a light blue or light yellow or whatever goes with their color scheme," said Chattanooga interior designer Marsha Yessick.
Incorporate bright colors
Nothing says summer like splashes of bright color. Bring in fresh, bold colors in pillows, dishware and other elements to brighten up a room.
"By changing your dinnerware or living room accessories and introducing pieces with bright pops of color, you can make a huge impact and completely change the mood of the room," Beatty said in an email.
Because white reflects light, it can help enhance the sunshine of summer. Yessick suggests putting a crisp white cloth on a kitchen or dining room table to lighten up the look. A white slipcover also can brighten up a sofa. One of the best parts of white? If it gets stained, just throw it in the washer with some bleach -- no need to worry about colors fading.
Keep it light
Beatty recommends light, airy fabrics for the season. Try changing out heavier curtains for more delicate ones. With the windows open on a balmy night, just imagine a warm summer breeze rustling through sheer curtains. Switching out those heavy curtains can also help keep the home cool -- heavy curtains can act as insulation.
Keep it fresh
Use fresh fruits or vegetables in a simple bowl as a centerpiece, Yessick said, and "fresh flowers, always." Fill vases with summer blooms such as dahlias, gladioli and gerbera, or try lemons and limes in hurricane glasses to add a fresh, natural feel to the space.
During the winter, a bed should be a warm and cozy haven, but in summer, there's no need to burrow under downy comforters and flannel sheets. Yessick suggests getting a refreshing night's sleep by exchanging a heavy comforter for a lightweight matelasse in a pale color such as white or cream.
Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...