Winter is a time for cuddling up in front of the fireplace and surrounding yourself with delicious darks and thick, comforting blankets and drapes. As the thermometer creeps up, however, little by little, coming from the balmy outdoors into your dim winter refuge can feel like entering the dungeon in a castle or an isolated museum room. If you’ve still got holly-patterned fleece throws and big fake fur pillows littering your sofa and chairs, it’s probably time to brighten and freshen the indoor ambiance, bringing it closer in line with the light and airy feel of the approaching summer season.
It’s the Little Things
You don’t have to remodel or get all new furniture to bring a beachy feel to a room, particularly if your sofa and other main elements are in tans, woods, and similar neutrals.
Pitch the heavy, dark throw pillows until next year and put out some bright florals. Watch for sales and strike early in the spring. Or, purchase some plain white or taupe zippered pillow covers and block print or stencil them using fabric paint. This allows you to customize your color and design (polka dots, shells, butterflies, the possibilities are endless) and the supplies are very inexpensive.
Change out the candles. The peppermint stick, gingerbread, and apple pie scents were great when the snow was falling, but the warming air calls for bright citruses and elegant florals.
While you’re changing the candles, don’t forget the other little touches you set out during the winter – baskets of pinecones, the harvest-hued tablecloth, and holiday or winter-themed welcome mats. Switch these to versions with light, bright colors.
Rather than dark, heavy decorative elements, plant a succulent in a large shell and use it as a coffee table conversation piece. Bring down the draperies and hang sheer scarves in warm weather palettes over the rod – yellows and greens, blues and white (ideal for a nautical theme), or oranges with aqua all make bright, beachy combinations.
Consider swapping heavy, dark rugs for sisal or bamboo, and replacing existing wall art with inexpensive prints featuring water scenes or plant life. Thrift stores and flea markets are gold mines for reasonably priced, attractive wall art.
Paint – Small Investment, Big Impact
Painting is an affordable, fast, and relatively easy way to completely alter the look of a room. If you’re not feeling up to doing four whole walls, with all the other home maintenance and prep chores you’re doing at this time of year, pick one element in a room – like a chair, a stairwell, or even just the woodwork. If your walls are fairly neutral, white, or even more appropriately, blue, stencil a sun and some clouds at the top of one wall or even the ceiling. Little surprise touches like this delight your guests and put a smile on your face when you walk through the room.
Don’t Forget the Bedroom
We often neglect this room or leave it for last on our list of things to update and enhance. Some simple new lampshades, a sheer, flowing window treatment, and fun, colorful pillowcases can make a world of difference. Bring fresh flowers in for the nightstands and outfit the master bath with fresh-smelling, summery lotions and shower gels. Add some fluffy new tropical-hued towels and you’ll feel like you’re being treated to a mini getaway.
Bring the Lightened Mood Outside
Dust off that patio furniture and get inspired. Hang paper lanterns from tree branches, or drape several strings of Christmas lights between two clotheslines to bring a whimsical flair to your outdoor nighttime entertaining. Put up a thrifted baker’s rack or étagère (a shelved display stand as used in French bakeries) as a unique potted plant display. Add a coat of coral or blue to your tired old patio table, then paint the chairs each a different hue in the same tone – yellow, orange, lime green, and hot pink make a bold statement.
Out front, add curb appeal by creating a mural or pattern on the base of your porch with reclaimed glass tiles. Give the railings a fresh coat of paint, and add a shelf on the front of the house to hold little potted plants and a sign with your family name. Create a little reading corner with a wicker chair, a colorful rug, and a vintage rolling cart to hold a drink, a snack, and a citronella candle.
Taking your home from winter cozy to summer breezy doesn’t have to be time and labor intensive. A new coat of paint here, a few new accessories there – strategically placed vibrant colors and the removal of heavy, encumbering décor elements can turn your interior into a warm weather paradise you’ll be proud to show off.
DISCLAIMER: Readers proceed at their own risk if they attempt to replicate any activities described here.
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