The summer season brings to mind easy, breezy, colorful days by the pool or your nearest beach. It's all about light-hearted, be-a-kid-again feelings. Why not bring this sense of excitement and comfort into your home? It doesn't have to break your bank, either. Check out these budget-friendly tips.
Bring the outdoors in
"Summer is all about enjoying the outdoors, so bring it indoors with living color," says Kara Butterfield, an interior designer based on Boston. "I like to include live plants to complete a room's décor. They are low maintenance, continue to bloom throughout the season, and are more budget-friendly than buying cut flowers."
Displayed in a terrarium, decorative pot inside a bird cage or glass vase to show the root system, plants can beautifully transition from the garden into your home.
Sweep the chimney
A fireplace and mantel is a great decorative pod for the warmer months, but they also can be a great focal point for your living room during the laid-back days of summer. Butterfield advises to clear out the old wood pieces and ash, then look to what you already own to fill the space creatively.
"It looks better if you keep to one theme," she says. "Stack different sized vintage suitcases, cover piles of paperbacks to create bricks, or display bright orchids in tall vases for a more modern look."
"Shake off winter and get into a warm weather frame-of-mind by changing out simple accent pieces like throw pillows and accessories like vases, artwork and window treatments," recommends Erin Hoover, design director for Westin Hotels. "Winter is for wools, mohair, and rich, darker color palettes. Opt for lighter, breathable and natural textiles like linen and cotton in fresh neutrals."
At right: Taffeta Dot Pillow from Pier 1
"The change of seasons also is an opportunity to look at the layout of the furniture," she says. "Move things around, even if it's as simple as adding a lamp or changing the orientation of seating so you're looking outdoors instead of in."
Morgan Cullen, designer and creator of RunwayDaily.com, recommends you create your own easy fabric-framed wall art. "Visit your local fabric store or vintage shop and choose some fabric that catches your eye," she says. "Frame it and hang on the wall for added visual interest. It costs less than $100!"
Also consider repainting or reupholstering an item of furniture. Whether it's a wooden breakfast nook or chairs that don't do it for you anymore, take some time to sand, prime and spray paint them in the season's hottest colors.
Add some seating
"Jazz up a breakfast area by bringing in a bench to replace some chairs," advises Kerry Ann Dame of Posh Living, LLC. "Look for an old church pew, an odd vintage iron bench, or a wicker loveseat. You may have one outside you can drag indoors."
Alternatively, she suggests, "Have a carpenter build in a simple banquette for more seating in a tight space. Pile it with colorful summery pillows – make sure they are washable and have a zipper."
Color me consistent
Keylee Sanders, style consultant for Flit.com and owner of Style Studio, recommends you pick your favorite color or theme for the season – turquoise is in right now – and keep the idea running through everything you buy.
Accent pillows are an inexpensive way to add color to your design and ensure all of your pieces work together. The covers can be removed and washed, so invest in nice pillows and then just change the cover from season to season.
Revamp the bathroom
Livening up your bathroom is a fantastic way to bring summer into your home without dropping stacks of cash. Visit your favorite discount retailer for towels, linens and décor items that reflect the bright, refreshing colors of the season. Look for bathroom rugs in eye-catching prints or fun shapes.
Children's bathrooms leave space for a little more imagination -- find accessories in seasonal shapes like suns, flowers or sailboats.
Turn your bedroom into a beach retreat
In just a couple of steps, your bedroom can be the beachside oasis that you're dying to visit. Add an inexpensive canopy over your bed for dramatic flair, and toss a few plush, oversized pillows onto the space.
At right: Bed canopy from ShopWildThings.com
Craft stores sells bundles of shells and bright-colored rocks that you can throw into a vase or spread sporadically throughout your room for an added touch.
Let there be light!
Ikea stores have a vast selection of light fixtures at affordable prices. Pick one or two pieces of hardware for the high-traffic areas of your home like the living room and kitchen. "Add some sparkle with an usual chandelier," recommends Olga Adler from Olga Adler Interiors in Connecticut. Switching out the panels in your ceiling fan also is an inexpensive option that can have a lot of impact.
Ask your kids
Who's more happy-go-lucky than your child? Tap that natural creativity and ask your kids to create one or two artistic pieces that reflect their outlook on summer. Whether it's a watercolor painting or a seashell montage, find a well-lit area to display their work. They'll love having the opportunity to contribute, and you'll have a unique, and budget-friendly, piece of décor!
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