Design lesson: Lighten up!
As a child, my summers were spent in Arkansas, where my grandparents lived. We children entertained ourselves by running through the woods, swimming in the creek, drinking Coca-Cola from glass bottles and catching fireflies in glass jars. Years later I still enjoy the unhurried ease that summer brings. In my home, I like opening windows to let in summer warmth, peeling away layers, and doing my best to capture summer -- much as I caught fireflies -- for my own personal enjoyment. Here are a few ways to lighten up your home for that breezy summer afternoon feeling.
Dos and don'ts of breezy interiors
DO modify window treatments by removing heavier side panels from draperies, allowing breezy sheers to remain.
DO remove patterned or heavy rugs, which will allow you to appreciate the beauty and coolness of hardwood and stone floors.
DO incorporate mirrors. Mirrors are a designer's not-so-secret weapon in the fight to expand space, but they're also equally effective in lightening up interiors. Placing a mirror adjacent to a window further amplifies natural light.
DON'T hesitate to adopt a more casual attitude when it comes to decorating. Loose-fitting slipcovers are the decorating equivalent of a summer shirt. They instantly revitalize interiors.
DON'T shy away from fresh pastels. A splash of pale aqua or a touch of lavender works beautifully with deeper tones to lighten and brighten stale rooms.
DON'T forget the basics. Though it may seem self-evident, no amount of sun can penetrate windows that are full of winter sludge. Clean all your windows and trim any shrubbery below for crisp, clear summertime views.
Image courtesy of IKEA
Kimberley's 10 favourite summer touches
1 Cabana stripes Nothing says summer like fresh wide stripes on fabric adorning furnishings and windows. Accent this orderly look with floral pillows and lightweight throws.
2 Grass matting Seagrass and sisal, with their casual barefoot beauty, are a pleasing contrast to stone and hardwood floors. Seagrass is my favourite because its waxy leaf provides more comfort underfoot.
3 Wicker furniture Neither a southern porch nor a northern garden room is complete without at least one piece of easy-going wicker furniture. Effortless elegance makes wicker so pleasing year-round.
4 Plants and flowers Bring the outdoors in by including some hardy indoor plants and flowers in your decorating scheme. My summer favourites are ivy, jasmine and bougainvillea.
5 Shells and pebbles No matter where you display them, pebbles and shells always look like they were just plucked from the beach. Today, you can even find flooring tiles made of real pebbles embedded in plastic resin for a year-round beachy look.
6 Outdoor accents Garden urns, Tuscan planters and European wrought-iron furniture look just as smart indoors as out. Consider using these often-oversize outdoor pieces in unexpected interior locations.
7 Matchstick or bamboo blinds Paired with linen draperies, matchstick or bamboo blinds are perennially pleasing and affordable.
8 Linens and sheers Today's fabric manufacturers offer a range of lightweight linens and sheers with decorative detailing like embroidered stitching and beading that creates a stylish look.
9 Painted furniture Whether it's a vintage chest or a four-poster bed, painted furniture is a staple of summery shabby chic style.
10 Shutters Plantation shutters provide maximum sun control without the fuss of drapery panels. Crisp white always looks right.
Image courtesy of IKEA