Friday, February 22, 2008

Decorating: Simplify for Summer

When the weather turns hot we tend to do less, which includes house care. There are lots of ways to simplify our homes for the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Airy Wicker
Wicker furniture, especially the all-weather variety, is light and airy for use indoors and out. Even the fabric-covered cushions are weather-proof and dry out quickly after becoming damp from a sudden downpour. Replace an upholstered chair with a wicker one.

Furniture
Drape a side table with a cool colored sheet. If any of your furniture needs a new finish, consider pale blue or aqua color paint.

White Is Cool
If a room needs repainting, nothing looks fresher than white. Put a drop of pink or yellow in the paint to take away the deadness of hospital white.

Floors
Remove room carpets and add scatter rugs, or no rugs at all if you have nice wooden floors. Dhurries come in all sizes and cool pastel colors. They're practical and easy to care for. A sisal rug is natural in color and inexpensive.

Put Away Knick Knacks
Remove knick knacks and replace them with one important piece, like perhaps an American folk art whirligig or a basket filled with flowers. And by the way, folk art and crafts are becoming the "hottest" collectables so this might be a good time to start a collection.

Bare Your Windows
If you don't need to cover windows for privacy, removing curtains and draperies for summer creates instant light in the rooms. If you need some sort of covering try sheers or a panel of lace. Or use shades that can be pulled down only when needed.

Outdoor Chairs
If you have those ubiquitous, wire chairs on the patio you know how uncomfortable they are. Try covering thin foam cushions with pillowcases for a pretty and comfortable look.

Dark Wood
If you have dark wooden pieces of furniture, add a lace-edged linen runner or table cover to the top just to lighten it. Place a white bowl or glass vase of fresh wildflowers on top.

Fabric and Trims
To lighten upholstered furniture, add a couple of throw pillows covered with a summertime print. All-white textured pillows can be trimmed with piping to match the fabric on the sofa or chairs. Add a wide, striped ruffle to a floral chintz pillow. Cover fat cording with contrasting to fabric to edge a tablecloth that drops to the floor.

Flowers
Place herbs in large clay pots on windowsills. Keep a glass vase filled with white flowers on the side table or in the middle of the dining table. Fill a white pitcher or bowl with a loose arrangement of wildflowers and herbs or mint, which will add a fresh aroma to the air.

Unusual Planters
Add a thin coating of white wash to terra cotta pots. Paint the pots white, then wipe away most of the paint leaving a hint of white film to lighten the clay color.

Romantic Bathroom
Make your bathroom inviting. Spray paint a small wicker basket white. Add dabs of pink acrylic paint over the entire basket. Place a lace doily in the basket and fill with potpourri. Tie a delicate, embroidered ribbon to the handle.

Trim hand towels with lace, crocheted or ribbon edgings. For a no-sew technique, use fusible webbing and press the trim onto the towel. It will stay through repeated washings.

On The Wall
Create a display of miniatures on a bathroom wall. Try matting and framing botanical greeting cards, old family snapshots or pressed flowers. Look for interesting frames at yard sales or in antique shops.

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