Home & Garden

Lighten Up Summer updates for cooler spaces

Lifescape By Janet Armstrong, Certified Interior Designer, CAPS

I hope you are enjoying this fantastic summer weather as much as I am! While we are anxious to spend as much time as possible outdoors, we still want the inside of our homes to be stylish, organized and comfortable. Summer is the time of year we yearn for a relaxed, low maintenance lifestyle and want our homes to reflect a cool, fresh ambience. We are firmly in mid summer and perhaps your rooms don’t have that relaxed atmosphere yet or you would like some change.
Whatever the reason, a little update and refresh may be in order. Try one or more of the following simple, easy updates that will make your home feel lighter and brighter just like the weather outside.

Many people like to swap out their fall/winter curtains for those made of lighter fabrics. Why not go for floor length sheers only? Or perhaps sheers with tone-on-tone texture for visual interest and depth? Using only sheers on your windows not only adds a beachy vibe that reminds us of relaxed, sunlit carefree days lounging on the sand, they instantly lighten your spaces and add a soft, delicate element to the room.

Area rugs
Area rugs ground your rooms and create a cohesive, comfortable ambience. During the cooler months, darker rugs with rich texture make rooms feel cozy and warm, but during the heat of the summer, area rugs of lighter materials such as sisal, hemp or jute and in softer, lighter colours, can cool a room. Tone-on-tone coloured patterns or rugs with soft pastel patterns, add visual texture, while keeping the space feeling cool. To keep your rooms feeling harmonious and balanced, ensure at least the front legs of the furnishings are placed on the rug.

Crisp white bed linens are always a boost and I highly recommend 100 per cent cotton, in the highest thread count your budget can afford. Breathable and cooler, cotton will not only lighten the feel of the room, but help you get a restful sleep as well. And while we want to be cooler than the scorching temps outside, we still want our bedroom to be cozy. Instead of a heavy, dark coloured throw more suited to fall and winter, switch it out for a light coloured, bed runner.

This keeps your bed layered and comfortable, while appearing cooler and calmer.

And don’t forget to update bathroom linens. White towels and bathmats in your bathrooms keep them feeling cooler as well as looking clean and streamlined and a new shower curtain can brighten the space.

For me, stripes are the epitome of summer. A striped table runner and napkins in the dining room, striped pillows arranged on sofas and chairs or a striped throw casually draped over the arm of a chair, are casual elements and enhance an informal look.

Make your rooms feel brighter and cooler by swapping out existing lamp shades for solid white ones. For texture and visual interest, include lamp shades with ‘pleats’ or a subtle white-on-white pattern. Use Bright White or Cool White (3500 – 4100K (Kelvin) light bulbs to make your rooms appear cooler.

Minimal decor Packing away some of the decor accessories, not only keeps your spaces low maintenance, but uncluttered surfaces make rooms feel lighter. Restyling your mantel, tables and hutch, with natural elements such as fresh flowers or your beach combing treasures, will bring the outdoors in and ground your spaces. Try these simple and easy ideas to maximize the relaxed vibe: White candles in hurricane lanterns• Beach combing treasures• Fresh flowers in a glass water jug• Greenery stems or sprigs of herbs in a glass vase or• a mason jar Swag of greenery draped along the mantel or down• the centre of your table I hope these ideas provide inspiration for every room in your home. However you choose to refresh your spaces for relaxed summer decor, enjoy your updates and remember that any of these ideas can be used in your outdoor rooms too!

Janet Armstrong (simplyswankdecor.ca) is a graduate of the Interior Design Institute of Canada, CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) and a Director and Membership Chair with the National Board of the Decorators and Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada).