Decorating a summer home can be tons of fun, but there’s also a lot to consider. In fact, you may very well find yourself asking:
- What types of furnishings and color palettes do you wish to use, and what kinds of themes will you play on?
- What types of spaces do you want to create?
- How will you safeguard the house from wet bathing suits and sandy beach gear?
Still looking for some answers? Here are eight tips that can help you solve various parts of the summer decorating puzzle. (Image Credit: Mark McCammon/Pexels)
1. Ocean, Lake and Mountain Themes
In choosing a theme for your home decor, it only makes sense to tune in to your local surroundings. If you live by the sea or a lake, go with aquatic or nautical themes of almost any description. Likewise, if you’re up in the mountains, opt for scenes of nearby peaks and woodland trees, birds and wildlife.
Framed paintings and prints, throws, pillows, area rugs and wallpaper can all be used to capture the local ambiance. So can lamps and furniture.
You can even get hyper local. For example, if your summer home is in Maine, look for end tables made from lobster traps. But say that home is in Ocean City, Maryland. In that case, see if you can find tables made from crab traps.
A historic touch can add a cool dimension, too. Regardless of where your summer home is located, scout out and frame old photos of what your surrounding community looked like 100 or 150 years ago, Model-T Fords or even horse-drawn buggies included. If your summer home is anywhere near Beverly Hills, and you can find photos of famous film or TV stars summering in the nearby community, so much the better.
2. Blues, Greens and Whites
Not sure what color palette to use? Then you may want to give some serious thought to blues, greens and whites. This color palette offers a restful feel, while also evoking the outdoor color scheme of summertime either along the Pacific Ocean or Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico or in the woods.
While white walls and flooring can produce a sense of spaciousness and airiness, Country Living suggests bringing a white kitchen down to earth a bit by complementing it with dark furniture such as a brown dinette set made of wood.
Another cool idea is to tie together the blue-green-white palette with aqua accents — perhaps from window treatments or vases filled with flowers, for example — in every room of your summer home.
3. Water-Friendly Furniture
Whether you have a backyard swimming pool or the ocean or a lake are nearby, family members and friends are likely to be entering your home wearing wet swimsuits. Plus, in many vacation areas across the country, you have summer humidity to confront.
With that in mind, place rattan, wicker and bamboo furniture pieces throughout your home to fend off damage from moisture while at the same time giving the place a cozy cottage feel.
4. An Outdoor Party Space
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, and every day and night in between, there are almost endless reasons to hold a party at your summer home.
If you take the party from indoors to outdoors, guests can catch some rays during daytime, view glorious sunsets at dusk, and get refreshed with cool evening breezes when the day is done.
You might want to use an existing porch or poolside area as an outdoor summer party space. You could build a new patio, too. Regardless, festooning the area with string lights will give the party space a festive look. Many different types of string lights are available, including colored and themed ones, but classic white string lights will work almost anywhere, notes Freshome.com.
Buy some colorful all-weather plastic chairs, couches and tables and put together an outdoor party seating that’s conducive to conversation.
5. Showcasing a Collection
Regardless of where you’re vacationing, you may be tempted to visit local antique stores and flea markets to find unique pieces to add to your collection. Choosing an object to collect can make those visits more fun and, more importantly, you likely won’t be breaking the bank.
For example, collect large conch shells so you and the children can listen to the ocean by holding the shells up to your ear. Other possibilities include starfish, blue glass bottles, toy boats, enamel pitchers and figurines of bears or mountain lions, just to name a few.
Likewise, you could buy or repurpose a china cabinet and use it to show off your prized collection, rather than a formal dish set that you might rarely need.
Alternatively, if your summer home is short on space, put together a collection of antique picnic baskets and use those charming-looking, old-fashioned containers to store shoes and extra clothing beneath the beds.
6. A Reading Nook
Rain or shine, summer vacation is the perfect time to catch up on the reading you’ve been putting off. So buy a new ottoman and set it in front of a window in a quiet place, preferably with a scenic view. Add a bright throw and comfy pillows to add to the ambience.
You could also pile the windowsill or an adjacent bookcase or table with library books, new paperback novels, old favorites, the latest magazines and, if there are young kids in the house, children’s classics or storybooks for reading to them aloud before bedtime.
7. A Wall of Hooks
If you live near a sandy beach but your home doesn’t have an outdoor shower, install one and ask your guests to use it to remove the grit from their feet and swimsuits before walking into the house.
Other items can get sandy, too, though. So, set up a wall of hooks in or near the entry way for hanging shaken out beach towels, floppy hats, baseball caps and beach bags at the end of each beach day.
Additional Tip To Make Your Furniture Last
To make sure your furniture lasts year after year, clean it regularly throughout the summer and store it away during the rest of the year in a garage or self-storage facility. If you use a self-storage facility, choose a climate-controlled unit to prevent damage from humidity.
Additionally, give any furniture a final, thorough cleaning before sending it to storage for the winter in order to cut down on dust that might accumulate. Use mild soap for plastic, Murphy’s Oil Soap for wood, upholstery cleaner for fabrics and metal polish to ward off tarnishing on metal items.
Beyond protecting the furniture, itself, removing any crumbs or leftover food items will help ensure you don’t encounter any vermin or other pests. You’ll also want to disassemble the furniture and wrap the pieces in old sheets, blankets, drop cloths or plastic. But be especially careful with glass pieces by covering them with cardboard and then bubble wrap to avoid breakage.
The World of Summer Decorating is Truly Your Oyster
Of course, your options are just about limitless when it comes to decorating your summer home. Now, these tips might give you some new ideas. But most importantly your summer home décor should fit in well with the preferences and lifestyles of you and your family as well as the setting where it’s located.