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posted: 6/14/2013 5:00 AM

Easy, breezy summer decor to lift your mood

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  • When decorating with houseplants, add them to an existing display or create a simple summer arrangement that combines a plant with a few summer accents.

      When decorating with houseplants, add them to an existing display or create a simple summer arrangement that combines a plant with a few summer accents.
    SHNS photo courtesy Nell Hill's

 
By Mary Carol Garrity
Scripps Howard News Service

To embrace the blissful, mellow season of summer, I sweep through my home, gathering up winter's rich, intricate layers and replacing them with light and breezy accents that let my rooms breathe.

Giving your home a summer makeover can be as simple as weaving in a few key pieces of seasonal decor. Here are some ideas:

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Live plants lend energy

I love what live houseplants do for my home in the summer. They refresh each room, bringing in new energy.

All you need to do when decorating with houseplants is to add them to an existing display or create a simple summer arrangement that combines a plant with a few summer accents.

You'll be amazed by how poking in a plant will amp up the impact of a display. Consider adding a few pots of ivy to take a tablescape to the next level. It's extremely easy to create.

For example, we placed a silver candelabra in the center of a miniature concrete birdbath and rested a wire globe over it. With the structure of the centerpiece in place, we just filled in the perimeter with pots of ivy. With its winding and twisting vines reaching out in all directions, the ivy made the centerpiece more exotic.

Maidenhair ferns are my favorite ferns to work with when decorating for summer. I'm smitten by their lacy, romantic fronds, a great contrast to the sleek, modern styling of the white pottery we use in lots of our summer displays at Nell Hill's. Here's a simple but stylish coffee-table display.

Start with a base, like a light, bright mirrored tray. Bring in dramatic height using a few taller pieces, like inexpensive but fetching pottery. Tuck a potted plant in the middle ground.

Then, finish with a few interesting details, like a stack of books, plates and beverage service.

In the summer, I tuck plants into likely and unlikely spots throughout my home. I always have something live on my windowsills, like a line of three small African violets in cute cachepots that are there right now.

I often place palms on the center table in my living room and on a pedestal next to the stairway in my entry. In addition to putting a Boston fern on the marble-top table in my dining room, I featured potted succulents at the center of my dining table. All these plants will look amazing and fresh and fun ... until I forget to water them!

Pillows perk up upholstered furniture

Dan once asked me: Where do all our pillows go to die? While I confess that I have more accent pillows in my home than the average person, I actually have fewer than it appears.

Here's my secret to getting twice the mileage from my pillows: I have two sets of pillow covers made -- one for the warm months, one for the cold months. When the seasons change, I unzip the pillow covers and replace them with the other set. Presto! My living room looks as if it's redecorated for the season just by changing out the accent pillows. You won't believe what a difference just swapping out your pillows will make.

What's your favorite color palette for summer? You can bring it to life with accent pillows. Do you crave high-voltage colors that are full of energy? Then mix up pillows covered in tangerine, lemon yellow, apple green and hot pink.

Some people love patriotic color in the summer, a nod to Independence Day. Mix up patterns that weave in these perennial favorites, like blue ticking trimmed in a red flange. Others like to float away on a summer dream, picking washed linens and the softest cottons in a delicate bouquet of creamy pastels.

Wicker, bamboo show beauty of nature

When I'm reworking my decor for summer, I like to replace my formal serving pieces, like silver trays, with informal pieces made from natural materials, like wicker and bamboo.

I like how the irregular, organic textures and lines bring the unpredictable beauty of nature into my home.

For a quick summer remake, lighten up an existing display by tucking in something that celebrates nature. Maybe it's setting your table with wicker chargers.

When decorating your mantel for summer, weave in a few natural pieces.

Add touches with new summer accents

Rustic metal trays add a charming country feel to summer displays.

You could use them to showcase pots of fern, a cluster of vases filled with hydrangeas or a hurricane displaying seashells from your vacation.

Nothing says summer like an old-fashioned picnic basket packed with bright summer dishes.

It's great to have ribbon on hand to hang a wreath on your door or suspend glass votive holders from trees and bushes in your garden.

Old-fashioned Mason jars look adorable holding treasures like river rocks from your family rafting trip.

Get creative as you enjoy a fresher, cleaner look in your home this summer.

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