By Beatrice Kemp
As June gloom floats away and Southern California sunshine becomes a daily staple for the next few months, why not lighten up your living space? This is the perfect time to take a careful look at each room in your home, de-clutter, and add elements that brighten.
Take stock and move it out
A simple, airy space always feels cleaner, larger and more inviting. Spend a few minutes in each room and you will be surprised to find how much accumulated during the nesting months of winter. Stacks of magazines on the coffee table or paperbacks on the nightstand. Throws, blankets, down comforters and other warm things to snuggle under tucked into the corner of the sofa or a favorite chair. New projects or hobbies shoved under the dining room table. You name it.
Now that the sun is out and it’s light until 8:00 or so, are you really going to pay any attention to this stuff? Not likely. So pack it up and put it away until Halloween—or toss it, donate it or give it away. Just move it out.
Make it sparkle
Now that you’ve cleared the space on the table, nightstand, window seat, floor or wall, find something that will bring a little sparkle into the space. A clear vase to hold bright summer florals. A large mirror, or several small ones, that will brighten a wall and add depth to the room. A mirrored tray to place on an ottoman or several crystal candleholders to grace your coffee table. Or try a large, clear glass bowl placed on your kitchen counter to fill with abundant summer fruits or citrus. Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond are great places to find that perfect sparkling clear glass accent piece—at a great price.
White. That’s it—the quintessential summer color. Think flowing white linen caftan. Dress the beds in white linens—sheets, duvet, pillows. Replace heavy silk window coverings with nearly sheer white panels. Use a white or light colored slipcover on upholstery and toss on a few colorful pillows in summer shades of blue, yellow, lime or coral. Consider changing out your lovely (and wintery) wool rug for one that mimics sand on the beach (check out Crate & Barrel for a lovely well-priced sisal rug). You will be amazed at how a few changes can bring summer into a room and lighten your spirits each time you step into it.
Keep it simple. When you see a lovely room that appeals to you, look carefully at how the space is used. While the design may appear complex, it is most likely uncluttered, with every piece having ample room to be displayed and appreciated. You will notice that the pieces don’t necessarily match, but rather blend beautifully. Try mixing and matching things you love, keeping in mind how they relate (design elements of harmony, balance and proportion). Just make sure they blend well. If you tend to collect, don’t put everything out but divide your collection and rotate displays periodically to keep them fresh and interesting. Most of all: keep it simple.
Beatrice Kemp, is the owner of BKemp Interiors and specializes in design and redesign of residential kitchens. Comments and questions can be sent to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.