We all know that the British summer can be temperamental at the best of times.
One day it’s hot and sunny (yay!), the next the temperatures drop and the rain sets in. Maintaining that summer feel (along with a cheerful outlook) can at times feel like a bit of a struggle, especially when we got wet feet wearing sandals during another downpour and woolly jumpers occasionally seem like the wiser choice of clothing. Since most of us will spend a significant amount of time at home (due to said downpours, even if we’d rather sit in the park), it makes sense to see if we can bring some of that summer feel inside.
There are several styles that are reminiscent of everything summer: the beach shack look, the tropical look, the California boho look, as well as the British summer garden look. Whilst I’m not saying you should throw everything out and completely overhaul your home for the season, taking elements from these looks and incorporating them into your home will help to bring some of that summer feeling indoors.
Make hay while the sun shines
So, let’s look at some changes that can be made in your home, which will make you want to get out the cocktail shaker rather than the kettle. If you’ve been thinking about redecorating and repainting your walls anyway, then why not do it right now? Whilst whites and greys will never go out of fashion, if you’re looking for something more colourful (without being overwhelming) then something subtle like ‘blush’ is ideal. Not too sickly sweet, grown up, elegant and warm, this is the perfect colour to bring some summer warmth into your home.
When it comes to furniture (and if you’re looking to exchange a piece right now), bamboo or cane pieces are perfect. Think of each piece in terms of “lightness” i.e. how chunky, heavy, bulky does it look in a room? The same chair made from different materials will have a completely different impact. A comfy chair made from oak with a leather seat will always look heavier and more “wintery” than the same chair made from bamboo. Reclaimed wood furniture also has a feel of “easy summer living” and can break up a room that might otherwise look a little too formal.
Swap like for light
Exchange your rug or do away with it completely. I’m not saying throw out your old rug; it can be cleaned and stored away for the colder months, but think about bringing in something a little more colourful made from natural materials. Woven cotton rugs are generally a great choice, as are jute and sisal.
Change your heavy curtains and woolly blankets (granted, you might still need that one occasionally) for lighter fabrics. Play with soft colours and light cottons. The same goes for the cushions on your sofa; just new covers will give your sofa a completely new and fresh look without having to go through the expense of buying a new sofa.
Plants and flowers really do say ‘summer’ and nothing more so than informal bouquets that look like you’ve picked them in a field. Do away for now with things like roses (unless they’re the small cottage style variety) or orchids and instead opt for something like sunflowers, peonies, nigella, flowering mint, and any other flowers that are informal. As for plants, having a whole collection will not only improve the air in your home, it will also give it a little bit of that summery jungle feel. If it’s more British countryside you’re after, then why not fill pots with lavender, which will also make your home smell wonderful.
Decorate with fruit. No, I don’t mean you should try and nail a banana to your wall, but instead place an oversized bowl on your table and fill it with things like lemons, limes, pomegranate, kiwis etc. The more fruit, the more it will look like summer. And whilst we’re at the table, why not exchange your usual linen for bamboo placemats and your formal china for handmade pottery items.
All these tips are, of course, totally open to your own interpretation and there are no hard-and-fast rules to what will make each individual person feel like summer has finally arrived. However, when our homes look a little more seasonal we definitely feel a little less let down by the actual weather - wouldn’t you agree?
Carole Poirot is a freelance photographer and stylist who lives and works in London. Originally from France, she has also lived in Germany and uses these influences to help inform her own style and advice. Her ideas are also published on her blog at mademoisellepoirot.com.