Sum­mer can in­spire decor all year

The Progress-Index - At Home - - News - MELISSA RAY­WORTH

The sun-drenched col­ors and invit­ing tex­tures of sum­mer pro­vide plenty of dec­o­rat­ing ideas. The trick is do­ing it right: A sum­merin­spired in­te­rior can be­come a tacky, trop­i­cal disas­ter if it’s done with too heavy a hand.

But with a light touch and strate­gic choices, your home can be bright­ened all year long by the fleet­ing beauty of sum­mer.

Above all, “do not be lit­eral with sum­mer,” says Los An­ge­les-based de­signer Betsy Burn­ham. Avoid putting up a sign that says, “Gone Fishin’” or dis­play­ing a col­lec­tion of seashells on a ta­ble, she says.

In­stead, try ex­am­in­ing the col­ors in­side a hand­ful of shells, then dec­o­rat­ing a room in those shades. Or up­hol­ster one piece of fur­ni­ture in crisp, sum­mery linen, rather than slip-cov­er­ing an en­tire room that way.

De­signer Joe Lu­cas of Lu­cas Stu­dio in West Hol­ly­wood, Calif., agrees: A life pre­server with the words “To the Beach” painted on it may not be some­thing you want to hang up, he says, even if you re­ally live a block from the beach. But a mix of sand-col­ored paint and ocean blue fab­rics can be a taste­ful re­minder of sum­mers by the shore.

Here, Burn­ham, Lu­cas and decorde­mon. com founder Brian Pa­trick Flynn of­fer tips on suc­cess­fully us­ing sum­mer as your de­sign in­spi­ra­tion.

Sum­mer Is Re­lax­ation

“Sum­mery in­te­ri­ors are best de­scribed as re­laxed,” Flynn says. “While au­tum­nal and win­try spa­ces are packed with rich vel­vets and earthy pal­ettes, sum­mery spa­ces are su­per-light, un­struc­tured and pretty darn ca­sual.”

Flynn uses de­lib­er­ate con­trast to point up that ca­sual feel­ing: “I like to jux­ta­pose su­per­re­laxed ele­ments such as slip­cov­ers or bed­ding made from washed linen with su­per­tai­lored ele­ments such as tai­lored tar­tan or pin­stripe ac­cents. The re­sult is preppy, but still ca­sual.”

Sum­mer Is Dis­tinc­tive Col­ors

One op­tion is a palette of muted sum­mer col­ors (sandy beiges, soft drift­wood grays, nau­ti­cal blues), which can be used through­out a room with­out over­pow­er­ing it.

Lu­cas is a fan of very pale gray wall col­ors

that in­clude just a hint of green or blue. They look great along­side nat­u­ral, pale wood fur­ni­ture.

Flynn rec­om­mends “washed-out blue” wall col­ors, such as “Kryp­ton” by Sherwin-Wil­liams or “Drenched Rain” by Dunn-Edwards. “Blues with the per­fect amount of gray in them tend to be time­less and also work as ‘new neu­trals’ — col­ors with tons of per­son­al­ity which tend to work well with al­most ev­ery other hue out there, as op­posed to bor­ing beiges and tau­pes.”

Th­ese muted blues pair beau­ti­fully with white, he says: “The mix of blue and white to­gether is to­tally time­less, plus it can be mixed up in many dif­fer­ent ways to up­date the look. Al­most all col­ors ac­cent blue and white well.”

The other sum­mery op­tion is to go vivid, us­ing grassy greens, gera­nium reds, deep corals and the teal of trop­i­cal wa­ters. Done right, th­ese col­ors can el­e­vate the look of a room.

“I’m a huge fan of teal and coral,” Flynn says. “I es­pe­cially love them to­gether, since it strikes the per­fect bal­ance of fem­i­nine and mas­cu­line.”

But tread care­fully. To bal­ance out th­ese sat­u­rated col­ors, Burn­ham sug­gests bring­ing in plenty of crisp white.

Also, Flynn avoids us­ing very in­tense yel­lows, “prob­a­bly be­cause grow­ing up in Florida, yel­low was pretty much every­where I looked, from the sun to home’s ex­te­ri­ors to

con­vert­ibles to swim­suits.”

Sum­mer Is Painted Wood

“Peo­ple al­ways think that they have to have their wood fin­ished in a stain,” Burn­ham says. “Why not a painted fin­ish? Paint your book­cases white... It’s sum­mery, but liv­able year-round. Or try paint­ing a floor some­where in your house, like a guest room floor.”

Lu­cas agrees: “We’re al­ways push­ing clients to paint out their dark cab­i­nets,” he says. “Ev­ery­one thinks their li­brary has to be stained a rich ma­hogany or dark wal­nut,” but there are bet­ter ap­proaches. “Paint it an off-blue-grey or lac­quer it a fun, brighter color.”

Sum­mer Is Nat­u­ral Tex­tures

“Sum­mery tex­tures re­ally make you want to curl up, kick your san­dals off, and just es­cape with a book or mag­a­zine,” Flynn says. “I use tons of linen in sum­mer-in­spired spa­ces, as well as cot­ton and tex­tured wo­vens.” Also, he says, “sea grass and sisal are other sum­mery tex­tures which will never go out of style.”

The key with th­ese ma­te­ri­als, says Burn­ham, is mod­er­a­tion. Ma­te­ri­als like rope or weath­ered wood are great “as long as you don’t have a room full of any of those items. One sisal car­pet, a rat­tan chair or a rat­tan seat on a wood chair,” is all you need, says Burn­ham.

Also, “glass is sum­mery,” she says, “but not cut glass. Not Water­ford crys­tal. Just re­ally sim­ple, New Eng­land look­ing pieces. Re­ally sim­ple glass­ware on a shelf.”

Lu­cas points out that grass­cloth is also both sum­mery and stylish, as are faux bois (wood grain painted on a non-wood sur­face) and faux sha­green (ar­ti­fi­cial shark skin).

Sum­mer Is Whimsical

Lu­cas sug­gests ex­per­i­ment­ing with just a touch of sum­mer silli­ness. “There are some re­ally fun wall­pa­pers,” he says, such as Katie Rid­der’s crab pat­tern in a pale salmon color, that are “def­i­nitely in­spired by na­ture and the sea.”

“Yes,” he says, “it’s ‘theme-y,’ but she does them in all sort of kooky col­ors” that bring a chic sense of irony to sum­mer dec­o­rat­ing. “You do a din­ing room in that, or a pow­der room in that,” Lu­cas says, “and it’s got a much more fun, light and airy look.”

No mat­ter your per­sonal style or ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion, Flynn says sum­mer can serve as in­spi­ra­tion.

“Whether you’re into the less-is-more ap­proach and want to stick with muted blues, whites and sand tones, or pre­fer the high-en­ergy, Caribbean-col­ored side of sum­mer,” he says, “there’s cer­tain to be some­thing out there for you.”

AP PHOTO/LU­CAS STU­DIO, INC., KARYN MIL­LET

This in­te­rior de­sign im­age re­leased by Lu­cas Stu­dio, Inc. shows a bar with a beach in­spired de­sign. The sun-drenched col­ors and windswept beach­front tex­tures of sum­mer pro­vide am­ple in­spi­ra­tion for in­door dec­o­rat­ing. Done wrong, a sum­merin­spired in­te­rior can be a tacky, overly trop­i­cal disas­ter. But with a light touch and care­ful choices, sum­mer can pro­vide ideas for an in­te­rior you’ll love all year long.

AP PHO­TOS

Above: This in­te­rior de­sign im­age re­leased by Lu­cas Stu­dio, Inc. shows a liv­ing room. The sun-drenched col­ors and windswept beach­front tex­tures of sum­mer pro­vide am­ple in­spi­ra­tion for in­door dec­o­rat­ing. Done wrong, a sum­mer-in­spired in­te­rior can be a tacky, overly trop­i­cal disas­ter. But with a light touch and care­ful choices, sum­mer can pro­vide ideas for an in­te­rior you’ll love all year long. Left: a bed­room de­signed by Brian Pa­trick Flynn for Cal­i­for­nia Home + De­sign Mag­a­zine, in­spired by a sum­mery, Florid­ian palette of white, coral and teal. Flynn finds this color com­bi­na­tion the per­fect bal­ance of mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine since deep blues are a pop­u­lar choice for men while coral, a mem­ber of the pink fam­ily, is a fa­vorite with women.

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