New look for summer

If you find that your living spaces are feeling a bit down in the dumps, perhaps it's time to freshen up with subtle colours. There is a growing trend for our living spaces to be simpler, pared down and offering relief from the pressures and anxieties of the outside world.


Spring is a wonderful time to take steps to make your home comfortable and casual to enjoy during the summer. While any style of decorating has elements that can be formal or casual, there are certain things that you can do to any room to make it feel less structured and more relaxed.

Not quite white
It’s the details that make this living room, from the blue stripe in the rug, the rattan coffee table and the blue patterned soft furnishings and decor accessories. To achieve a casual look, pieces are often long, large, and horizontal, or circular in shape, rather than vertical and tall and petite. Tables are chunky and of a large scale, which gives a comfortable feeling, while providing space for storage and spreading out. This helps to create a restful look.

Use neutral tones for large pieces such as chairs and sofas; add vibrant colour with accent pillows, throws, and collectibles. Choose fabric and accessories in a variety of textures, shapes, and styles to create depth. Make custom slipcovers out of sheets to refresh and reinvent worn, dark furniture. Monochromatic colour combinations such as cream and white, icy blues, pale greens, and butter yellows lend a clean, simple feel.

Fresh accents
Transform pine furniture with shades of lightest blue, ivory and white to brighten interiors. Select a few of your favourite pieces, whether artwork, notes, photos, or mementos, and display them. Resist the temptation to clutter - stay current by replacing old with new as they come along.



Sea hues
Shades of aqua and cream mirror the vast ocean and sandy beach outside. A wicker accent table paired with a streamlined sofa introduces a mix of soft and strong elements to create a clean but comfortable feel.

Comfortable interiors
Formal or casual, urban or country - your home should feel comfortable and design plays a big part in that. Good design is not an exact recreation of a magazine photo - your home should be made up of what is important to you; your collections, family photos, old furniture with a history, reminders of travels or summer holidays - those are the design elements which make your homes comfortable, unique and most importantly interesting to the rest of us.

Simple living

From the oversize sofa and basketware to the whitewashed everything, this living room (ABOVE) is quintessentially shabby-chic. Remove obstructions from doorways and windows. The more easily you can see into and through a room, the larger and more open it will feel. Inexpensive roll-up reed or bamboo blinds provide privacy without obscuring daylight. Crisp white linen or gauze fabric can be draped over a black-painted dowel, found at home improvement stores, for a quick yet airy window treatment.

With homeowners on the lookout for more relaxed lifestyles, many homes today are totally decorated using the elements of casual decorating. The elements of a casual style of decorating can sneak into most any room and make it feel comfortable.

janice anderssen - coastal living - frank roop