Summer is in full swing and with lots of outdoor entertaining, upcoming Labor Day parties and more on the way, now is the time to make sure your house is looking beautiful. So who better to ask than the Editor in Chief of House Beautiful magazine herself? Sophie Donelson, the lady behind the stunning interiors and useful decor tips in House Beautiful, is giving us her rundown for having your home looking good for summertime…
HOW CAN WE UPDATE OUR HOME FOR THESE WARMER MONTHS, ESPECIALLY IN CITIES LIKE CHICAGO WHERE WE HAVE BEEN HIDING FROM THE WINTER FOR SO LONG?
Hit that farmer’s market (or farm!) and fill your home with peaches, potted basil plants and fresh cut flowers until the first snowfall arrives! Or take a queue from old-school decorators and throw a white sheet or drop cloth over a sofa or chair you’re sick of seeing. Add a pillow or three in a crisp print (check out our item on the new site Guildery!). A white slipcover is like tossing on a white linen dress, completely refreshing to the spirit. Oh, and wash your windows inside and out – the sun’s more fun when it’s unfiltered!
WHAT ARE SOME HOT COLORS FOR HOME DECOR THIS SEASON?
We commit a crazy amount of reporting to keeping up on key colors for the home each issue. For the July/August issue, our Color Crush column highlights outrageously potent blues, particularly a shade we call Ultramarine. People think of blue as a “safe” color. This is so not, and we love that. For fall we’re looking at colors like terra cotta, persimmon, ochre and mustard. Stay tuned…
HOW CAN WE ADD COLOR TO MAKE OUR ROOMS APPEAR LARGER AND MORE WELCOMING?
If you’re looking to make your space appear larger, you can use paint to downplay the contrast between ceiling and wall color since it’s the line that the eye uses to “read” how much space is in a room. But, don’t immediately think white paint. The effect of ceilings, trim and walls painted in a saturated color can work just as well. Without the cues of color contrasts between trim and ceiling color, there’s no information that says: it’s small in here!
But also better than any color trick, there are a few easy things you can do to make your space look larger: 1) declutter, 2) choose a few diverse and impactful pieces of furniture and 3) don’t push any of those things flush against the wall. Give your furnishings breathing room and you’ll find you have some too!
WHAT ARE SOME STATEMENT PIECES OF FURNITURE OR DECOR THAT CAN ADD POP TO A ROOM?
Personally, I think it’s a rug that takes a room from undone to polished. And, if you choose a notice-me color, you don’t have to do much else to the room. A statement rug will elevate everything it touches – it’s like a great pair of heels in that way. Also, buy it as large as you can. I promise it’s worth the investment.
In addition, think about big accessories. You’ll notice in our projects, it’s rarely tiny accessories that steal the show. You have to think big. I just saw some massive (like 18 inch diameter) shallow glazed terra cotta planters at Jayson Home – buy the turquoise one for the center of your dining or coffee table and toss some fruit, succulents or potted herbs in there.
If you don’t do a single big thing, collect lots of small items of a kind. Check out the feature on Charleston jewelry designer Janet Gregg in our July/August Small Spaces issue. She’s a master at this idea and brilliantly thrifty, too.
For more inspiration from House Beautiful for your summer updates, check out the gallery of some of our favorite photos from their recent shoots below: