When I was a child, my mother would turn our house upside down every spring, changing over the winter décor to a cooler looking, summery look. The thick, nubby wool rug would be rolled up and a thin grass rug would be rolled out in its place. Pretty flowered slipcovers would cover the upholstery on chairs and the sofa. And even the heavy drapes would be taken down and replaced by lighter, simple curtains.
I don't go to nearly such extremes, but when the warmer weather comes, I like to change up my home's decor to give it a cooler, more streamlined look—and best of all, we're talking really cheap chic.
Strip stuff away. During the winter, I like to cozy up the place with throws placed over the arm of the sofas in the living and family rooms, and lots of accent pillows. I dot my chairs, sofas, and window seats. But in the summer, all these touches just make the rooms look hot, so I strip them all away. I take a weekend morning and just go around from room to room taking anything that looks wintery out and putting it away for a few months.
Put out summery touches. I've collected shells all my life, and keep my treasures in a pretty glass jar. Come summer, I pull out a few and scatter them on a table along with a few favorite framed photos of my family at the beach.
Bring in a flowery plant. I keep a wrought-iron outdoor planter in my living room year-round to fill with seasonal plants. In the fall it gets a pretty amber mum, during the holidays it gets a pink amaryllis or a bright red poinsettia, and right now it has a gorgeous white orchid that will last for weeks and weeks.
Get rid of the colored candles. I like gold in the winter, and prefer simple white for the summer. It's so cooling.
Give the bedroom a quickie makeover. The big puffy quilt at the foot of the bed will be put away, as will the deep-colored floral shams. I have another set in simple beige to match the spread for a streamlined summertime look.
Change a lightbulb. Save the really bright high-lumens bulbs for the dark days of winter. The lower the lumens (check the package on any CFL), the mellower the light, which just seems right for summertime lighting.