conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Let the sunshine in
Summer design tips to make your house ready for the season



Bright accent pillows add a colorful punch to your home's summer interiors.

If winter is cocoon time, then summer is the time to burst out and show your true colors. You can turn your home from warm and cozy to bright, airy and vibrant. And, it can be easily done with just a few changes.

"The first thing I would do is a thorough cleaning. Wash the windows and window coverings. Let in the sunlight. Start with a clean slate," says interior designer CJ Mueller of Haven Interiors in Milwaukee. "There’s a reason why they call it spring cleaning."

A New Coat

After you’re done cleaning, you might want to add some fresh paint to one or more rooms. "A new paint color can make a huge difference for a little money," says Sarah Steltenpohl, designer with Swan Interiors in Wauwatosa. "Color can rejuvenate and even redefine areas of a house."

Change Your Accent

Make a big impact with some small items, says Mueller. "Put away the old accent pillows and throws on your sofa and replace them with brighter colors and patterns. You can choose lighter tones of the same colors if you like," Mueller says.

Bright, primary colors have made a comeback, says Steltenpohl. "Fabrics are available in beautiful true blues, greens, reds, oranges, pinks and gorgeous bold prints — not those washed out colors we’ve been seeing where you have to ask yourself if it’s blue, green or gray. We are even seeing some beautiful shimmery fabrics," she says. "I recommend recovering a chair or ottoman with some of that bright, shiny fabric — and see what a difference it makes."

Small Change

Comedian George Carlin once did an entire routine about how important all of our "stuff" is to us. The bigger our house, the more stuff we have. But summer is the time to stash some of that stuff. "Put away the heavier objects. Make it look like summer by putting some sand in glass hurricanes and place some candles inside, or put pebbles or shells in a pretty basket," Mueller suggests.

Another easy but effective change is to simply rearrange some furniture. Steltenpohl urges her clients to try something different. "Rethink a floor plan. Buy yourself something new. Take a leap and make a statement!"