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Designer Tips and Advice: Seasonal Decor


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Ways to Change Your Rooms for Summer and Winter

Q. Many people like the idea of updating their interiors for the seasons. What techniques do you use to transition your home from winter into spring/summer? Do you switch draperies, slipcovers, rugs, room arrangements, accessories, etc. to match the season? If so, how have you planned the temporary vs. the permanent elements of the room, and how does your color pallate lend itself to the changes?

    Lyn Peterson: "In today's fast paced world we no longer subscribe to those decorating rituals of the past. Now we have TV and computers. We have no time to change rugs. However, those small subtle changes that we make, almost unconsciously are still meaningful.

    "For me that means rolling up an oriental rug in the entry and leaving the gleaming wood floors. I started to do this to save wear and tear on my threadbare, decades old family rug during the most active skate board, roller blading, razor scooter seasons when people roll, rather than walk, through my home. But found I liked the pristine emptiness and now do it seasonally. In the family room I have a sectional and a door to the terrace. I remove a piece of the sectional in the summer months allowing better access to the outside and hopefully encouraging less TV watching through less seating.

    "Of course, I pack up my throws and quilts and remove a few throw pillows. Flowers, plants, evolve naturally, they sort of roll over like a wardrobe. All of a sudden something looks too wooly or a plant looks too "fall" and it is time to store the dried hydrangeas and put away the bittersweet. I summer a lot of my plants outside in the warm months..send them to plant camp in the yard. When there is so much visible greenery outside I find I need fewer inside.

    "Surprisingly I find I use candles, hurricane lamps, lanterns more in the summer than in the winter. The long twilights and slowly darkening evenings seem to engender them more than the pitch blackness of winter where I definitely need light bulbs. For winter a whole round of new 3 way bulbs to fight off the gloom. Install a dimmer switch. They cost under $10 and you can do it yourself. That way in these days of darkness you will always have just the right degree of light."

    Mary Baltz: "I do switch slipcovers and accessory items for the seasons. Most times I keep the base of things the same. Adding wicker, shell, boating pictures can add life to a summer room.

    "My personal palette has always been whites and neutrals because when you add color of any kind, even a bright bouquet of flowers, the change is dramatic. Temporary changes are nice because they can happen quickly. Sometimes moving a piece of furniture or using a piece differently can stimulate a whole seasonal room change.

    "Organization if very important in the seasonal home. Storage by season can help slipcovers, pillows, and linens be on hand for quick changes. Once you develop your seasonal style keep looking on all shopping trips fro the perfect accessories to add to your room.

    "Seashells, boating pictures, or anything nautical is treat for a summer room. Winter additions can be cashmere throws, pine branches in vases, blankets on tables, lots of bookson hand for winter reading. Sometimes minimal window treatments can be great to let in all the winter light."

    Tricia Foley: "I have a simple "shades of white"interior in my little country house that is a great backdrop for the changing seasons...In spring a bucket of bright yellow forsythia is usually blooming, summer brings piles of shells, and stones from walks on the beach and jugs of roses from my garden all over the house...I roll up the rugs and put away the flannel sheets and comforters... fall brings out the wool throws draped over chairs, a fire in the fireplace, and bittersweet branches to bring a little bit of the outdoors in ...the holiday season is always a "white Christmas" for me and amaryllis and paperwhites are potted with moss as well as greens and simple white lights on the tree... "

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