Crisp, clear hues that speak to your personality are the secret to simple, sophisticated summertime interiors.
"Your interior says a lot about who you are, so take the time to find things that you love and display them with an artist's touch," suggests Carolyn Allman, owner of the C. Allman Design Group in Medford.
Discover and embrace your favorite colors, playing with their intensity and hues to come up with your own custom palette for warm weather décor.
"What I think is important about color is unusual pairings," says Allman. "Experiment with different colors; mixing things up is so much more interesting."
That means introducing surprising pillows and eclectic textiles in fresh versions of the color wheel, then accenting them with bright flowers and lush plants.
Pay attention to what's underfoot, as well. Little cotton throw rugs with big color add splash to any room.
"These have a 'pop' to them with stripes that combine really fun colors," says Sharon Filipowicz, owner of Maizey's Bath, Body & Home in Ashland.
Roll up the area rug and toss out a tiny toe-pleaser that features a wide stripe of forest green with narrower stripes of deep red, yellow, orange and pink. Then mix and match a few other rugs for a whimsical appeal. Because they are cotton, these rugs are easy to wash, so no worries about the grass, sand and dirt that trails in on bare feet.
Summer tablecloths, runners and napkins lean toward soft shades of greens and yellows, offset by a creamy, milky color.
"I tend to stick with the solids, which are better than patterns for a wider variety of table decorations," says Hazel Barry, owner of Veranda in Medford. "Above all, bring the garden in and keep it light and fresh with greens and whites."
Displayed as interior elements, trellises, flowers, birds, wall screens and wall grates give a room an airy feeling. Try creating decorative height by placing a tall, rounded, white trellis on a counter or buffet, then surround it with artificial greens and let colorful dried flowers "climb" up.
"Artificial grass and greens are great because you're not as married to a color scheme and the green has a very calming, cooling feel," says Barry. "You can add white for a very fresh and tranquil atmosphere that's good for a kitchen or sunroom."
Iron screens — made mostly of wrought iron in its natural color or in distressed white, is another great summer accent that's right at home indoors.
"It has that see-through effect that's a little French country, but looks more contemporary and not as Victorian as flower patterns," Barry explains. An iron screen that's reasonably light can be attached to a wall as instant art or can even be hung from a ceiling for use as a subtle, summery room divider.
And a beach theme is always at home in the hottest season. Dress the table and seating areas in aqua and white fabrics and decorate with seashells, sea glass, bottles and rustic signs that point the way to the beach.
"Even if you don't live at the beach, anything coastal makes you think it's summer," Barry says. "It's all about bringing nature inside."
With a home so suited to summer, who needs a vacation?