If you’re a “summer” person, consider decorating in the colors of the season.

By Tammy Adamson-McMullen

Are you a “summer person”? Do you love warm sunshine, blue skies and green grass? Does your heart skip a beat in a blooming garden? Do you have trouble passing a fresh produce stand without stopping? Do you look forward to picnics, county fairs, days at the beach and endless barbecues? If so, then a summer color scheme might be just what you and your home need. Rather than saying goodbye to summer on Sept. 22 (the official start of autumn), you can live with its glories all year long.

How can you add summer’s colors? Any way you wish! Add them sparingly in pillows and linens; a bit more lavishly, with an area rug or two and a painted or wallpapered accent wall; or with complete abandon, by redecorating your space from top to bottom. It’s your summer vision, after all, so create the season the way you experience it.

Say “Goodbye” to Winter

Before you add summer colors, first be sure to remove all those items that say “winter.” Store away pillows, linens, area rugs and any other items that are darkly colored and/or heavily texturized.

If your windows are layered with heavy draperies, consider removing a layer or two to let in the sunshine. You might even remove your draperies altogether and opt instead for shades, blinds or shutters, which offer more convenient light control. The extra light might show you where dust has accumulated. So do some dusting, too, to make your space clean and fresh.

Think Green

Now it’s time to add summer color! Nothing says “summer” like the color green. All botanical greens currently are trending—limes, sunny olives, shady ferns, soft sages, deep mosses, grassy greens, lettuce and so on. Blue-greens also are popular and look sophisticated when paired with truer greens and white.

Nearly any color scheme can support green, as long as you keep the colors in harmony. An olive green, for example, wouldn’t work with a soft pastel color scheme. You’d be better off choosing lime. Also, be sure to choose a green that works with the temperature of your existing colors. If your scheme is cool in tone, choose a shady green that has undertones of cool gray or blue. If your color scheme is warmer, choose greens that are touched by yellow. These are the greens that you’ll find in the sunniest part of your garden or flower bed.

Add White

Adding white to a space immediately brightens it up and imbues it with a feeling of freshness. You don’t have to add large swatches of white to create this effect. Even a small amount can do the trick. (Think of how a colorful bouquet looks when baby’s breath is added, for example.)  If you already have white painted walls, consider adding a coat of  “whiter white” or choose a slightly higher sheen level to give the white some punch.

A white area rug or two also can brighten up a room. Choose either a solid-white rug or one with a white background. If you’re worried about the rug getting dirty from foot traffic, choose a material that cleans easily, or place the rug where it won’t be stepped on, such as under a coffee or end table. And don’t forget to add white pillows to your sofas and chairs. These small and inexpensive accoutrements can brighten up even the darkest of fabrics and color schemes.

Pick a Flower

If you want to change your color scheme altogether, then think of the color of your favorite flower, fruit or vegetable. Use this color as the main hue in the scheme and pair it as suggested below. And don’t forget to add some green here and there, to make the scheme look garden fresh.

  • Purples: Take your pick—lilac, orchid, violet, chives, clover and so on—and combine it with an earthy brown or taupe. Accent with white to brighten the combination.
  • Reds: This color family is trending from light to dark. You’ll see lightly grayed pink (antique rose), orange-reds (peach and salmonberry), mid tones (tomato) and brighter colors (poppy). Reds in every strength pair well with charcoal browns and grays, with white, gold or silver as an accent.
  • Blues: Choose from lighter blues (bluebells), deeper blues (delphinium), blue-greens (hellebore) or more complex shades (hyacinth). For the freshest of schemes, pair blue with white and accent it with vibrant pops of yellow.
  • Yellows: The most summery of colors, yellow is trending in so many hues, including light yellow (cowslip), mid-tones (dandelion and lemon); orange-yellows (marigold); green-yellows (creeping jenny); and brown-yellows (mustard seed). Pair clear yellows with green; orange-yellows with red, citrus green or cobalt blue; green-yellows with charcoal gray; and brown-yellows with complex purples like avocado. Accent any of these combinations with white.

The Real Thing

In your quest for eternal summer, don’t forget to add real botanicals to your home, too. Choose houseplants that thrive year-long and place them in colorful containers that match your new, summery color scheme. Houseplants added to a new color scheme can make your home look and feel like a garden all year long … even as the temperatures start to drop and the leaves start to turn.