1. Home
  2. Design Ideas

Quick Makeovers: 10 Ingredients for Instant Summer Style

Some say Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer! That means we’re less than two weeks away from long sunny days and unlimited visits to the pool. Late spring is also a great time of year to freshen up your interior by adding a big dose of summer style. Creating a vacation vibe at home couldn’t be easier, even if you’re on a budget. A few simple accents can turn your space into a retreat. It’s as easy as adding a bowl of lemons to the dining room table or a tropical leaf to the powder room. Keep reading for a collection of design ideas that instantly channel the relaxed vibe of summer!


Your latest trip to the beach can be the answer to your design dilemma. Seashells are the perfect treasures for filling urns, bowls and other containers. Even one or two shells placed on a windowsill, or a large statement shell atop a stack of books can get the job done. To avoid a “junky” look, choose special pieces and opt for a less-is-more approach. If your shell hunting provides less than desirable results, head to the craft store or shop online for a bag of shells that will double as decor. Don’t be afraid to mix in other interesting items, such as sea glass.

Tropical Leaves

Tropical greenery is inexpensive, long-lasting and summer-fabulous! While the palm frond in the photo above is faux, a real tropical leaf often costs no more than a few dollars, and it has the potential to last for weeks. We opted to go faux since we also used the leaves to jazz up our latest balloon arch (check out the full post here). We purchased a set of 3 for $8.99, which worked well since our greenery wasn’t going to be inspected up close. One of our favorite selections for ultra-realistic faux tropical greenery: this monstera leaf from CB2. Swoon!

A Potted Plant

When choosing potted plants for summer, one strategy is to opt for selections with a crisp, low-maintenance feel. Isn’t that the essence of summer?! We love succulents, especially if you have the perfect location that will give them plenty of light. As you can see in the photo above, you don’t need a huge plant or pot to make a big statement. A little goes a long way. This potted succulent would look right at home on a bedside table, bookshelf, or countertop.

Vases in Sea Tones

Since we’re on the topic of fresh greenery, let’s focus on how to display it…bring on the vases! It’s amazing how you can sometimes “shop your own decor” and pull pieces with a summery feel. Nothing in your closets that fits the bill? You can find inexpensive receptacles at craft stores, in home decor shops, in online marketplaces, and at garage and estate sales. Think blues and greens, with every shade in between (such as aqua and mint).


It’s no coincidence that four of the photos in today’s post feature a striped item. Summer stripes are quintessentially classic. Not only do they often evoke a retro feel, they create a crisp look, especially when one of the colors involved is white. Striped umbrellas, towels, sheets, pillows, outdoor furniture, and vases are great for the hottest season of the year, and they can live on in your interior as a promise of laid-back days to come. Below we see a Murano glass bowl, which reminds us of a jellyfish!


Woven Baskets

There are few things as on-trend as woven baskets at this design moment in time. One reason to love them: they create a well-traveled vibe at home, as if you’ve picked them up on your latest global adventure. Another reason to love them, this one truly practical, is the fact that they are amazing storage receptacles. Use them to hold small items such as car keys and your wallet, employ them as storage pieces for your kids’ toys, or simply decorate with them. Because they’re breezy and beautiful!

Turkish Towels

We’re seeing Turkish towels increasingly used in powder rooms to evoke a spa feel at home. Not to mention, they don’t take up a lot of space when folded, and they get softer with each wash. With their stripe-on-solid design, they can be purchased in a variety of palettes, and they make a lovely statement without dominating the room they inhabit. In other words, they’re as laid back as your favorite long summer day by the sea!

Drink Umbrellas

Technically, drink umbrellas don’t fall under the “decor” category, but ask us if we’ve ever displayed one or two of these on a shelf, and we at Decoist won’t be able to deny it! We’re especially smitten with these striped French beach umbrellas from the Oh Happy Day Shop! They will make your next party a party, or you can use them throughout the summer and let their magic slowly unfold, one poolside beverage at a time:


Why are watercolors so summery? Perhaps seeing each dreamy brushstroke reminds us of the ocean’s intricacy. In fact, the backdrops for today’s photo shoot were canvases painted with watercolors. Painting is a family-friendly project that grown-ups and kids alike can enjoy. It’s hard to go wrong when you have soft tones and paintbrushes by your side! Invest in some beautiful artwork or create your own. There’s magic in the simplicity of watercolors.

A Bowl of Lemons

We wrap up right where we started: with an urn of lemons. There’s nothing more summery than a heaping bowl of citrus fruit. We love the yellow of lemons, especially when it’s juxtaposed with bright white and shades of blue. Plus, this is a centerpiece you can enjoy eating and replenishing throughout the summer months!

We at Decoist wish you and yours a beautiful end to spring and a festive start to summer! Thanks for reading.

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

You might also like