Whether increased at-home time has you feeling tired of your interior decor or the start of summer has spurred your creative juices — maybe both! — now is a great time to freshen up your space. Instead of splitting your time between the beach, a lake house, or a bucket-list vacation, you're likely shifting between your living room, bedroom, kitchen, and outdoor space (if you have one). This makes an inspiring home all the more meaningful and a lot easier to focus on if you're working from it. While a stylish space is ideal regardless of social-distancing protocols, tips for refreshing your space for summer couldn't be more beneficial when you're working, relaxing, and pseudo-vacating in your own home.
No matter your decor style or type of home, you can make plenty of changes that will reinvigorate your space, big or small. The swap of pillows, throw blankets, or bedding is an easy change. Switching out rugs or curtains takes things a step further, while new lighting fixtures, artwork, and accent pieces can be transformative. If you have an outdoor space, seasonal lighting, planters, and accessories will create an oasis-like feel — what could be better in the summer months?
To give you the specifics on the fabrics, colors, and accents that feel freshest in the heat, three interior designers share their tips ahead. From stylish decor pieces to tips for arranging (and re-arranging!) your space, take in their pro-advice and discover the edit of pieces to shop if you're in the mood to make a purchase.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With Lightweight Textiles
Cozy throws and pillows are mainstays in the home and great for creating texture, but when the weather warms, they can feel a bit heavy. Alicia Bailey — founder of Bailey Li Interiors — recommends sheer cotton or flowy, washed-out silk fabrics draped around a bed or seating area for a bit of drama. "The look and feel is reminiscent of being in an island bungalow under a huge romantic cabana or canopy."
Sarah Brady — founder of the New Jersey-based interior design company, Salt Design Co. — says lighter fabrics and softer colors are her favorite go-to's when swapping out textiles for summer. "I love introducing new pillows, throws, and bedding at the onset of the warmer weather. It automatically makes the house feel lighter," she tells TZR. "I also like to switch out any heavier throws or decorative pillows and replace them with textiles that are made from lighter fabrics such as linen and incorporate more white into the color scheme."
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With Natural Fiber Rugs
While throws and pillows are easy accents to switch out for summer, Gabriela Gargano — the founder and principal designer of New York City-based design firm, Grisoro Designs — recommends changing rugs for more significant impact. "Swapping rugs, particularly from a wool rug to a natural fiber like sisal or seagrass, instantly adds a summer feel," she tells TZR. "They are also low cost and take wear-and-tear very well."
Refresh Your Space For Summer: With Bright Accessories
Color is a great way to keep your summer spirits high, with accents being the easiest update to try in your home. "Go crazy with accessories," says Bailey. "Brightly colored pillows, poufs, cushions, rugs, florals, plants, candles, hammocks, etc., for both indoor and out."
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With Summer Scents
Scent sets the tone in any home, and in summer, light, bright fragrances are quintessential. "A citrus-scented candle immediately makes me think of summer," says Brady. If you're not a citrus fan, delicate floral scents like gardenia or jasmine smell equally as fresh. The same goes for crisp cotton scents and earthier aromas that capture the essence of fresh-cut grass, the beach, or rainfall.
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With Linen Bedding
A common culprit of unrestful sleep in the summer? Too-heavy bedding. Instead, Gargano says, "replace your bedding with linen over cotton. It stays very cool, doesn't require ironing, and has a beautiful, casual feel."
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With Fresh Florals and Planters
"At the start of any season, I refresh the florals in my space," Brady tells TZR. "I always love having fresh greenery throughout my house, but in the warmer months, I love to brighten a space using seasonal blooms. It helps bring the outdoors in and adds a fun pop of color."
For those with outdoor space (tiny terraces totally count!), Brady says to fill a few large planters with your favorite plants to liven up your space. "I like to use planters in and around seating areas to add life and color," she says. "Smaller planters are great for accessorizing outdoor coffee tables or side tables."
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With Serving Pieces
You may be entertaining less at home this season, but you're undoubtedly cooking more. For a simple kitchen refresh, Brady suggests summery serving pieces to spruce up snacks and meals. "I love incorporating seasonally appropriate serving pieces alongside my tried-and-true staples, such as my wood cheese board and white platters." Another easy update? Place mats! Particularly handwoven styles made from natural materials.
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With Outdoor Lighting
Whether you're the proud owner of a wooden four-seater swinging dining suite as Bailey recently designed or working with a small patio or terrace, Bailey and Brady recommend unique outdoor lighting to transform a space for summer. For a glamorous look, Bailey suggests chandeliers to dress up an outdoor space. "For a romantic evening on the back deck, [a crystal chandelier] will spruce up the new norm of at-home date nights."
Brady says lanterns and string lights will add personality to an outdoor area, especially spaces done in a neutral palette. "[They] add ambient light without being too harsh or overly lit." The designer also recommends a fire pit for those with more space. "Not only does it provide light and great ambiance, but it also helps keep the bugs away."
Refresh Your Space for Summer: With An Outdoor Rug
For larger outdoor areas, Brady tells TZR, "I'm also a huge fan of an outdoor rug to anchor a sitting area. They provide added warmth to a gathering space and give your feet a break from hot surfaces such as decking and pavers."
You can also use outdoor rugs to form a seating area around low tables on a lawn — it's a charming way to add style to an alfresco meal at home that's easier on the grass as opposed to chairs with legs that can create holes.
Refresh Your Space for Summer: By Relocating Accessories
If you're looking to update your space without buying anything new, Gargano says moving around art and accessories is the easiest way to give your home a fresh feel. "I like to gather all of the art and accessories in secondary bedrooms and bathrooms, which you naturally see less often, and swap it into locations like your master bedroom, kitchen, or powder room," she tells TZR. "It feels fresh and breathes new life into your home without any cost!"
Refresh Your Space for Summer: By Creating Small Focal Points
Gargano says another way to give your home fresh feel with little to no cost is by creating small focal points within your home. "Pick two or three areas to create a fresh vignette. I love to do this at the entryway and in the powder room," the designer says. Her biggest tip is to center in on small accessories with a light-and-bright feel like a soft-colored tray, fresh summer scent, modern trash can, or a glass bud vase. "It doesn't have to be elaborate to make a big impact."
Refresh Your Space for Summer: By Revamping Your Walls
For a bigger transformation, a summer refresh to your walls can reinvigorate your space without painting or incorporating wallpaper. "As a designer who's also a decorative and installation artist, I love adding a huge burst of color via hand-painted wall murals," says Bailey. "If you're not an artist yourself, here's your opportunity to support your local artists by commissioning them to create an abstract or more defined accent wall in your home. The 'wow' factor it lends is truly unmatched and well worth the investment."
Gargano recommends wall lighting or unique accent pieces like a mirror to freshen up interiors, even in a rental space. "Sconces are a great way to save table space and add a more soft lighting source than recessed lighting. Plug-in sconces are also a great alternative so that you don't have to hire an electrician." Regardless of whether your space is temporary or not, Gargano says, "it's important to have pieces you love and can take with you. We often recommend accent chairs, a stool, and artwork as a great place to purchases special pieces that you'll have for a lifetime."