July 15, 2010
It is going to hit 112 degrees here in Palm Springs today. Before you all drop over, keep in mind that this is normal mid-July temperature for us. While the entire East Coast and Midwest is suffering under high heat and humidity, we desert dwellers are used to the heat this time of year… in fact, some of us even enjoy it! This kind of heat last right through October for us. By the time Halloween rolls around if it’s still HOT I will be complaining too, don’t worry!
These long hot days got me thinking about beating the summer heat and living well. Many of you may have had mothers or grand-mothers who “summerized” your houses when you were growing up. I have many fond memories watching and helping, as the winter draperies and rugs were exchanged for lighter summer styles and colorful slip-covers softening and brightening our rooms. I will always remember coming home at the end of the school year to find my mother had filled our house with bouquets of fresh Lilacs from the yard. The scent was overwhelming and filled the entire house. To this day that scent reminds me of my boyhood and I still buy bunches of cut lilacs as soon as they come available for my home!
I know that kind of effort and expense is pretty much a thing of the past. Not to mention the time and storage that kind of lifestyle entails! The great news is…. you can still change over your house from warm, cozy winter, to sunny, cooler summer living! It’s really simple…. you can make a few changes and get BIG RESULTS!
In my own home I actually have a linen covered sofa but, the bench seat cushion has a winter cover of rich jewel tones paisley and summer cover of bleached canvas… A lot less expensive than full slip covers and only one piece to store!
I am a LOVER of throw pillows and there is no easier way to change the look of a chair, sofa or bed than changing the pillows, AND it doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Yes, I have been known to give my clients throw pillows that cost in excess of $2,000.00 a piece but, I can also assure you that they are layered with pillows from stores like Homegoods, Marshall’s and Target!
Here is my trick to buying GREAT pillows at LOW prices…. look for the details! All of the stores I mentioned have some really terrific quality throw pillows if you know what to look for. First thing I do when a style catches my eye is touch it…. how does the fabric feel? Is the fill down and/or feather? If the pillow doesn’t have a feather fill but, I still love the style and fabric I check to see if the pillow has a zipper. Better pillows are made with zippers to clean the cover and change the fill. It’s a quick and easy job to change out foam inserts for down ones! I never use foam filled pillows…. EVER. You can buy feather filled inserts at craft and fabric stores and at stores like Pottery Barn, because they sell their throw pillow covers separately from the insert.
When looking for new pillows to brighten your room make sure you introduce some new colors and shapes. If your winter look is darker with velvets and suedes, why not go for linens and cottons with embroidery as a fresh change from fringe or heavy trims. Throw pillows are one of those great accessories that can change the tone of the entire room! It is how I layer color and pattern and give rooms personal style, whimsy and character. Simply stated….Have Fun With Them!
A few other simple tricks are… roll up your rugs! Bare wood, tile or stone floors can be very handsome, not to mention cool and sleek for a summer style and can brighten the entire room. Simple rag rugs or sisal can not only brighten a room but make it quite sophisticated and still casual. In summer I take up my winter rug and expose more of the stone floors and only use a lioness hide trimmed in leather under the coffee table!
Scent is very important to me, especially in my home. I can tell you that I have never had a visitor to my home that has not commented on how great it always smells. I use my own signature brand of candles (sold thru my studio) as well as diffusers, plug-ins and fresh flowers. I always save that cork that comes with the diffuser bottle…. so that I can change the scent without wasting what is left. I use rich, complex scents in my home in winter and lighter, natural scents for summer. And, I layer more than one scent in all of my rooms, never do I use the same scent in multiples in the same room. It is important to speak to all of the senses!
There is still plenty of summer left to use some of these tips! Get out there today and make it happen for yourselves! I’ve given you ideas and resources, now go make your life more beautiful!