Stylists explain how to give your home a simple summer makeover

Stylists explain how inexpensive changes can give your home a feel-good seasonal mood without a major overhaul

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 4:21am

A change is as good as a holiday, so they say. The difference is that holidays are short-lived - you soon come back to find everything as it was before. So why not make a change - in the form of a summer style spruce-up - to get that holiday feeling at home?

It needn't involve a major overhaul. Home stylists know that just a few simple, inexpensive tricks can update a look according to the season.

What Anja Silling, an art, design and decoration consultant at Melange Interiors, does in any seasonal makeover is to clear out all matter surplus to requirements. So the first task is to get some boxes and store all heavy and excessive decoration.

To help make the cut, Silling suggests taking an inventory of furniture and decorative items that you and your family are really using, and those you might want to exchange, or store for a future season.

"Sometimes the fresh discovery of a favourite piece will make a nice addition to the new living concept."

The aim should be to achieve a feel-good factor, she says. "Think about your personal style: are you the romantic type or do you prefer a more cool atmosphere? Do you have to plan for kids, frequent visitors, pets, formal entertainment - or will your friends be happy to watch rugby on the floor with some takeout pizza and a beer?"

If you're uncertain about colour schemes, Silling suggests creating your own mood board. "Cut out furniture items and other decorative pieces you like from interiors magazines. Get material samples and fabric swatches and stick them all together on the mood board. Once you see your creation, you can make your final choices and take it from there. This is a great tool to imagine what feeling the place will have in the end."

Basics should be timeless, she adds. An expensive piece of furniture must last you longer than just a season. Finishes and wall coverings will be too troublesome to change too often. Be creative with decorative accessories such as pictures, cushions, candles, and vases, Silling says.

Y.C. Chen, founder and creative director of hoo Interior Design and Styling, takes a cue from international trends. "We've been doing quite a lot of Scandinavian design lately. This is the perfect example of a clean, bright and fresh-looking home interior, ideal for warmer weather."

In summer, Chen likes to introduce bright colours. "I will get some colourful and patterned cotton cushions, put up nice colourful posters. I may consider changing the tablecloth or curtains to blue-striped textiles."

Energy is the essence of summer, Sherrie Coleman, owner of Sydney gallery Saltmotion, told design blog "In the warmer months, people put more energy into life. We want our key environment, our home, to reflect the way we choose to live, which changes with the seasons. Warm, comforting colours for the winter and cool, energetic, bright images for summer," she said.

Sarah Good, of Space Interior Styling, agrees. "For a fresh summer feel, lighten up living spaces with whites and beiges as your base, then inject colour with your accessories. Cushions, candles and throws are quick and simple changes that can completely change the energy of a room."

In line with global environmental awareness, "going green" is super-hot in home styling right now, Good says. "Pantone Emerald Green" was named colour of the year for 2013. Pantone calls it a "lively radiant, lush green" that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony". Good's palette would include bright spring green to olive, blue-green and teal.

Going green can also include adding indoor plants. "I always add flowers - fresh cut, bright stems - a feel-good finishing touch, and a summer must-have," Good says.

Summer is also a good time to replenish balcony or rooftop plants. As designer Alexandra Lauren, of Alexandra Lauren Designs, notes: if every home in Hong Kong played their part and placed one potted plant outside or in a window, "there would be 7.8 million additional plants to help keep our air clean".

If you're squeezed for space, consider vertical gardening. "Trellises can help foliage grow into fantastic formations." Honeysuckle and passionfruit vines are a great fast-growing climber for Hong Kong's climate, Lauren says. Having outdoor space isn't entirely necessary either. "Hardy, low-maintenance succulents, which only need to be watered about once a week and do not require a green thumb, are perfect for making indoor mini garden-scapes."

Above all with your seasonal makeover, be open to change, says Silling. "Even if you plan carefully, in the end there might be some mismatch … Maybe a new arrangement of the items will solve all or most problems. If not, there's bound to be a relative or a friend who was just looking for that very piece."