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Our latest design article is now out in Velvet magazine but don’t worry if you missed it, you can read it here!

The clocks have gone forward, the evenings are lightening up and summer is on the horizon. There’s nothing better than shaking off the winter gloom and getting your house ready for the summer months. Victoria Harrison shares some simple tips to make your home lighter and brighter.

1 The White Company 3 The Contemporary Home

Update curtains to let the sunshine in

This is a simple update which makes a huge difference. Heavy drapes are lovely and cosy in the winter but for summer you need light, airy voiles and sheer fabrics to allow the sunshine to pour in. Update yours to make the most of those long summer evenings; if you need a bit more privacy you can always hang a blind behind the voiles. Invite the sunshine in by ensuring your windows are sparkling clean; scrub the frames inside and out to get rid of winter grime and polish the glass with a water and vinegar solution to make them gleam. Finally, declutter window frames to make sure that nothing is blocking the light; move ornaments, vases and photo frames to a shelf and keep windowsills nice and clear.

4 The Contemporary Home 2 Jan Constantine

Switch things around

In the summer you don’t need extra layers under your feet, so store heavy rugs away until autumn. With endless feet traipsing in and out from the garden it’s much more practical to have simple floorboards which can be swept clean. Banish heavy cushions and throws to a cupboard as well and lighten up for the summer months with soft and silky fabrics. Bright cheerful colours will give your house a lift, so indulge your home with zingy fabrics and cheery patterns. Think about reshuffling the furniture in your room to breathe a bit of life and fresh air into the space. In the winter we tend to group chairs close together and huddle around the fireplace or TV but in the summer months it’s nice to rearrange your furniture so you can sit in your favourite chair and look at the view out of the window rather than the TV screen. It’s the perfect time to declutter your living space too; in the winter we tend to gather our belongings around us, but summer is the perfect time to tidy up, store away unused items and make a fresh start.

5 The Contemporary Home 6 The White Company

Reflect the light

Reflect all that lovely summery light around your room with a large sparkling mirror. If you have recessed walls or dark corners a mirror is a great way to bounce light back into the room. Glass vases and candlesticks are good when it comes to adding extra sparkle too. I love mirrored furniture, but if you just want to update a few accessories rather than buy new furniture then mirrored lamp bases and photo frames are a good way of brightening up a scheme. Bunches of fresh cut flowers are the simplest way of bringing the outdoors in and they are a brilliant and inexpensive decorating staple throughout the summer. Even just a couple of blooms in a small votive will cheer up a room and add a layer of summer scent. Finally, small tea lights in mirrored or glass jars will add a cheerful glow to those lovely long summer evenings.

This article first appeared in Velvet magazine – issue 47 – May 2011.

Image credits: The White Company, The Contemporary Home, Jan Constantine, Dunelm Mill

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