Homes: Decorate your home this summer without being cheesy

Homes: Decorate your home this summer without being cheesy
A citrus-themed melamine tableware set is durable and colorful enough for any outdoor meal. (Photo/Boxwood)

By Leah Donahue

Maybe it’s the primary, bold colors that can be hard to pull off. Or maybe it’s the plethora of beach signs with saccharine sayings like “Sandy toes and salty kisses” or “Happiness comes in waves.” But I truly believe summertime is one season that does not need a home decor section. I even maintain this position for vacation homes – we all know when we’re a mile from the beach, we don’t need a reminder around every corner.

However, since Memorial Day will be here before we know it, here are four plausible ideas to give your home some tasteful summer flair.

First and foremost, invest in the exterior. Why is patio furniture often more expensive than regular furniture? I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason for the price difference, but it can be hard to buy anything else after investing in a patio set. If you’re using handme-downs or mismatched furniture, kudos to you. If desired, you can always paint it a bright color to create a cohesive look.

Regardless, there are a few “summery” accessories that can make your outdoor space a delight.

A high-quality melamine set is a must. For those who don’t know, melamine is a chemical used in the manufacturing of plastic tableware. It gives the dishes a harder, more durable feel than standard plastic, making them perfect for outdoor use or for everyday use with kids.

Personally, I’m a sucker for lemons – pun intended – so a yellow and green lemon pattern is a top pick. Blue and white patterns are also classic and timeless. To keep that table clean, you can use outdoor-friendly placemats made out of vinyl that are easy to wipe down after a meal.

Another key accessory is lighting. Whether you string lights above your space, burn a bunch of candles or get modern, portable table lamps, you’ll want extra lighting for a special outdoor table.

Then, you can throw on a seasonal blanket. A good nautical blanket – with designs like a crab or rope – can take a neutral sofa straight through to Labor Day.

You can get sustainable blankets that feel soft and aren’t too heavy for the humid months. Some cotton blankets are made out of refiberized t-shirt scraps. This process helps reduce landfill use and requires no additional cotton dyes or chemicals. And the lovely nautical designs make a polite nod to the ocean – they don’t scream it.

Also, look for more natural touches. And no, I’m not talking about collected seashells in the guest bathroom. The rattan trend seems here to stay for a bit longer, and I’m all for it – as long as it is balanced with heavier pieces. A piece of coral in any color is one of my favorite organic shapes for a coffee table or bookshelf. I’ve even seen larger coral displays replacing logs in the fireplace for the season.

Lastly, find some low hanging fruit. You can switch out your bedding for crisper, white linens. Or replace your boring lampshades with brighter color shades – you’ll be shocked how much new life it can give a space.

Other quick and easy additions include scented candles that evoke the memories of summer, hydrangeas in the kitchen and citrus in the entryway.

Now all you need are a lime margarita and steamy romance novel to read in the sun. After all, life is better at the beach, or so says the sign.

The writer is co-owner of Old Town home décor and design store Boxwood.