This year’s bright and easy summer living room is freshened up with new pillows, an arrangement of blue and white ceramic ware on the mantel, and shells…scattered everywhere!
To get my summer living room started, I was trolling Home Goods for fabric inspiration. I searched through table clothes, runners, napkins, placemats, and nothing jumped out at me as being pretty, light and summery. I was looking for fabrics that are subtle, floral, a bit classic and in the colors I like to use for summer. My favorite color to use in the living room for summer is a very light creamy aqua color; not quite turquoise, not quite teal, not quite sea-foam. But I finally found exactly what I was looking for – in the bathroom section. I picked up a shower curtain that was almost beyond perfect! (I may have squealed a tiny bit!) You can see the 3 pillows I sewed from the shower curtain in the picture below and further down in the post.
I have a foundation of 3 colors that are permanent in our living room.
Brown or wood tones
I have a lot of wood in our living, and none of it is light colored. The built-ins on each side of our fireplace, our mantel over our fireplace, the coffee table and our dining table are all dark wood. Oh, even the carved bar my father brought back from the far East (before my parents were married!) is dark wood.
Our carpet is cream color and all our crown molding and baseboards and shutters are Sherwin Williams Arizona white which is a warm white. I use lots of candleholders that I have spray painted with Antique White; I also collect, display and use white pitchers. These are the decorating elements that pull in that lighter color. I also have a large display of cream-colored hydrangeas in a galvanized French flower bucket; this bouquet never leaves the living room, except for at Christmas.
I love greenery and live plants, as all as faux leaves and topiaries. Green is flexible enough to be either a background neutral color or serve as a more predominate color.
The real challenge in our living room is the wall color. It is gold. Not just light gold; it’s a rich, warm, deep gold. During our remodel, we had endless paint samples going on the living room walls. (This was before Pinterest and home décor blogs!) While working at a job site, Sailor noticed the wall color in the lobby of the building and was able to find out the name and the manufacturer (Golden Needle by Dunn Edwards). So that is how we came about our wall color. And honestly, we get so many compliments on it.
The highlight color for summer that I add to all of this is the aqua. It fits in well with all of the above, PLUS it plays nicely with our gold walls. Keeping the color palette contained with the basics of wood tones, ivory, and greenery, and using the creamy soft aqua color makes for a bright and summery feeling in our living room.
Seashells are scattered about as part of the summer theme as you can see in the photos. There is a bowl full of them sitting on the coffee table. On one of the window shelves, a shell sits in a tray in front of a burlap lined tray (birthday gift from my stepson’s girlfriend). More shells scattered amongst the plants, chicken wire and a miniature woven chest on the other window shelf. (It reminds me of the furniture that Bombay Company sold.)
The coffee table was easily put together with a bowl full of shells, a shell candle on a candle holder and a white pitcher holding a clutch of arrowhead leaves growing in a water glass. Please read more about how I put it together here.
The couch is filled with light-colored summery pillows, including two pillows wrapped in dishtowels from Home Goods. The larger, back-up pillows are covered in the shower curtain fabric from Home Goods. The prints over the couch were a splurge last year; they are a bit unusual, but they bring in a nice pop of brighter, summery colors.
Here are a few pictures with a closer view of the pillows. I like pillow arrangements to have a sense of symmetry and rhythm, and that is what I attempted to do here. In this picture below, the back pillow is made from the shower curtain; the front pillow is a made with a Waverly fabric from JoAnn’s.
In this picture, again you can see the back pillow is the from the shower curtain fabric, the green buffalo plaid pillows are covered in dishtowels from Home Goods, and the front pillow is covered in “Tea Fruits” from Waverly. (It was the end of the bolt, and Walmart was almost giving it away!)
And here is the 3rd ‘shower curtain’ pillow! I was actually a bit impressed with myself to get 3 pillows out of it.
The mantel came about from a post I wrote a few weeks ago about decorating a mantel. I put this grouping together kind of on-the-fly as part of the post but then realized that how much I liked it.
So I am incorporating it as part of my summer mantel, and including starfish shaped shells sitting in the dividers of the window.
My stepson’s girlfriend made the Grateful & Blessed sign, using Scrabble tiles and a tile holder, as a birthday gift.
Flanking both sides of our fireplace are my little challenge spots. These are shelves in front of windows with a less than a stunning view. They are the perfect spot for plants (arrowheads and pothos are my choices), and I have mixed in a few decor pieces for effect.
Here is the shelf on the left side of the fireplace.
Here is the shelf on the right side of our fireplace.
And then an easy summery dining table with grocery-store gladiolas, shells, and candles. I love how tall these gladiolas are, and how they fill the space.
The prints above the dining table have been part of my summer look for years. A few years back, my brother and my nieces were visiting, and I took them to Coronado, to tour the Hotel del Coronado. One of my very favorite stores at the “Del” (as everyone calls it), is called Babcock & Story Emporium. They sell beautiful, unique home décor items. I rarely purchase anything there (it’s a little pricey!) but the minute I saw these prints, I knew I had to have them.
There you have it…a bright and easy summer living room created by using fresh pillow prints and lots of shells. Nearly everything else is an item I use almost year round. These are just a few ways to create a summery feel in your home.
From our home to yours,
I am sharing at these link parties:
My Soulful Home Sundays at Home
Marilyn’s Treats Over the Moon
Cedar Hill Farmhouse The Scoop
Marilyn’s Treats Wonderful Wednesday
Faeries and Fauna Waster Not Wednesday
Savvy Southern Style Wow Us Wednesdays
Very bright and summery! I love it when items (like the shower curtain) can be repurposed for something completely different! Good reminder to always keep our eyes open for possibilities. They are everywhere! You’ve done a great job mingling the colors… they are so different, but they all work together.
Thank you Janis – the cool tones of the aqua really stand up to, and contrast well against all those warm wood and wall colors. That room can be so dark, so getting it to look brighter is a challenge.
And yes…that shower curtain…you can bet I will be spending more time lurking in that aisle at Home Goods!
Beautiful as always. I love it when you finally find the thing you’ve been looking for, especially when it is in an unexpected location! The shower curtain was perfect.
I couldn’t believe it when I found that shower curtain – I was ridiculously excited! I fall in love with it again every time I look at it. Thank you for popping over!
Thank you Amanda — and thanks for stopping by!
Very nice summer touches that truly enhance your classic home. Love your use of the shower curtain and dish towels for your pillows. Fabric is fabric, no matter what it was originally used for. Over the years I’ve used table cloths for curtains, curtain as shower curtains, sheets as duvet covers, pillow covers from quilt remnants, old blue jeans and sweaters, etc. This all opens up so many decorating opportunities. I’m sure your use of the shower curtain and dish towels as fabric for your new pillows will inspire others to try this creative idea. Had two questions and a suggestion – have you considered painting your walls a lighter color? If you basically like the existing color, paint can be mixed at various percentages that preserves the original color in a lighter tone (I think that would complement and set off the colors of your furniture), also have you thought of painting the built ins and mantel? I think they would look nice painted the same color as your woodwork. Your lovely bird pictures are very distinctive and do add to the summery vibe you are going for. My suggestion – try hanging them with the birds facing in towards each other (rather than with their backs to each other). This would make them a unit, with the focus on them being a connected pair. Try it, I think you will be pleased with the result. Again, thank for sharing your summer ideas.
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and leave such a detailed comment! It sounds like you have had a lot of experience with using fabrics in unexpected ways. I am definitely going to borrow some of your ideas.
And thank you for your observations about the wall color and the mantel/built-ins. We actually remodeled that room a little over 10 years ago, so it’s all fairly new, and we’re pretty happy with it. Your idea about switching the bird prints to face each other is spot-on….I will switch them right away! That’s a great idea – thank you so much for mentioning it!