It’s almost frustrating that the very first thing we all must do to get ready for fair weather is clean everything. Boring! So let’s pretend the fairies have come and done that for us, and all we have to do is play with pretty decor items, plant flowers and enjoy some DIY time.
Here are 40 minimum-effort ways to spruce up your space for the seasons ahead.
- Change your wreath. Welcome visitors who dawn your doorstep with a sisal-wrapped wreath complete with flip flops or starfish. Sari silk also looks great wrapped around a Styrofoam wreath form, but try to keep it out of the rain.
- Paint some pots. A coating of bright, dollar-store acrylic paint on the terra cotta pots on your balcony is an instant ray of sunshine.
- Plant your feet. Old wellies may be suitable only for the dog park as a fashion statement, but they’re a cute touch of whimsy as planters. Clean them up and remove any liners, poke drainage holes in the bottoms with a screwdriver, throw in a few rocks or broken bits of pottery to keep soil from blocking the holes and plant something pretty. If you want to paint them, use a rubber-friendly outdoor-suitable spray paint — brush marks will show.
- Light it up. I personally cannot get enough fairy lights. String them in the bushes, along a porch railing, stuff them into mason jars and hang them from the trees.
- Switch out your bed linens for something ethereal with a bit of shimmer.
6. Paint some rocks. Get thee to a dollar store for acrylic paint and pick up a sealer (such as Mod Podge from a craft store). If you’ve got an artsy streak, turn them into frogs, flowers or watermelon, but if you don’t, any bright, happy colour will do. Even googly eyes are permissible. Scatter them in the flower beds or window boxes, or if you’re feeling particularly whimsical, steal out in the dead of night and sneak them into your neighbours’ gardens too.
7. Go big for game night. Use pre-cut wooden blocks and a Sharpie to make backyard-suitable Yahtzee dice, paint wooden discs for Twister (or get spray chalk from a toy store), make a grid on the back 40 (square placements alternating with au naturel lawn is one way) and play Frisbee tic tac toe, or if you’re really ambitious, supersize a game of Jenga.
8. Switch your wall art for something with a hint of Monet or a poster from your favourite summer flick.
9. Switch your bar accessories. Bring on the colourful, beach-house-worthy plastic jugs and tumblers.
10. Replace somber window coverings with something gauzy and throw pillows with something peachy. Or turquoisey.
11. Nautical is nice. Replace some of the knick knacks on your shelves with seashells, driftwood or an antique sextant picked up at a flea market.
12. Banish the toques and scarves and hang floppy beach hats and straw totes on your front-hall hooks.
13. Play with a shadow box. Use vintage seaside-town postcards or print-outs of family photos from summers past in the background, and add shells, pebbles, even those little paper parasols. Regularly redoing a wall-hung shadow box is a great way to mark the season and show off some memories.
14. Did I mention my love of acrylic paint? Use a slat or two from an old wooden pallet — try your local garden centre — and pick suitable words to paint on them. Then hang over the front door or from a balcony railing. Just about anything summery or beachy will do. OCEAN, SANDCASTLE, WASAGA— you get the gist.
15. Rearrange the living room furniture to take the focus off the fireplace. Fill it with plants or candles, or vases stuffed with hydrangeas.
16. Pick up rattan or white wooden serving trays, and happy-coloured chargers for your next party.
17. Replace evergreen and cinnamon home scents with mandarin orange, lemon or lavender.
18. Mason jars are almost as loveable as acrylic paint. Turn them into tiny terrariums, fill them with pink marbles or wooden beads, and cluster a few of different sizes on the coffee table.
19. Don’t forget the bathroom. A new shower curtain and bathmat can completely change your look.
20. Canopy your bed with mosquito netting and pretend you’re on the Serengeti. In Toronto, by July the temperature is about the same.
21. Upend a good-sized seashell and plant succulents inside it. Or upend smaller shells to use as votive holders.
22. Fill an old-timey watering can with seasonal flowers.
23. Two words: paper lanterns.
24. Pick up cheap wooden barstools for the breakfast nook and cover the seat-tops with a glued-down coil of rope.
25. Get outdoor pillows. Lots of them. And put them everywhere.
26. Deck out your outdoor space with Tiki torches.
27. Switch out the knobs on your dresser or sideboard with something whitewashed or nautical.
28. For a simple centrepiece, half-fill a glass vase with sand and plant candles in it. Add a few seashells if you’ve a mind to.
Give your napkins a seasonal touch with some fun yet stylish holders depicting spring.
29. Add flowery linen napkins to your tableware.
30. Just about anywhere.
31. Conquer clutter with a picnic basket. Looks cute, and has the added benefit of making end-of-day cleanup a 30-second job.
32. Plant herbs on the kitchen counter. (You can use mason jars. Just sayin’.)
33. Dip-dye linen or canvas and frame it for the wall.
34. Make a mobile, even if you don’t have a baby. Use rope (inherently beachy) to tie together two or three good-sized sticks to make a framework, then tie on beach glass, seashells, even other sticks at various heights. Hang it in the sunroom, or even over a stand-alone bathtub. (Not recommended for shower use.)
35. Affix a series of narrow, column-shaped glass vases (or mason jars!) to the wall and fill them with ornamental grasses.
36. For a bright, almost-instant centrepiece, add various food colourings to water in a few glass bud vases, vinegar bottles or recycled jars and pop a daisy into each.
37. Recycle an old bird cage by painting it white (use an undercoat and a crackle finish if you’re feeling really crafty) and filling it with tall, floppy flowers like tulips. The wires help the flowers stand up, and you can use a block of Oasis on the bottom to hold the stems.
38. Your grandmother probably has some chintz teacups hidden away somewhere. Stack a few with saucers — artfully arranged to appear effortlessly haphazard — on your next buffet table.
39. Cheer up a plain vase or even a coffee cup with some colourful ribbon. Double-sided tape will do the trick, but don’t try to put it through the dishwasher.
40. Go outside! The decor is always seasonally appropriate, and you know you’re going to want to hibernate again come October.