Spring cleaning is only one part of readying a house for the warm-weather months. Now is the time to decorate with items that bring lightness and a fresh vibe indoors. Use natural materials, lighter, airier fabrics and whimsical colors and designs to fill your home with summer. Lindsey Spearman, of L. Spearman Designs, Julie Willis, of Pierce & Parker Interiors, and Sissy Blanchard, of Saltwater, share their tips, tricks and hints for making your home a real summer place.

Lindsey Spearman | L. SPEARMAN DESIGNS

Spearman designs says it’s easy to bring summer inside your home, beginning with a place to serve refreshments. “A bar cart adorned with citrus and summer cocktails can be a good way to change your decor and invite summer into your home,” she said. “I love to include beautiful scented candles. A scent has the ability to transport you into the past while comforting you during the present.”

Julie Willis |  PIERCE & PARKER INTERIORS

Natural materials are key, including shells, driftwood or coral are at the top of the list. “I love it when you walk into a home and the accessories have a story behind them,” Spearman said. “A collection of items that tell a story and give a layered look can be done without cluttering your home. (Things) you collect can be featured in a dough bowl seasonally, and oftentimes, these coastal treasures can be sentimental.”

Her favorite summer accents, Spearman said, are lightweight throws, which come in a variety of textures and colors. She also likes to keep seasonal fresh cut flowers throughout her home.

One has to be careful when adding accessories to their decor, because there’s always the risk of too many cute items becoming kitschy, rather than cool and curated. Spearman said the secret to avoiding the “tacky trap” is to not overwhelm a space.

“Think outside of the box when considering coastal decor, and opt to bring in colors from your natural surroundings,” she said. Those include greens from lawns and marshes, rich neutrals and textured fabrics inspired by the sand and grasscloth wall coverings. “Keep your accessories to a minimum, and only include ones that have value to you. Remember, quality over quantity.”

Natural materials are ideal for summer decorating, Willis said. And, you can bring the warm weather months into your home without sacrificing a traditional look. Asian-inspired pieces, including orchid vases and pillows, fresh blue and white motifs, when incorporated with nature “finds” like oyster shells and coral, liven up even the most formal decor.

Willis suggested using lamps, with woven rope bases reminiscent of the handcrafted baskets found in the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, as seasonal accent pieces. The natural texture is a nod to the more relaxed pace of coastal living during the steamy summer months.

Her favorite piece, however, is a burl wood tray that is absolutely perfect for placing atop an ottoman or table. It’s functionality is equal to its beauty. “It’s the perfect place for books, snacks or collectibles,” Willis said.

Sissy Blanchard | SALTWATER

Blanchard’s summer decorating tips offer practical advice for those who embrace coastal living, particularly in the warm-weather months.

Indoor-outdoor floor coverings are easy to change out seasonally, especially when they’re made from PVC and completely washable, in case family members are bringing sand home with them when they return from the beach.

“Some of the rugs can be used in full sun, and are a great way to spruce up a patio,” she said. “They can just be hosed off.”

Coral sculptures – either manmade or natural – provide an eye-catching focal point for any room, and are especially attractive on bookcases, or as part of a table scape. They also have a practical application.

“Coral is really big,” Blanchard said. “It’s ideal for hanging jewelry on.”

Of course, pillows, whether traditional or whimsical, are the perfect way to alter a room’s appearance.

“They’re easier to change out than a couch,” Blanchard laughed.

Maps are also great for decorating, because they give a “sense of place” to the home.

Finally, if you can’t, or don’t want to, replace something, paint it.

“Chalk paint is super easy to work with,” Blanchard said. “Transforming a piece of furniture can be an easy update to your home.”