So, summer’s here and we’ve swapped out the cosy woollen blankets for lightweight linens, stashed our candles in a drawer somewhere and rid the entire house of fairy lights… right? Well, actually, not quite…
The problem is, for those of us who live in Britain and Ireland, summer rarely arrives in all its sunshine-y, blisteringly hot glory. Most years it’s a succession of rainy or cloudy days, interspersed with the odd period of warmth. However, just because the heating’s gone back on, it doesn’t necessarily mean we want to curl up and hibernate under a furry throw once again. (Ok, there are possibly exceptions to this rule!)
It’s easy to adopt the Danish concept of hygge all winter long when we can light the fire and wrap up, however on a dreary summer’s day (and yes, we all know how depressingly common those are), how do we create a bright and cosy feeling when it’s not that cold outside, just grey and wet? Here are a few tips you can try at home to help lift the spirits when you’re shut up indoors on a rainy summer weekend…
1. Add colour
It’s no secret that colour affects your mood, so during a rainy spell, brighten up the mood of your home with some striped or patterned cushions in your favourite colours. Alternatively, use crockery, table linens and napkins to add bursts of colour and switch out dark bathroom towels for brightly patterned ones. Plant pots, candleholders and vases can all be good sources of colour, so whether you’re a lover of pastels or deeper jewel-like tones, there’s a colour that appeals to everyone.
This sitting room would be really quite bland without all the colour pops the homeowner has brought in throughout the cushions and fresh flowers.
If you prefer a neutral interior, try adding vibrancy and depth with soft furnishings in a striking monochrome pattern or nautical-inspired deep indigo and white stripes. If it makes your home feel brighter and fresher, you’ll feel better, too.
The ethnic feel of these monochrome cushions keep the look fresh and summery, don’t they?
2. Bring the outside in
Just as we bring greenery inside during the winter months for its clean, piney scent, flowers and herbs from the garden have their added benefits when brought indoors, too. Whilst houseplants add freshness and life to a room, cut flowers will add a feel-good delicate fragrance and of course, colour, to the home.
Herbs such as rosemary and lavender grow outdoors in abundance all summer, so take some sprigs and arrange them in a vase or empty jam jar for an instant hit of clean scent. This will make your home feel much more inviting, even when you’d much rather be able to spend time outside!
Bringing nature inside doesn’t have to stop at greenery. Shells, dried seed heads and driftwood picked up at the beach can create a lovely display when brought into the home. Little additions like this help to make a house feel homely and inviting, even on the dreariest of days.
3. Lighten up the throws… a little!
Although heavy throws made of fur or wool should ideally be packed away for the warmer months, sometimes on a cool summer’s evening it can be very tempting to wrap a blanket around your shoulders, especially if it’s been wet and grey all day! However, we don’t want to burden our home interior with heavy fabrics and accessories all year round, so lighten the look by swapping out the woollen throws for heavy cottons and lightweight jersey knits.
The striped design of this lightweight throw is perfect for adding a cosy layer come cooler summer evenings.
Roll up light blankets during the day in a basket by the sofa to allow the room to feel less cluttered and move fluffy sheepskins elsewhere in the home; along the side of a bed is a good spot, as is draped over a wooden stool or bench as a soft layer.
4. Create cosy vignettes
Don’t put the candles away as soon as March draws to a close! On a grey day, their flickering soft light can create a cosy atmosphere indoors, so dot tea lights in clear glass jars or votives around the house, particularly in dark corners or along a mantelpiece where a winter fire is absent.
Use little trays to arrange a selection of decorative objects on as a pretty summer vignette; this could be a small succulent or two, a scented candle and a dish of pebbles, shells and other finds from outdoors. If you have a glass cloche, use it to house an interesting display, too. Vignettes add interest to a coffee table, shelf or side board and can be quite a fun little project to carry out when it’s raining outside! What better excuse for a general potter about?!
This wicker tray lends texture and summery greens for an instant freshness, however the candle can be lit when those grey clouds roll in.
5. Mix up textures
A good mix of natural textures in a room will ensure it feels cosy, yet light and airy in the summer months. Woven rattan, smooth bamboo and feathery grasses, teamed with clear glassware, tactile ceramics and natural linens will always be a winning combination. The key is to layer the textures up and keep to just one or two colours, otherwise it can begin to feel cluttered and messy. Not ideal when you’re aiming for relaxed, calming, hygge!
The natural materials and varying textures in this bright sitting room create a cosy and calming space to relax in when it’s dreary outside.
6. Move a seat to a bright window
Find a bright spot in your home and create a cosy nook there to enjoy a good book or cup of coffee, whilst the rain pelts it down outside. A south facing window is the ideal location for this, however if you enjoy a quiet early morning cuppa, set a cosy chair and side table wherever you can catch those early rays of sunlight.
Every little helps, eh?