Take those serious dining room chairs and give them a fairy-tale garden look with a sheer fabric slipcover. A gathered, full, flouncy look will add to the charm. For a more tailored look, use crisp linens with an inverted pleat at the corners. And for a classic summer look, use chintz with a traditional English garden print. It will suddenly seem almost balmy indoors.
Use the same idea for the tablecloth, using the same or contrasting sheer fabric or floral print. Fabric can be gathered and stitched for a full skirt that can be attached to another tablecloth with Velcro.
Several layers of light, gauzy material can be draped on top to flow over the edge.
Let the breezes in with sheer or gauze curtains. The new gauze curtains have a more open weave and a natural look compared to synthetic sheers. New sheer fabrics available in the designer showrooms are metallic, patterned, silk, bamboo, grass and more.
Basic varieties can be purchased ready-made.
While you are refreshing the curtains, move furniture and accessories away from the window. Open up the full view to the outside. Maybe even put a bird feeder out to enjoy the migrating birds.
Add a touch of springtime with an old wood-back chair, drape the seat with a piece of sheer fabric or curtain panel. Place a bowl of flowers on the seat. Voilà, a fresh look for a foyer or kitchen corner.
Use the quintessential summer icon, Nantucket baskets, for all your organizing needs. Use them in the mud room for storing gardening tools, on your desktop for office tools, or in the kitchen for fruit.
Line the bottom of a hurricane lamp (the bigger the better) with artificial summery fruits and berries and then add a color-coordinated candle.
Consider adding aquatic life. Place a small bowl with a betta fish, lined with brightly colored glass pebbles, to the kitchen or bathroom counter. They are easy to care for and add a lively element.
Change the scene quickly with a new set of pastel or brightly colored towels. Add a new soap dish, tissue holder and area rug with a summer theme.
Dress the bed in the hues of springtime. Look for an interesting mix of stripes, prints and solids that quickly infuse the room with the essence of the season. Put a sachet of lavender under your pillow for sweet dreams.
Use teapots, teacups or maybe a watering can as a vase for fresh-cut flowers. Nothing says spring like a clean and clear countertop sparingly adorned with spring flowers.
Force the season with cuttings of forsythia, spiraea, magnolia, pussywillows or any ornamental fruit tree. The warmth of the house will quickly bring the stems to bloom. The bushes or trees probably needed to be pruned, anyway. NH
Kathy Corbet Interiors
This article appears in the March 2004 issue of New Hampshire Magazine