Design 101: Summer Refresh…

“What small steps can I take to refresh my home for summer?”  “How can I really wow my friends and neighbors at my next party?” Interior designers deal with these and many other questions every day.  This month’s column focuses on the first question  – how to update for spring.  

Is there a way to quickly update a wall without the hassle of painting? There is “temporary wallpaper.” This peel and stick alternative is extremely popular in the design industry, but be warned, you need very clean walls that have fully cured and, while there’s not as much trouble taking it down as traditional wallpaper, the steps for putting it up are every bit as tricky.
Pro Tip: Papering a single accent wall will save you from pattern matching around corners while still giving you lots of visual impact.

What’s the easiest way to really add drama to a room?  Window treatments, whether fully functional drapes or simply decorative side panels are the easiest way to add drama.  Make sure you “stack” off the windows (when they are open they should reveal all but an inch of the glass) and the length should stop either three-quarters of an inch above the floor or rest with a “pants break” worth on the floor.
Pro Tip: Install the hardware as high up as possible, right to the crown molding if you can.  This additional few inches really makes a difference in the feel of a room.

How can I revive a tired bedroom? The largest decorative item in most bedrooms is the comforter. A decorative sham called a “duvet cover” can be constructed to enclose it.  Simply choosing a new pattern or color can radically alter the feel of the room. You can also leave it empty for cool sleepers and reap the design benefit without the warmth of the fill.  Don’t forget you have two sides, might as well consider an alternate for the reverse.
Pro Tip: Alligator clips or ties sewn into the corners can keep the insert from sliding around and bunching while you sleep.

My furniture is in good condition, but the fabric is uninspiring. What can I do? Slipcovers can be the decorating equivalent of spring’s first bloom. Choose a material thick enough to hide the fabric beneath, and make or have made fitted slipcovers for the offending pieces. We particularly like cotton twill as a strong and moderately priced solid.  Avoid upholstery weight or backed fabrics as they typically necessitate a hefty surcharge from the workroom.
Pro Tip: Don’t like the look of slipcovers?  Chances are you are thinking about a loose slipcover.  A professionally made fitted slipcover should be indistinguishable from upholstery without physical inspection.  

Is there something I can do with little time and less money?  Sure is.  Let’s take all your down and feather inserts out of their cases and re-fluff them.  Just pop them in the drier with a few tennis balls on low heat. When they come out stuff them back in and enjoy!
Pro Tip:  Dye transfer is a real concern, especially if you washed your inserts prior to drying.  Unless you are using white tennis balls, you’ll want to tie them into a white sock to minimize the risk of fluorescent color on your whites.

Yaron Linett
About Yaron Linett 37 Articles
Yaron Linett is the principal designer of Formal Traditional, a full-service design firm located in Warrenton. To submit your interior design questions, drop him a note at or visit

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