Celebrate summer year-round, whether you live on the coast or inland.

By Elizabeth Raines Beeler and Allen B. Bunting
August 12, 2008
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Create Shade
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

1. Lighten Up
Paint walls white. We prefer hues with a hint of creambecause they look less stark. Liven the results by paintingarchitectural elements, such as ceiling rafters, a bright shade.For added contrast, you can also paint windows, doors, and moldingsbold colors.

Whites we like: Decorators White#04, White Dove #06, Linen White #72 (all by BenjaminMoore)

2. Give a Lift
Make the ceilings above your porch or living spaces seemhigher with a hint of ocean blue. Remember, a little color goes along way. The effect is not meant to be dramatic, so choose adelicate shade.

Best blues: Homestead Resort SpaAqua #5004-5A by Valspar(available at Lowes), and Brighton Beach #108-E by AcePaint.

3. From the Ground Up
Paint wooden floors. The result is whimsical and fun,especially on porches or in kitchens. Paint floors solid, stripethem, or create a seaside mural underfoot, with faux sand, shells,and coral.

Designer tip: For durability, useinterior/exterior porch and floor enamel. Cover murals with clearpolyurethane.

4. Add Texture
Bring the outside in at a relatively low cost with naturalfloor coverings, such as sisal, sea grass, jute, or bamboo. Theyall make great area rugs, and sea grass and sisal can be appliedwall-to-wall or as stair runners.

5. Create Shade
Replace formal sheers or metal blinds with woven, bamboo, orlinen shades to lend a casual feel to any room. Roman shades areinexpensive and fold up to let in loads of natural light.

6. Give New Life to Furniture
Paint salvaged pieces an unexpected color. For inspiration,think of a summer icon, such as a beach umbrella or even aswimsuit. Look curbside or check out local garage sales for findsyou can reinvent. And remember: Imperfections lend character.

* Our favorites: Mountain View#583 (cool ocean hue), Marmalade #2016-40 (vivid sunset), LightYellow #2022-60 (warm summer sunshine), Hibiscus #2027-50 (ourfavorite mixed drink), Light Blue #2066-70 (clear skies), FrostedPetal #2089-70 (shade of fresh flowers), all by BenjaminMoore

7. Cover Up
Slipcover furniture to bring a lighthearted, beachy feel toany room. Fabrics can be changed with the seasons and easilycleaned. Linen is a natural fiber appropriate for both upholsteryand draperies. Its texture and neutral color provide a backdrop forhotter accents, such as pillows and painted pieces. Cotton duckcloth is a more durable option for upholstery.

Ready-made options: RachelAshwell Shabby Chic and LeeIndustries offer furnishings that can be matched with a varietyof fabrics.

8. Borrow from Nature
Comb the beach for treasures from the sea. When cleaned andbleached, sea stars, sand dollars, driftwood, rocks, and pieces ofcoral create one-of-a-kind accents at no cost. Shells always make agreat display, whether you cluster them in a bowl, let a singleshell stand alone, or use them to encrust a mirror, mantle, orchandelier. (Be sure to check local laws before removing seashells,coral, or other natural items.)

9. Accessorize Well
Create a scrapbook of beach memories, or look for coffeetable books that celebrate the shore. You can also add subtleaccents-such as coasters, paperweights, or hand towels-that areprinted with seaside images.

Items we love: Beach Wisdom: Life Lessons From The Ocean(Andrews McMeel, 2003), the ParadiseScrapbook Album, and Iomoi's coastersand paperweights.

10. Use Good Scents
Fill the air with sea-inspired fragrances. Mist linens orentire rooms with a delicate spray, light an aromatic candle, orset out potpourri.

* Olfactory favorites: The GoodHome Company's Beach Days Sheet& Clothing Spray, Lori Lori's Crystal BeachCandle Collection, Earth Elements OceanRock scented botanicals, and Cottage & Bungalow's HomeFragrance Collection in Beach, Salty Air, Skinny Dip, Seaside, SeaGlass, Beach Grass, Island, or Warm Sand