Inside... Cures for the summertime blues

Cayte Williams
Saturday 09 May 1998 23:02

The sun has begun to shine and suddenly your interior looks gloomy, cluttered and tired. How can you update your home for summer without starting all over again? Cayte Williams gathers top tips from five interiors experts

Fiona Rushton, company spokesperson for Habitat.

An important theme for spring and summer is the elements. Bring bags of pebbles, wind chimes, volcanic rock pots and planters into the home to freshen it up. For furniture, slatted, wooden foldaway chairs are great because you can store them easily when winter returns. The Habitat Lorelei range comes in yellow, blue, lilac, white and turquoise - David Hockney pool colours are very fashionable for summer. Foldaway metal tables in silver, turquoise and white are also useful, and you can have this type of furniture both in the home and the garden. It's a big thing this summer to bring the garden into the home and to use the garden as another room, an extension of the house.

Candles are a wonderful way of lighting rooms on a summer evening and you can get tube-shaped candle holders which are wind-proof, or Cylinder or Storm lanterns. Also, loop-topped curtains are great, because you can just thread them through the rail. They can replace heavier winter curtains, especially in lighter colours. You can also use fabric instead of doors which you may want to keep open in the summer, or to section off an area.

Sarah Bravo, editor of `Living etc'

Evenings are longer and brighter now and you need a difference in texture, feel and colour. The first thing to do is take down the curtains because this opens up the windows and lets the light in. Privacy is a problem, so one idea is to use a whole length of sheer material like muslin which you can pin to the top of window and tie back at the sides. Or you can buy a roller blind that fits your window exactly but attach it half way down. This is especially good in the bedroom where you can still have privacy but lots of natural light coming through.

Another idea is to cut furniture down by half in living room. Move it into a study or work room because in the summer you can work in the garden. Rearrange the living room to get the most out of the light. If the sun hits one side of the room, put the sofa against that wall.

Bring in the garden. You can get fantastic pots in stone, fill them up with pebbles or stones or, of course, plants. If you're looking for a new dining table, don't rule out garden furniture - you can paint it and it's not too expensive. Bring in lavender, herbs or ivy and stick them in chrome pots. You don't have to spend a fortune on accessories. Add some of the summer colours like blues, pastel pinks, pale mint green, grey and lilac. White china and linen makes everything feel clean. Wicker baskets, cream or white bed linen and scented candles give everything a summery feel.

Jamie Anley, co-founder of Jam, the product design company which includes Astrid Zala and Matthieu Paillard.

We've been working a lot with Zotefoam, a material we've discovered over the last few years. It's a great foam material because you can use it in your own way to jazz up the pad. It has been around in the packaging, health and sports industries and looks similar to swimming pool float material, but recently we've adapted it for the domestic environment. It's also ecologically made because it is the only material where there is no chemical residue, only nitrogen is released. It's so pure you could probably eat it!

You can really play around with it in sheet form (it's best to get 2m x 1m, 10ml thickness). You can use it for pin boards, as a mat in the bedroom, it can be cut out in splodgy, splashy shapes and stuck to the fridge, and if it's thin enough it can be stuck to window panels. It can change the colour of your room because it diffuses light, which is great for summer. It comes in the wildest range of rainbow colours, hot pinks, lime greens and lemons.

We've used it to design everything from desktop accessories to furniture. We've done cutlery trays, CD boxes, a modular chair that turns into a coffee table, shelving systems, a magazine rack, coasters and napkin rings. I've got loads of it at home and the only other thing I'd do to change my own place for summer is to move out!

Jam products are available from American Retro (0171 734 3477), Purves & Purves (0171 580 8223) and Haus (0171 255 2557) in London. Zotefoam sheets can be ordered from Polyformes on 01525 852444. Minimum order pounds 100 for six sheets

Mike Watson from Plasti-kote, whose aerosol paint products are a hot favourite with interior stylists this season

I recently read a survey that said in 1992 0.2 per cent of the population had done some furniture restoration on their own home. In 1997 that figure had grown to 8.1 per cent. Ten years ago, everything was supposed to match and people's entire houses were in beige and cream. Now each room can look completely different.

If you want to give your home a quick lift, aerosol paints are ideal because of their convenience and speed. You can change things simply and there are no brush marks. In the summer the last thing you want to look at is a radiator, so you can paint it the same colour as the walls, or make a feature out of it with a bright, complimentary colour or gold. You wouldn't want a white lump of steel as a main feature of the room. Also, pick up bargains at junk shops and use paint in unusual ways. For summer, the best colours are the citrus shades or lavenders - anything subtle to reflect the changing light. You could paint an old chest of drawers in one colour, and then each drawer could be a different, complimentary colour.

We do a Fleck Stone paint that gives pots and vases the look of granite which makes things look cool for summer. Also you can spray garden lanterns with metallic paints and bring them inside. There's also a woodstain paint which gives a colour wash effect after one coat, which would be a subtle change for summer.

For Plasti-kote stockists call 01223 836400

Dawna Walter, Managing Director of The Holding Company, which specialises in storage.

Spring cleaning is very cathartic. You need a couple of hours and a glass of wine to assess the things that are last season in your home. It's a bit like turning your wardrobe from winter to spring, where you store away all the old textures and colours and replace them with something fresher and brighter.

New storage ideas are perfect for spring cleaning, because not only are you more organised but things look fresher. You need a little bit of colour. In winter you tend to go for muted, darker shades, but in summer pastels, naturals and bright shades work better.

These baskets are from Kenya and come in lots of different sizes. I've actually got 30 of them in the house. They're in the kitchen, where I use them to store slotted spoons, in the bathroom where they hold hair accessories, brushes or cleansing products and in the bedroom where I keep t-shirts in them. In spring-cleaning everything gets divided and conquered.

The baskets are available from The Holding Company, 241-245 Kings Road, London SW3 (tel 0171 610 9160), and 41 Spring Gardens, Manchester from June. Phone 0171 610 9160 for mail order

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments