“Summer”izing a Living Room in an Afternoon

Happy First Day of Summer!  I have been so focused on making over the guest room and bathroom, that I was not paying attention that summer is officially here.

It hit me when I walked into my sofa-less living room this morning and realized I didn’t lighten things up for the summer months. Time to make at least a little effort to “summerize” the room.

No sofa living room


Since giving my sofa to my daughter a few weeks ago, I found I really don’t miss it. I have been looking though online for one, but even Ed mentioned last week, why get one at all? The chairs suit me just fine, maybe get two more chairs instead.  After hearing him say this I remembered I had saved a photo of a room with four identical chairs.  I found it. I love this room in the above photo. The clean, easy breezy, uncluttered look. To me it says… summer, but I would love it all year round.

I do think I would miss a sofa though, unless I could find recliners that were stylish and comfy at the same time.


I also have been thinking of a light blue slipcover if I do get a sofa, like the color on the upholstery on this sofa.

Coastal Living

Decisions…decisions. I am in no rush to buy any furniture right away as I want to make sure whatever I do find fits all our needs…function, style, and is affordable.

So, back to this morning when I realized that the first day of summer would be a good day to “summerize” my living room. I didn’t go crazy, instead I shopped my house and grabbed some light blue fabric I bought a few months ago to make pillows for the sofa I gave to my daughter.

Here is what I did on a very wet and rainy first day of summer.

5 Ways To “Summerize” a Room in an Afternoon

Decorating for Summer ideas

1. Change things up – I rearranged the furniture.  This alone gave the room a new look and feel. The empty space where the sofa once was is now filled with two swivel rockers.  I used a blanket from a twin bed as a throw blanket. Since I wanted to use light blue, I went in search for it. I haven’t used it in years, but kept it because I like the color. Glad I did as it looks perfect as a throw. It is from IKEA. It is so old, like 32 years old when IKEA opened their first store in the US very close to where I lived.  I call it my “vintage IKEA” blanket.

summer style in the living room

2. Instant Color Change – The cushions on these chairs are an ecru color, not white. To make them white, I covered the back with white twill fabric. I covered the bottom with light blue twill. For both cushions I used my no-sew cushion cover method. As simple as wrapping them like I was wrapping a gift and using safety pins underneath to secure the fabric.  It can be done in 10 minutes.  You can find out how to do it in this post.  How to Make a No-Sew Cushion Cover

Don’t have any fabric to make an instant cover?  How about using a scarf, sheet, or tablecloth?

Decorating for Summer idea using light blue and white color scheme

3. Bring the Outside In – To add some drama to the room, I headed out to my yard with a pair of clippers and see what type of free foliage I could find to cut. I have no idea what the name of the bush this came from, but it does the job when placed in a large vase filled with water.

affordable summer decorating ideas

4. Remove excess accessories and put away until fall. I like a few pretty things around the room, but paired back. To find a few light and airy items to create simple accents around the room I shopped around my house. No need to buy anything new. Moving items from room to room every so often gives them new life and may look brand new to your eye placed and used ina different way.

5. Summer is all about carefree living – Like I said above, I didn’t go crazy since summer living for me is about getting outside and enjoying the outdoors.  I kept my efforts simple and enjoyed the process of moving, mixing and playing around until I liked what I saw. Come fall, I will put a little more effort into the room…and maybe even have some new furniture to move around. :-)

Do you change your decor for summer in any of the rooms in your home?

Happy Summer!

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  1. Maria Buscani says:

    Have you ever painted an upholstered piece of furniture with chalk paint?
    Additionally, can you use semi gloss interior latex paint and exterior satin latex paint to make chalk paint?
    I’m wanting to make some chalk paint and I’d like to use what I have while still new at this.
    Thanks for all your help.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Maria – I have painted upholstery with water-based latex and fabric medium. You can read that post here: https://inmyownstyle.com/2015/03/how-to-paint-upholstered-furniture.html

      But you can use chalk paint. It works very well. I recently was on a trip where I saw Annie Sloan paint a piece of upholstered furniture. It came out great and didn’t feel too stiff. So to answer your question, yes you can use chalk paint to paint upholstery. You can see the before and after photos in this post: https://inmyownstyle.com/2017/10/furniture-painting-tips-from-annie-sloan-giveaway.html

      You can use interior/exterior paint to make chalk paint. When you add the Calcium Carbonate or Plaster of Paris the sheen of the latex paint will be flatten. I used exterior paint to make chalk paint for outdoor planters. You can use it for interior too. You can see the post here: https://inmyownstyle.com/2016/08/making-outdoor-chalk-paint.html

  2. debra whitted says:

    Thanks Diane,I don’t know why I didn’t see it.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi again Debra – Thanks for asking about this. I wrote this years ago for Momtastic. I just moved the tutorial over to my blog where readers can find it easier. I hope you have a nice weekend.

  3. debra whitted says:

    I was looking back at your projects. It was a project to update a mirror for your mantel. In the picture I saw what looked like a fabric fireplace screen. This is something I have never seen. Could you tell me how it was made.Could not find that information on the project list. I enjoy your site even more since I know you are in South Carolina, I live in Greenville.

    1. debra whitted says:

      I was looking back at your projects. It was a project to update a mirror for your mantel. In the picture I saw what looked like a fabric fireplace screen. This is something I have never seen. Could you tell me how it was made.Could not find that information on the project list. I enjoy your site even more since I know you are in South Carolina, I live in Greenville.

  4. I love the use of chairs instead of a sofa. It gives each guest their own personal space and opens a room up! Nicely done once again.

  5. Diane, Did you make those chair covers. If you have , can you consider a tutorial?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barbara – I did make the covers for the existing white cushions. I used my tried and true no sew technique that I posted about for other cushions around my home. I just pretend the cushion is a gift box and the fabric is the giftwrap. I used safety pins to secure the fabric around the cushions. you can read how to do it in these two posts:

      No-Sew Cushion Cover: https://inmyownstyle.com/2010/07/how-to-make-a-no-sew-cushion-cover.html
      Banquette Cushion Cover: https://inmyownstyle.com/2012/10/banquette-cushion-covers-made-from-drapes.html

  6. I’ve always like the no sofa idea, just never had the nerve to try it. Of course, I can always spread the chairs around in other rooms if I tire of the idea. My daughter said, when I told her of my idea, that she thought it would look like a doctor’s waiting room :-) Still, I like the idea. Makes it look light and airy, and I like the idea that everyone has their own chair. This idea, is just not expected where I live. Ho hum……..

  7. Recently Lauel Bern ( Laurelberninteriors.com) did a post on recliners. Some were upscale, to say the least, but she is good at including items at afforable prices. I am a loyal follower of both you and Laurel’s blogs. If you’re not familar w/Laurel’s blog you may want to visit-she has quite the sense of humor.

  8. Tiffany Bush says:

    I like to switch a few things out for summer so I can put out lighter or brighter colors, and I always add some displays of sand and shells from our favorite beach. It always gets us excited for our annual vacation.

  9. Vel Smith says:

    Pretty ideas…About 3 months ago, we changed internet providers, and in the process I lost your blog link. Finally searched my pinterest boards and found you again. Glad to be back….now to catch up on what I’ve missed.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Vel – I am so happy you found me again. :-) Thanks for reading.

  10. Like how you got away from using a sofa. I especially dislike 3 people sofas. No guest wants to be seated in the center between 2 people who may have been strangers 5 min. ago. But how do you whiten white slipcovers. I covered my back porch cushions with heavy white fabric and yellow streaks appear. Have tried bleach and other whitening agents and nothing makes them snowy again. Suggestions?

  11. Looks great, as always!
    Ahem. Thank you for not using a throw! I have a vendetta against them–they’re stingy and overpriced! A stylish twin-sized blanket is more generous in size, more versatile, just as cute, and more often than not, the same price or cheaper than a throw. Throw the throws!

  12. Living in south Florida I do have to almost set a reminder on my calendar that the seasons do change here too! I do lighten up a bit for “summer” with shells and lemons and limes, (but not together!) And the throw on the sofa gets changed to a lighter version as with the A/C and ceiling fan wars with my husband, there can always be a chill! I love the look of the 4 chairs and would have loved to do that for our recent formal living room redo, but 4 chairs cost way more than one sofa and a chair, so we recently went with the conventional. We don’t use the living room much and I just needed furniture to update the space. It looks great, and I found “the look” I wanted (off white slipcovered, what else, right?) for an unbelievable price. Of course, I’m afraid to use it, thinking it can’t possibly be made well fr that price and only time will tell, but for now it’s as pretty as a picture and that’s all I need right now!

  13. I love the idea of using four chairs. I am hesitant to do that in our home, because our living room also functions as our family room with a tv. So I have two love seats and two chairs…not very inventive, but it works. Since you still have a separate family room….the four chair solution may be perfect! It’ll be fun to see what you end up doing….I do know it will be lovely! ;)

  14. Carol Griffin says:

    As always……beautiful and great ideas! I am also in the market for a new sofa and love seat. My daughter purchased 2 sofas from IKEA approx. 2 years ago and absolutely loves them. They are very traditional with the white slipcovers, almost identical to what Pottery Barn has but a fraction of the cost At first, I was a little skeptical because of the price as to how comfortable they would be as well as how well they would hold up. Needless to say, I may be heading to IKEA…..they are very comfortable and also the look I am going for without the Pottery Barn prices.

  15. lou clifton says:

    Love the look without the sofa for summer. it has a light and welcoming look. I will be interested in what you decide to do for furniture. I have been trying to decide on sofa,chairs or recluners for a room that we want to relax in. I will look forward on what you decide on for style comfort and money value.

  16. ALDA ELLIS says:

    love your blog …but I could not do without a sofa. After a busy week, that is my go-to place for a well earned, Sunday afternoon nap !

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Pam – I have a long hedge of it growing on one side of my yard.

  17. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    I LOVE your no fuss tips Diane! Everything looks perfect for summer. That is my favorite kind of room makeover, it always refreshes my eyes and my spirit. Happy Summer, friend!!!

  18. Carla from Kansas says:

    That plant looks like a euonymus (variegated). Love how you changed up the room so easily!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carla – Thanks for telling me the name of the plant. It is growing all along one side of my yard.