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Decorating for the Season

A local interior designer offers tips on seasonal decorating

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Rachel Duchesne is a freelance interior designer who also works part-time for Plum Interiors in Newport. She has her Masters of Science Degree in Interior Design from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Rachel lives in Bristol with her husband Tom and their daughters Madeleine and Reese.

What is the first thing you do to create summer inside?
The minute the hydrangeas are out I know summer has arrived! I think the easiest and least expensive way to achieve a summer feel in a home is to have fresh cut flowers from the yard. A few stems in small neck vases cut low and compact, placed here and there, brightens and freshens up the whole environment.

What are the fabric trends for this summer?
The look is a crisp graphic print of trellis, a lattice print or a horizontal strip. A way to incorporate one of these looks is to change out your living or family room pillowcases with one of these fabrics - purchasing or having them made. Or substitute with tranquil summer colors of blues, greens or sunny yellow if you want to bring out the pillow cases year after year.

Many homes in the East Bay are of 19th century architecture, which can be heavy and dark for warmer months. What are some easy ways a homeowner can lighten up the mood for summer?
Just as they did in that time period, roll up and put away heavy rugs! Invest in simple sea grass rugs or the lightweight and colorful Dash & Albert rugs. The next step would be to change out the window treatments with something lighter.

What are some accents to a room that can transform it for a more relaxed seasonal style?
Rattan says summer so try a rattan chair or placemats - bring a porch chair inside and paint it in chalk paint color. Put tall candle pillars in glass hurricanes surrounded by shells or sand on the dining room table or fireplace mantle. A great project is taking shadow boxes and using a composition of shells (or a piece of coral on a bookshelf) and switching them with an existing piece of art. Just remember to get the same size frames so you don’t have to deal with changing holes for the hooks.

If a homeowner wanted to have a taste of summer year round, what is a good investment?
Nothing says summer like an outside shower.