Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Seasons Change


While combing through tear sheet files in preparation for an upcoming post, I found an article pulled from a past issue of Country Living magazine. Titled "Get the Look Every Season", it's about transitioning your decor from spring/summer to fall/winter, or vice versa, using color, pattern and texture. I understand this colorful, traditional look might not be your particular style, but I assure you, these ideas can be applied to your home too. Imagine a softer pallette or more subdued patterns and solids, and you'll see.

Start with the basics. Good quality furniture in timeless styles, a neutral floor covering, and wall colors that work with both looks provide the backdrop on which to make changes. In this home, furnishings are a mix of new and antique pieces. Wood flooring throughout and a sisal carpet cut to fit the living room plus yellow walls in the living room and red in the dining room provide the basic foundation. Notice too that the bamboo blinds at the windows stay in place all year. Only the fabric curtain panels change with the seasons.


Find a good upholstery workroom. Or polish up your own home sewing skills. Slipcovers, pillow covers, tablecloths and curtain panels have the greatest impact when it's time to change seasons. Choose your fabrics wisely—mix patterns and colors to your liking or ask the advice of your upholsterer, the staff at a full service home decor fabric store (like Calico Corners) or consult with an interior decorator. Trims, buttons, fringe and other dressmaker details like piping, gathers and pleating, add to a custom look. And be sure to choose machine-washable, stain-resistant fabrics that will stand up to everyday wear and cleaning.


In the photo below, you'll see that white slipcovers are used on the sofa's seat cushion and the antique armchair. Checks and patterns inspired by the homeowner's collection of blue and white dinnerware and porcelain accessories, cover the rest of the sofa, ottoman, toss pillows and chairs that flank the fireplace. Similar red and white fabrics add to the mix livening the cool blues and complementing the yellow walls. At the top of this post and directly above, you see how the room has changed for fall. Slipcovers are removed to expose darker, richer fabrics and warmer textures on the upholstered pieces. Casual, summery tie-top window panels have been replaced by red, floral patterned ring-tops.


Accessorize for the season. It's likely that your spring/summer look will be lighter and brighter in both feel and color than your fall/winter room. Your accessories should be too. In these photos, below, you'll see that the dining room chandelier shades are changed from summery blue and white checks to black for fall and winter. Likewise, the plants and florals that were springy and fresh, have been swapped out for dried varieties and seasonal fruits. Branches full of fall leaves and piles of pinecones or seed pods would work just as well. In the living room, in addition to the changes you've already seen, an area rug in rich, warm colors is layered on top of the sisal that was left bare for summer. A few more pillows and a plaid throw cozy up the look even more.



We've been reading everywhere that changing our mantelscapes is a quick and easy way to update our decor to reflect the season. This room is no exception and you can see in the photos below how simple a change like this can be. The mirror, wooden box, hurricane and candlesticks holding white pillars remain exactly the same. Only the florals are different: a potted orchid and cut flowers from the garden have made way for a bright red seasonal bouquet and rosemary topiary. Look a little further and you'll see that the sunflowers that filled the firebox and books stacked on the hearth in summer have also been replaced. Fall brings out the firewood, tools and screen that make it possible to light a warm, welcoming fire.

Convenient storage makes it easy. At the end of the season, when it's time for a transition, this homeowner finds most of the pieces she needs right here in the room. A skirted round table hides a storage cart, see below, that holds all of the fabric items: slipcovers, pillow covers, tablecloths and curtains. For summer, the area rug is rolled up and stored under the sofa. And the article doesn't say so, but it's entirely possible the the chandelier shades not in use are stored right there in the dining room's corner cupboard.


Details you may have missed: Most of the art used here is black and white photography, all framed in black for a consistent, season-spanning look. Black ladder back chairs in the dining room are given off-white slipcovers to cool and brighten the look for summer. Warm yellows and reds are predominate in both rooms all year round while the cool blues used in spring and summer virtually disappear for fall and winter. The tray on the ottoman appears to hold the same stacks of books and magazines and the same silver dish in both seasons. What changes is the textile under the dish—lacey and white in summer, dark and homespun in fall—and the contents—fresh green limes change to golden apples. So easy.

Every time I see this article in my files, I think about whether or not I'd be willing to go to such lengths to change my decor for the seasons. I always buy a new pillow or change a couple of covers when the season changes. I've even been known to switch a blue and white throw for a solid white or warm gold. And of course I change certain accessories: seashells get put away for fall, plants and florals follow the seasons and books piled on the coffee table feature appropriate themes and subjects. But change the upholstery? The rug? The curtains? Sure, why not! I never seem to find the time though to do more than think about it.

What changes with the seasons in your home? Major pieces like upholstery and rugs or accessories only? What do you think about changing your entire look the way this homeowner has done? Easy and practical or too much trouble? I'd love to hear from you.
Country Living article written by Anna Kasabian. Photos by Keith Scott Morton. Interior design by Matthew Patrick Smyth.

14 comments:

Maria Killam said...

I think Americans really know how to make each season a party. I have some white pumkins in a bowl in my entry and so far that's it (kinda lame I know)

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I could curl up on that sofa ~ it does look warm and inviting for Fall. I always think it's a great idea, too, when I read about it in magazines, but I never do it myself.

pk said...

Love the IDEA of swapping everything out by season, but it's probably never going to happen at my house. :-( Great post with a lot of helpful information though. Hope you're having a good week!
pk @ room remix

Colette's Cottage said...

Love this post- good motivation to make a little change- I'll stick to pillows or pincones in a glass vase on my mantle rather than whip up a slipcover....

the gardeners cottage said...

Hi Tracy,

I'm not big on seasonal decor. About the most I'll do is put some warm throws out and change flowers. That's about it. Lazy, huh?

Janet

Janet said...

I usually just change the decor. Seasonal flowers, color, etc...

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

love this and I live it too... my house has a wardrobe that changes with the seasons... your old stuff becomes new again. Love that!

Windlost said...

I really only do seasonal decor at Christmas. I think it's weird because I LOVE autumn but I never really do much to decorate for it. We put out big urns of Mums on the front steps in late Sept, but that's about it. Of course, all the bedding changes and the throws and blankets switch from cotton to wool, but that's about it. Oh, and I guess seasonal flowers in Spring and Summer mostly. You've really made me think about doing a few Autumnal things...I like subtle, so perhaps bring out a little of my heavier pottery and sit out some bowls of apples and maybe change my tea towels. Such an adventuress I am!

Great post, xo Terri

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I only change accessories to match the major seasons. Storage of all those pillows, slipcovers and drapes would be a problem for me if I wanted to change my decor for the seasons. I don't have enough closet space!

Looking at the two rooms I prefer the red atumnal one..it looks so warm and cozy.

Twice Remembered said...

What a great post - so many great tips to think about! I especially like the 3rd and 5th photos.

I don't really change out my rooms for the changing seasons too terribly much, other than white bedding in the the warmer months and a red quilt for the winter months. I have been known to change out my artwork on my mantel, too. I try to keep it light for summer but a little heavier during winter. I think if I had the time and money, though, I'd change out my decor weekly, hehe!

Lauren said...

oh i just love this article!!! i have some slipcovers in the works because i do love to switch it up. I have to bookmark this one!!! hope you're having a great weekend!!
xoxo,
lauren

Struggler said...

I love photos of how rooms change for different seasons - right now I'm still chasing the concept of getting it to look right at any time, before I feel I can graduate to trying different looks.
Really useful that you featured where the items are stored.

Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

I used to change everything from my curtains to my slipcovers! It was fun to have a totally new look but it took too much time to achieve so now I just stick with smaller details like pillows and accessories.

Manuela

Maria Killam said...

I have the same fuzzy animal print blanket on my sofa all year round because even in the summer I will put it on if I have a chill. Hmmm. . . what else could I do to make it look like fall is here.