There’s no need to get stuck in a rut with the same home decor month after month. With a few tips and a little inspiration, you can transform your home into a seasonal haven.
I am not a decorator by trade, but I have been told on more than one occasion that our home is warm and inviting. Above all, I love to transform my home into a seasonal haven. So much to look forward to every few months. A friend of mine even came for a visit and said she had been up all morning looking at all my little corners thinking to herself, “Now I never would have thought to put that together.” She continued to ask how I could help her decorate her home and make it more warm and welcoming.
Truthfully, I didn’t know what to tell her. I had taken a few classes in college on decorating and color theory, but I think where I learned the most is just by experimenting. It doesn’t take a lot of money, rather just an investment in a few good pieces each season…every season. I don’t even necessarily put the same things in the same places every year. Change is in my blood. In fact, when I was newly married, I had to call my husband and warn him that I had rearranged the furniture again and prepare him for the change.
Creating a Warm, Inviting Space that Welcomes Each Season
Rearranging furniture is how I learned to decorate within a budget. We never had very much, but when we did purchase something, it was good quality that would last. I am also known in my circles to be a thrower. Seriously, I don’t keep much in the house that I don’t use. The only things in our attic are transitional or seasonal pieces. Usually, if I don’t use something within a year, it is given to someone who will use it.
Ultimately, I keep my standard pieces in place and then decorate around them every season. For instance, I always have my clock on the mantle as well as a few candlesticks. In the fall I will add velvet pumpkins and, in the spring, bunnies and nests filled with robin’s eggs. Or, you can decorate with a seasonal theme using a specific piece like a basket or box. Change out what goes in it with each season to bring in a little something different. I am by no means a minimalist, but I hate clutter, so I like to make a simple seasonal statement and it always has to spark JOY!
Transitioning into a Seasonal Haven Examples…
What Sparks Joy?
To start, fill your space with only things that you love and spark joy. That means purging your space, room by room, of anything that you don’t absolutely love. Pull everything out into the center of the room and pick up each piece and decide if you love it, want to share it with another, or dispose of it. I highly recommend Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up if you struggle with getting rid of things.
What is Your Home Saying?
After you have purged your space, decide what message you want your home to speak. I love home and want our home to be a place where people feel welcome, peaceful, and cozy, as if they have come home. My decor tastes range from Farmhouse to Country French and White Cottage. Our homes should reflect who we are. If they are full of clutter or disorganized, well, it is possible that it is only reflecting what is going on inside of you. Invest in yourself and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve your life in mind, body, or soul. Someday, you will look around at your space and say, “This is me.”
Color and Theme
Next, pick a color that reflects who you are. I remember, as a young bride, I was stuck in a neutral phase. So afraid to commit to anything on such a tight budget, I thought that all I liked were plain, neutral colors. Neutrals were “safe.” A decorator friend of mine, Carri Galvanek, took me to an upscale material shop and told me to walk about the room by myself and snip off a piece of material from every bolt of fabric that I really loved. She was going to help me make curtains and fix up my place a bit. She said my home had potential…code for “you need help.”
After about a good half hour, I brought my selections to her and was completely surprised. Apple green, raspberry, and goldenrod along with paisley prints and toile filled my palette. For that time in my life, Country French colors and patterns were what reflected me. Our home was so cheerful, bright, and happy. They reflected the spring season of my young married life.
Now, twenty years later, my tastes have evolved and matured. The walls of our home are a neutral gray palette. I have learned to add my color in the accents and accessories. When picking the colors for our home, I wanted to create a board that complimented each other from room to room as well as looked beautiful with everything from yellow daffodils, to orange pumpkins, to red poinsettias. Accent pieces are easy to change up and less expensive than say a couch or chair.
Foundation: Neutral Staples and Traveling Pops of Color
After you have your neutral foundation pieces and wall color, pick a pop color that will travel throughout the house. For example, in the spring, I love to bring in lemon yellow to bring the sunshine in. I can hang a yellow painting in the living room with a yellow candle and throw pillow and then carry that yellow theme into my kitchen with a beautiful yellow bowl of lemons or a plate. In the dining room, I can have a floral centerpiece with tulips or a pot of daffodils. Having a color that travels gives your home an intentional, consistent flow.
Tastes change…let them. We should all be growing and changing. That is why I decorate with neutral staples and change things up a bit with inexpensive pieces. For instance, our leather couches are neutral brown, but depending on the season, I can create a totally different look using throw pillows or a throw blanket. Changing the main picture on the wall is another way to welcome in a different season. I have sheep in the snow for winter and a path of autumn-colored trees in the fall. Living seasonally, always gives you something to look forward to.
Decorating with Textures and Bringing the Outdoors In
I love to welcome in as much light as possible and allow the outdoors to come in. For instance, in the fall in New Jersey, we had a lovely bay window in the dining room with three beautiful red and yellow fall trees right outside the window. I included the outside trees in my decor by featuring them in my decorating. The dining room blue set off the rich reds, oranges, and golds so beautifully. Our travel color in the fall is orange to match the outside trees to tie it all together.
The same goes for winter. Winter is a quiet, reflective time so I want my home and the colors and textures in my home to reflect that. With the snow outside, the room fills with a soft, white glow throughout. I accent my house with a soft aqua and pine tree green by bringing in greens on the mantle, a potted pine tree, or a rosemary bush. Pinecones, cinnamon sticks, and dried orange slices also connect us to the natural world.
Each season has an energy. Spring is cleansing, alive, and waking up. Summer is active and happy and full of playful memories. Fall is cozy and bursting with pleasant scents and dramatic color. Winter is quiet and peaceful, with a reflective energy. Living by the seasons allows you to live in sync with the natural ebb and flow of life’s cycles and causes you to become more connected to your space.
Frame Every Section into a Picture
A final tip that I learned from my friend Carri about decorating was about framing every section that you look at in your home like a picture. Balance each section with colors and textures that compliment each other. Place heavy items in back or in the center and build forward incorporating lots of textures. Stack books in corners or on tables. Incorporate practical pieces in your home that can serve a double purpose such as beautiful pitchers that can also be used as vases. Layer your pieces and then frame everything and see where your eye is drawn. Literally, place your hands up in a frame and look around at every section and decide if it is visually pleasing. When you deal with sections of your home as pictures then you can focus on one frame at a time and see if it communicates what you want to express.
Seasonal Haven Portfolio
The following pictures are broken into seasons to show you how I transition from season to season to create my seasonal haven. On that note, I also remember that this is a haven to my children as well (and someday our grandchildren). It is important to me to incorporate areas of play for them so they grow up knowing that you can have a beautiful, as well as functional home, full of wonder, for all to enJOY.
Every year is different, although I use the same pieces. When possible, I will add a new piece or change out the color theme, but I never get tired of my home. When one season has come to a close, I am ready for the next. I love change, but I also enjoy the predictability of what we can expect and enjoy with every beautiful season.