5 Hacks for Vacation House Decor
Summer is finally in full swing - so why can’t I relax?? Crazily, it’s because I always overestimate how our summer house will be “done” by this time & then find myself facing the reality of projects still unfinished from last summer :( Talk about a First World problem, I know! But if you are on nice long summer vacation or have a place of your own somewhere special, you want to ENJOY it. Here are a few hacks I’ve found to get you there quickly - so you can chill out!
1.) A super fast way to complete your space is with art — a vacation house is perfect place to put up a happy jumble of mismatched pieces, so don’t fret if they don’t seem to “go” together. Last weekend at our house in New Hampshire, I threw together these odds & ends - a childhood sketch of my father-in-law, a thrift store fern print, a watercolor by my dad, etc. Makes me smile to see all these paintings together in one place!
If you’re renting a place, maybe bring along a few beloved prints & prop them up, like I did on the nightstand above….Away & don’t have much art to work with? You can get great affordable pieces online sent to you pronto — I have too much art but STILL have my eye on this print, which nicely already comes framed in a style I like:)
I also love this giclee print I found online, also comes framed & ready to go - would be perfect for a house in Nantucket or Maine…
Also in that room, I added some fresh linens (wrinkly I know - hey, it’s a summer house…who wants to iron?!) and a new more modern-looking lamp that I love…which actually came as a pair so I popped the other one in a different bedroom - bonus!
2.) If you’re in the boondocks away from any stores (like me), or on a budget (ditto) - you can still get high-end decorative pillows sent straight to you…they’ll REALLY lift the look & feel of your space right away! I ordered all these beautiful pillows below from Etsy & then got inserts from Amazon (NOTE: order the inserts 2” BIGGER than the size of the pillow, so they look nice & plump - trust me, it works).
I’m obsessed with textile designer Lisa Fine, whose sweet floral pattern is in pillows above in our guest room (along with that second lamp I told you about). (Headboard is embarrassingly inexpensive - yes, $82 online & it is great quality! Make sure to scrutinize for 100% cotton or linen fabrics in the upholstery — a lot of the ones I looked for online were polyester which was not my vision :)
Our house - happily - tends to attract a lot of friends & friends of friends, so I needed more “occasional” seating in our small living room. I found this ottoman online (actually has storage inside) & I adore it. Perfect overflow seating - or foot rest. Jasper/Michael Smith “Indian Flower” pillow above & the Peter Dunham ones below (“Taj” pattern & “Zanzibar”) were all ordered via Etsy.com.
3.) If you have to make any bigger purchase decisions, don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel: go with what you know. We needed stair runners because the steps were so slippery (& noise of teenagers running up & down was tad deafening) — instead of spending a lot of time researching what was available in the extended area, I decided to order exactly what we had in our old house (we got ours custom, it’s by Kaleen - DM on Insta @elegant.mayhem if you want details). It saved me a lot of time & gave me confidence that I’d like the results. Problem solved!
4.) WIth basics like art, pillow & rugs handled, now you get to have fun & splurge on a few statement pieces you really LOVE. For me, I have a huge girl crush on entrepreneur Zoe Zillian who created Farmhouse Pottery brand with her husband….so 2 of my big indulgences were from their shop in Woodstock VT (also avail online): a handmade pottery lamp, below, & a whitewashed dining table.
Another recent upgrade: below is not my bedroom (the tea set probably gave that away:) but an image of a bench I ordered to go at end of the bed in our room - can’t wait to see it in place & show you!
I ordered this mirror below last summer & am thinking of getting another one for our Bunk Room. Mirrors bring in more light & views of the pretty outdoors but can sometimes be too heavy or even formal. I love that this one has a kind of homey, playful vibe that fits into a country house scene….
5.) Last but not least - I try to remember that summer is not really about being inside anyway! I pinch myself when I see scenery like this nearby….effortless, natural beauty.
If you need more inspiration for getting the knack of not “overthinking” your design situation, look no further than my LOVE Tom Scheerer, whose last book is my all time favorite design book & happily has a new title coming out in September!
As the New York Times said in their piece on Tom a while ago: “The lesson is one for decorators and clients alike: don't build so big; don't mistake complication for quality; and don't try so hard.” Great advice, which I’ll try to follow:)
Cheers & happy summer wherever you are!
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