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Shedding light on summer decorating

by: Vern Uyetake, As seasons change and summer looms, local homeowners can do a few quick-fixes to transform their living spaces in preparation for warmer weather. Bonnie Trumbull with Bonnie Trumbull Interiors transformed this Lake Oswego living room, at left, from cozy and Northwest-inspired to casual beach living. She said all you must do is, “lighten, brighten and remove.”

Summer officially begins in four weeks. And as our minds often wander to lighter summer clothes, screen doors for the porch and air conditioning, our homes can also lighten and brighten.

And it's a breeze to make the transformation.

'We change out our winter wardrobes. It's so fun to get those things bagged up. We can do the same thing with interiors,' said Bonnie Trumbull, Lake Oswego resident and designer.

As owner of Bonnie Trumbull Interiors and designing with a focus on residential and commercial spaces - as well as the interior designer for Gertz Fine Homes - Trumbull said that whether it's a waiting room, political office or cozy living room, warmer weather calls for quick interior transformations.

Trumbull recently visited her friend Pam Halvorsen's Lake Oswego home to help her lighten, brighten and remove items to prepare the home for summer.

Lighten the space

'To face our cool, gray days it is natural to bundle up our interiors and create a cozy safe place from the elements,' said Trumbull. 'However, now is the time to celebrate the brighter, warmer weather of spring and create a cooler nest.'

Within Halvorsen's home, small items that make a room feel 'heavier' were removed.

'Many people have area rugs and if you pull those out, the room automatically lightens,' Trumbull said. 'You do want it cooler. The same goes for changing out lampshades. Remove throws or change the (fabrics) to lighter ones.'

A mohair throw blanket on a chair was replaced with a cotton one.

Before, a dark lampshade on a lamp to the left of the fireplace had thick, decorative beading that dangled from its edges. Now, a thinner shade in white makes the area feel lighter and less complicated.

'We got rid of the heavier texture,' Trumbull said.

Windows were opened to expose sunlight and candles on the fireplace and nearby table were removed.

'Candles are so great to burn in the winter and the fall. But really, they don't give the same feel in the summer,' Trumbull said, gathering the candles. 'They should be outside. They can burn them outside on the table.'

A light colored slipcover transformed the appearance of the forest green velvet couch. Extra throw pillows were moved to storage to be brought out next fall.

Simplify decorative accessories

Before, Halverson's room had displayed ceramic pieces and decorative pinecones. These items were replaced with clear glass and seashell accessories.

The tall evergreen plant was removed to make the room feel larger and seasonal color was brought into the room - such as the purple flowers on the fireplace and the white hydrangea near the window.

The fireplace is now sparse and has a definite focal point, whereas before there were multiple candles and decorative items.

'Simplify any of the decorative accessories,' Trumbull said. 'We eliminated the number of pieces in here for the summer.'

Bulky dark picture frames with family photos were put away and replaced with bright seasonal photos, Trumbull said.

'Removal of the evergreens for flowering plants, minimizing interior candles knowing that we will be burning them outside, trading out family pictures and frames that match the season and simply having fewer items on display gives us that welcomed shift,' Trumbull said.

'Nothing big changed in the room. It's an easy change-out.'

After about fifteen minutes - and only slight alterations - the room transformed to a comfortable space to spend the summer months. As the two women bundled some of the removed items to be placed in storage, they glanced around their work and smiled.

'Look at how much lighter it feels,' said Halvorsen. 'I think it's very dramatic.'