Now that summer is here, you can put the wet, chilly days behind you and enjoy the sunny weather. But does your home feel like summer to you? If not, you can fix that problem without breaking your budget, and you may have fun while you’re at it. Take a look at the following five budget-friendly ways to lighten up your home’s ambiance.
Add Summer Scents
Burning candles is one of the easiest ways to bring a summer vibe into your home. Unless the candles are on sale, however, you’ll find that they’re expensive. Making stovetop potpourri is a budget-friendly alternative. All you have to do is fill a pot with water, add fresh fruit and herbs — such as lemons, rosemary, and vanilla extract — and bring it all to a simmer.
Another option is to make your own reed diffusers. You won’t have to watch the stove, and retailers carry a huge selection of essential oils that you can create almost any scent you want. Are you almost out of hand soap or aerosol bathroom spray? Replace your current products for ones that smell like lavender, citrus, or whatever else reminds you of summer.
Do you grow your own or does a neighbor have flowers around your home? Try opening the windows on a cool night to let the scent drift inside. If you’re already planning to add plants to your garden, keep in mind that gardenia, honeysuckle, lilacs, roses, and stargazer lilies are some of the most fragrant flowers available for home gardeners.
Declutter and Reorganize
Even if you already did some spring cleaning, reorganizing your mudroom or front entrance for summer can dramatically change the atmosphere. You can put any cold-weather clothing and footwear into storage, shake the doormat, and take down any spring décor. Fill this newfound space with your summer items: sunhats, baseball caps, water shoes, and beach bag.
The garage or storage shed is next. If you’re like many people, your summer gear is likely shoved behind the snowblower during the winter. Take the time to rearrange seasonal items so that you and your family can easily access warm-weather items such as bicycles, golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets, the string trimmer, and garden supplies. Celebrate this achievement by unpacking the patio chairs, sitting down, and relaxing.
Bring Plants Indoors
No matter what your budget is, you can always bring plants indoors. Growing fresh herbs on a sunny windowsill will please the aspiring chef in your family. For low-light areas, you can grow spider plants or philodendrons. These plants are fairly inexpensive, and you can easily make more of them with cuttings.
Aside from the vases of fresh-cut flowers, you can also decorate your home with green leaves from the garden. Hosta leaves and bits of ivy look elegant in clear glass jars. Certain herbs — including Thai basil, pineapple sage, and bee balm — have stunning flowers you can clip for smaller vases.
Don’t forget that you can dry, press, and frame some flowers or interesting leaves. Instead of throwing out a bouquet of flowers, tie the stems together and hang the bouquet upside down until it dries. You can then hang the dried bouquet on a wall. Would you rather not deal with real plants at all? Maybe faux flowers are more your style. Faux flowers can brighten up any room, and they can look remarkably real when you fill the vases with water.
Use What You Already Have
With a bit of creativity, you can use items you already have to give your home a breath of fresh air. Take a look at your photo collection and pick out your favorite shots from previous summers. These photos could be from backyard barbecue parties, camping trips, summer music festivals, or visits to the beach — anything that brings back good memories. Swap them with the photos you already have framed throughout the home. Can’t find any photos you like? You can type summer-inspired quotes on a computer, print them out, and frame those quotes instead.
You probably also have souvenirs from previous summer vacations. Fill a jar with sea glass, set out the souvenirs from your travels, or show off the shot glasses you bought in Europe last year. Do you have gardening books with beautiful front covers? Place them on the coffee table. If you’re a parent, consider displaying your kids’ artwork. You can start with last summer’s collection or ask your children to draw you something for this summer. Thrift stores and garage sales often carry inexpensive frames.
Add Nautical Décor
Nothing says “ocean” quite like nautical décor. If you’re into crafts, you’ll enjoy looking through the many blogs and Pinterest boards with marine-themed DIY projects. You may have some of the materials already, and you can find what you don’t have at many craft stores.
Easier projects include sisal-rope placemats and seashell wreaths. A more difficult project involves painting a jar blue and covering it with rope netting. Make several of these jars, and you can use them throughout the home to hold flowers, office supplies, bathroom items, or tea light candles. If you want to try something more challenging, you can make faux driftwood and faux coral.
A non-crafty option for incorporating nautical décor is to visit dollar stores, thrift shops, and garage sales. You may find sailboat wall art or a throw pillow covered in anchor symbols. When all else fails, look for navy and white colors. For example, you could use navy placemats and napkins with your white dishes at dinnertime. To finish off the look, add a simple centerpiece such as a toy sailboat or a jar filled with seashells.
You don’t need to completely redecorate your home to make it feel like summer. Unpacking your warm-weather items from storage gets you ready for action, while adding summer-themed décor reinforces the fact that, yes, beach season is here. Try a few of the tips listed above. See for yourself what a difference those changes can make.