Keeping a home fresh and updated can help give your family's lifestyle a positive source of energy and a safe haven to relax & rejuvenate in. However, at times it can be challenging to do this living in a rental house - especially if you enjoy change and doing projects to help keep the home up-to-date. For example, you may want to paint a room a new color, but in a rental, most times painting is not allowed. We've lived in our rental house now for two and a half years, and thankfully, having been allowed to paint the rooms in neutral shades of grey when we moved in, I've been able to create seasonal restyles with textiles and accessories I already had - but even that can get a little tiresome. Doing a little home decor purge can help. Back in March, I did a pretty major Spring Cleaning purge, taking most of my home decor (& wardrobe) purge items to consign plus donation, which gave funds to pick up some new items to refresh our style in this house, without the hassle of having a garage sale.

  Summer Rental ReStyle 2014

  Spring Rental ReStyle 2014
B&W with a hint of mint, blossoms and coffee table change.

Spring Rental ReStyle 2013
Bold & graphic B&W, with directors chairs and faux gold bamboo FL thrifted coffee table.
I did this purge because our lifestyle has changed - not just because of moving from Florida to Arizona, but even the space we live in and how we use it has changed. For example, I'm not sitting "in the home office" anymore to blog or do social networking - I've spent the last year at the dining table, situated between the kitchen and the living room. Since we're renting and I can't paint but I wanted to look at refreshing watery blues, so this summer I layered in a strong dose of blue with the porcelain pieces plus even a few new blue frames. I clustered the blue frames on opposite sides of the room, on the tv unit and the buffet, which helped bring a sense of balance to the space. The frames will hold beach photos we took on a recent mini vacay to Newport and Carlsbad, but rather than print them in B&W as I usually do, I want to use the natural colors of the blue skies and ocean to again layer in color into the rental - without paint. The new layers work with some already existing decor, such as the blue and the white linen pillow covers, blue bound book stacks, and furniture arrangement. The exception to the furniture arrangement was switching the directors chairs to armless slipper chairs (more comfortable & functional) plus bringing back the more sturdy coffee table.

White shells in glass cylinder I collected all from Sanibel Island, FL. I keep a small paper inside the shells so I know where each batch came from.

 The round mirror I painted gold at holiday, I actually had painted blue last year! These framed fabrics (I did back in Florida - you can read at: Make a Framed Fabric Focal Point) I'll switch to a blue and white print. The grapewood branches I got at HomeGoods back in Florida (I think in 2010). The white pedestal bowl is alabaster (heavy!!) I scored at Goodwill here in AZ - and it's filled with Coral I collected in Key Largo.

Yes - I like symmetry - especially around the TV. To us, any other way would be a distraction. Symmetry adds a sense of calmness to the room (plus it's also good Feng Shui to have things in pairs). But not everything is symmetrical - Just look at the coffee table and the gallery wall of mirrors...

I applied both symmetry and eclectic composition to the space which both allow your eyes to float around the room, but also have stopping points to rest...

The green stone I got at Quartzite AZ on our road trip last year to LA for the Design Bloggers Conference... 

The blue box are seaside photo notecards I got in San Diego last year. The Barclay Butera book was  signed by Barclay at this years Winter LVMKT and the New Seaside Interiors book I just picked up in Barclay's showroom in Newport. Storage Style, Ansel Adams, the rattan tray and blue bowl are all from thrift.

The fresh flowers I've been picking up at the local market (only $6 and they actually last the week!)

The shells are from the Gulf Coast of FL and Calsbad, CA. The globes: one is from thrift and one is from HomeGoods (2 years ago). The black stone is also from Quartzite, AZ. The aqua plates and B&W dish is from thrift and that silver tray was actually a clearance deal Jeff bought at his store (marked-down to $4).

The glass hurricanes were only $4 (for both) along with the blue, white, green porcelain vase (I think it was $8) were all from a 50% off Saturday Sale at Goodwill. The mirrors and books were mostly  thrifted - minus this Barclay book (Amazon used books and it's new!). The books act as a riser behind the sofa - the vase would be too low without them. The white-washed wood pillars are from HomeGoods, Florida.

The driftwood piece, small branch and stone I just brought back from a walk on Carlsbad Beach. The two small aqua vases and bowl are from Goodwill thrift. The lamps I got at HomeGoods back in Florida, but the braided trim shades I picked up here at Garden Ridge (which is now called At Home.)

The rope covered cylinder is from Frontgate. The blue & white sea fan wall art and blue frames are from HomeGoods. The tiny shell clusters are napkin rings I found while thrifting, and since I have my table linens (placemats + runners + napkins) in this buffet, it works as a decor detail for a coastal vignette. The picture is one of the notecards from the coffee table.

Just need the right photo for this frame!

Consigning saved the hassle of holding a garage sale plus the funds have gone to get some of the newer items. Along with using gift cards I've won from design challenges + sweepstakes winnings and a few thrift finds, I was able to refresh our rented house here in AZ with the coastal comfort of home - without it getting "too themed". It's not necessarily a 100% done - I'd still like to tweak a few details - but a welcome change nonetheless, especially with all the brown often seen here in AZ. The change in the living room is coming from the addition of layering more blues paired with a pale grey-green, known as hemlock green, I had started mix in with my black & white this Spring (shown in the beginning of the post). I first started to collect the porcelain for the Spring refresh I did for our bedroom and bathroom (posting next!) but that wonderful piece I found while thrifting one Saturday enabled the pattern to also work in the living room, which now creates harmony in the home, because the blues are used in five rooms from the upstairs loft area, to the bedroom, bathroom, garden room (downstairs) and now the living room... (I should probably post a home tour).


- Since it's challenging to find palm fronds here in AZ (low enough for me to cut) I picked up two  palm trees at Home Depot - one for $9 and one I got for only $2 so I could cut the fronds to add to large white vases. The $2 palm only had 4 fronds left on it, which they would have tossed - so I made him an offer he couldn't refuse :)

- Travel treasures such as shells from FL & CA and stones plus cow skull from AZ help tell our story. Not shown in the living room, but still up year round in the stairway, also telling our home story: Photos from Italy and New York.

- Blue & White print lumbar pillow on sofa - Turnstyle Consignment (March 2014)

- Blue & White Stripe Pillows: Dash & Albert - Lalyla Grayce Gift card (September 2013)

- Rope Cylinder Vase - Frontgate Gift Card (won in 2010 - just used this month!)

- Pair of Stripe Slipper chairs - Shipped slightly damaged when ordered for an AZ client makeover in 2013: had me KEEP them and they sent a new pair for client. I did some repair - now we them use everyday.

- Blue & White vases + blue frames + 2 hemlock green linen pillows + 1 large orchid + 1 one linen pillow with rope trim + scented candles - Some pieces I've gotten from gift cards from my HomeGoods partnership, pinning to the Happy By Design board. (2014)

- Blue & White bowls + 1 large vase (w/ green) + 2 glass hurricanes (behind sofa) + white alabaster bowl (above TV) + wood bowls + rattan and brass tray: Thrift finds

- 2 Large White Urns (above TV with palms) - Clearance at Target: $10 each - orig. $35 ea.


- Cover books on TV unit with blue & white print paper (from HomeGoods)

- Print and frame personal photos into new blue frames.

- Change large frames to framed blue fabric prints and coastal images.

Summer ReStyle - AZ 2012

Summer ReStyle - AZ 2012 - Coffee Table

Summer ReStyle - AZ 2013

Summer ReStyle - AZ 2014 

... and a little more tropical summer plus more saturated colors for Florida...
 Summer ReMix - FL 2011
(more India Hicks vibe)

Summer ReMix - Fl 2011

Summer ReMix - FL 2011
I believe it's only natural to not necessarily stay with a style today that you loved ten or even five years ago. Even if you still admire a style, for example I love coastal, but the way I put it together has changed. In Florida, I was heavily influenced by more vibrant Caribbean colors and tropical flavors, whereas here in AZ the colors pale in comparison - to the point where our first summer here I only used black and white - no color. Also in the past, I would only put out my coastal treasures from our beach trips during the summer, and then pack them up until the following summer. Living here in AZ, the coastal keepsakes (from Florida and now also California) have become a part of our home story and a way to stay connected to home back east, since I've evolved to keeping most (but not all) of them out year round. 

Simple summer style touches can be layered into almost any style home. 

Here are five core summer decorating tips:

1. Edit out the use of black by replacing with more whites for an airy feel.
2. Use touches of a water based scheme, whether it's lakeside or coastal. 
3. Using trays, bowls and cylinders are great to display a collection of shells, starfish or coral - especially on a coffee table, sofa table or buffet.
4. For a tropical touch, add palms.
5. Finish off a summer space with a seaside scented candle (especially if you're land-locked!)

See also:

Do you decorate any different for Summer?
What are some ways you like to display your Summer style?

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Summer!


  1. This looks so inviting -- great tips.

  2. Always enjoy reading all your blogs...exceptional advice and beautiful pictures!
    And your tips are attainable by your followers, with your clear, concise explanation.

    I'm off to make many changes in my house, thank you!!!!

  3. Beautifully done!! I'm going to have to go back and carefully study each picture to really see all of the gorgeous changes you've made. Just love your style!

  4. OMG Lynda, what huge talent you have in so many areas! Writing, designing, social media, and on and on.
    It is my huge advantage to know and to follow you . Great post on the big picture of designing but genius ideas on the small details..especially the blue and white..stunning!

    1. Thank you Mitzi! Blue is definitely a "go to" color for Summer, and hubs likes too (on account of all the blue shirts he wears!) Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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