After a long and dreary winter and a downright chilly spring, summer is finally on deck. As the days lengthen and the temperatures climb, it's time to lighten and brighten your space – replace heavy drapes with breezy summer curtains, swap your heavy winter comforter for a lightweight summer bedspread, and get rid of that over-winter clutter buildup by purging your space of items you no longer want.
Once you've cleared and lightened up your space, bring the outdoors in – rocks, shells, branches – start collecting these items and using them in your apartment décor. They're great left natural – put some seashells in a clear, glass vase and set it on your coffee table, place the branch on your fireplace mantle, use the rocks as bookends or arrange them on a shelf.
To add a splash of color and some uniqueness to your items, though, gather some paints, brushes, glitter, and whatever else appeals to you and try some of these DIY projects:
Seashells are naturally beautiful with their curvy shapes and delicate colors, but have some fun with them! Spray paint them with metallic paints – silver will give your shells a cool, sophisticated look. Gold spray paint will give them a funky edge. Prefer color? Try spray-painting them hot pink and lime green. You can end there and place them in a bowl or on a tray and set them on your coffee table, or you can hot-glue them to a wreath form (found at any craft store) to make a shell wreath. Attach a ribbon to the top and hang it on your wall, over the fireplace, or on your front door.
Large seashells make great planters – try growing air plants in some shells! Put these in front of a window where they will get bright filtered light. Water your air plants two or three times a week, and be sure to empty the water out of the shell. Since air plants can grow anywhere, try placing some on driftwood (attach with glue, fishing line, or twist-ties). Air plants don't like soil – they will die if you try to plant them, but they'll do great placed in a shell or on some driftwood.
In the 1970s, a rather odd trend began – pet rocks. Initially, the rocks were just plain, gray stones. Eventually, people began adding decorations to their rocks – glue-on "eyes," feathers, plastic gemstones, etc. And while you may not want to call them pet rocks, you can make an interesting arrangement of painted rocks. You'll need some acrylic paint and some brushes, and perhaps some glitter or other embellishments. Get creative! You can turn your rocks into birds, bugs, frogs, odd faces – or just paint them a solid color and (once dry) use a different color to paint on stripes or polka dots. Or, coat the rocks in clear-drying craft glue and roll them in glitter.
Plants are a great way to brighten up your space. Consider planting fresh herbs and placing them below a sunny window. Some plants are great for keeping summer pests away – basil, for example, is great for cooking, but it also repels flies. Cheerful, sunny marigolds will keep mosquitoes away – plant some and keep it next to your front door or on your balcony or patio. Mint repels fleas, lavender repels silverfish, and catnip repels mosquitoes (you can use the oil from the plant directly on the skin instead of mosquito repellent – just be aware that any cat that crosses your path will be attracted to you). Be sure to check this list of plants toxic to pets if you have a four-legged roommate.
If you think you have to pack away your crochet and knitting yarn for the summer, think again! There are many great summer craft ideas that involve yarn – macramé a plant holder or even crochet a picture frame for those great summer photos you'll be taking.
Summer is a beautiful time of year, filled with color, warmth, and light. Bring a little of that into your apartment and enjoy the season!