Greeting the seasons

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Your home decor doesn’t have to be set in stone. Let nature take you in a new direction every now and then. Whether you capitalize on something in abundance like flowers in the spring, or focus on what’s lacking, like natural light in the fall, it’s easy to tweak your interiors each season.

As part of the recent Homestyle Dish & Design event at EuroAmerica Design in Troy, I shared some tips for making seasonal changes to your environment.

There’s no need to follow the calendar when you can simply look out your window and let the view outside be your guide. When the leaves begin to sport those remarkable hues, you can warm up your rooms to follow suit.

If you’d rather preserve a summerlike palette, that’s fine too. Just cozy it up a bit with some plush pillows and blankets in more substantial materials like wool and chenille to replace cotton and linen.

Summer Lovin’

Since we still get to enjoy this special weather for at least another month, keep in mind that come summer, less is more. Editing goes a long way during this casual time of year, as does color. Try something new in the form of a brighter hue, or rely on classic combos, like blue and white.

Natural elements echo the feel of the season. Introduce the informality of sisal rugs and wicker baskets that lend texture to any setting.

Lighten up your look by removing heavy draperies, bedding and rugs from your rooms. Create simple tabletop arrangements with fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers, whether plucked from your garden or purchased at your local store.

Fall Fashion

One of my favorite seasons will soon be here. Whether planning our homes or our wardrobes, this time of year is all about layering. Pillows, rugs and throws provide a cozy vibe.

Try out some warmer tones by switching from a bowl of lemons on your kitchen counter to a basket of shiny red apples, or pumpkins and gourds, for a fall-inspired palette that makes its way around the room.

There’s no better place to begin than at the entrance to your home with a new welcome mat and autumn-like display. Rest a fresh wreath against a weathered chair on your front porch to signal the arrival of the season.

Winter Wonderland

Take your holiday mantel a step further by updating tables and shelves around the house. Let pretty boxes and books with a seasonal theme or color scheme elevate your favorite accessories.

Invest in some festive picture frames in traditional shades of red and green that might prompt you to update the photos featured within. Or simply make the switch from silver to gold for more warmth during this frosty time of year.

While many of us favor darker shades for winter, what our homes crave most is light. Snow and ice illustrate that white doesn’t have to be a summer staple. With holiday decor, this pale shade takes a space from being Christmas specific to a look that will last all season long.

Slipcovers give your furniture a new identity. The same holds true for the fabrics you choose for bedding, window treatments and more. Look for reversible selections for a quick switch that makes turning over a new leaf an easy feat with double-sided curtains, comforters and pillows.

Spring Fling

Seasonal tweaking doesn’t have to be complicated. A few key pieces set the tone for a room. Swap your bottles of red wine in a bar area with a collection of white for an instant exchange that reflects the season.

Come spring, blur the lines between indoors and out by opening blinds and windows to bring some fresh air and sunshine to your environment. Appeal to the senses with scents supplied by flowers and herbs.

Green can be a great neutral. Introduce a new accent color by placing some potted plants throughout the house for a natural touch. Yellow can cheer you up on a dreary day.

While making your modifications, remember change is good. Let the seasons lead the way and see where your inspiration takes you.

Jeanine Matlow writes the Smart Solutions column in Homestyle. You can reach her at

All Seasons

■Display pieces, such as pedestals and easels, let you create a rotating gallery. Prop a cookbook on a stand in your kitchen to highlight each season, like one that features picnic fare for summer and your favorite crockpot recipes come winter.

■A backdrop like a painting or poster can provide a starting point for a seasonal vignette. Adjust your surrounding accent pieces based on different shades shown in the artwork, such as green in the spring and brown for fall.

■Table settings let us test our best ideas on a smaller scale. An array of chargers and napkins update your everyday plates. Create a themed centerpiece to honor summer with an array of potted plants and garden statues. Switch to a mix of pine cones and acorns for autumn.

■Get your core accents in on the act. Vary candle colors to make holders look like new. Dress a statue or bust with some garland for the holidays and a straw hat come summertime.

■When a room is mostly neutral, it’s a cinch to add seasonal hues. Colorful glass bottles make a statement on a shelf, while a patterned rug sets the tone underfoot. Distribute pieces evenly throughout the space for visual balance.

■Outdoor critters can influence seasonal décor. Go beyond turkey platters for Thanksgiving and bunnies to celebrate Eastertime. Owls, squirrels and birds can inhabit your home with no trouble when they’re in purely decorative form.

■Fill glass containers with seasonal symbols like faux snowballs during the colder months and seashells to announce the arrival of summer. Think beyond your average vase with other vessels, such as Mason jars, fishbowls and covered cake plates.

■Brighten up a dark accent wall with a rotating photo gallery or a collection of mirrors. Line the back of a bookcase or cabinet with wallpaper to highlight the contents that can be refreshed every few months.