An Easy, Breezy Summer: Enjoy a Beachy Vibe at Home

As Canadians, we sure don’t enjoy a tropical climate—blink and you might miss summer—but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Decorating your spaces, both indoor and outdoor, to manifest a beachy, vintage vibe is on trend right now. So how can you quickly and easily transform your home into a summery paradise?
We spoke with local expert Diana Olsen, co-owner of Inner Beach Co., the popular Port Credit shop that focuses on living the beach life. The store recently celebrated its first anniversary.

“Creating a beach or surf shack inspired interior space is more about an attitude than a theme,” explains Olsen. “It looks and feels effortless and understated—or even under finished.”

Here are some of Diana’s expert tips:

Freshen up with citrus

As simple an idea as it may seem, decorating with a bowl of citrus fruits—lemons, oranges, limes—can do wonders to make an entire room feel brighter, fresher and more summery. When the fruit is ready to toss, use its zest to flavour your food, then use the leftover peels to freshen your garbage.

Incorporate linens in your rooms
Due to its weave and the properties of flax, linen is naturally breathable, allowing air to flow between the fibres. Swap out your heavy winter bedding and lap blankets with neutral or white linen sheets and pillowcases for a breezier look and feel.

If you need to act fast
Throwing an impromptu beach bash? For the fastest possible makeover, simply swap in graphic paintings for your usual wall art, invest in some house plants like fern or palm (add twinkly lights for some summer magic), display lots of fresh flowers—even pull out your vibrantly coloured dollar store melamine dishware and funky plastic glassware to serve guests. Blow up some beach balls, turn on the Dock Rock playlist and you’re all set to go!

Objects of interest
When it comes to choosing accessories for your beachy home, be creative! A paddle looks great as art, and a used canoe or kayak makes a great outdoor flower planter. Give your guests a serious Amalfi Coast villa vibe by including shells in your accessories—shell motif mirror, anyone? Don’t be afraid to spotlight fun, beachy items—hang a buoy or lifejacket on the wall because, why not?

Organize your gear
Just because you love summer doesn’t mean your stuff should be everywhere! Designate a place to corral all your beach and sporting gear. A woven seagrass basket or two will do the trick nicely.

Prep the patio
Get your patio ready for al fresco entertaining. If your deck or garden has enough space, carve out two separate areas to double the functionality: a separate lounge and eating area for both an outdoor living room and dining room.

Treat your windows
When you choose seasonal curtains and drapery, keep in mind that light colours reflect heat and darker colours absorb it, so choose white or lighter to stay cool and fresh. Or why not nix your heavy drapes completely, trading for knotted rope to achieve that beach house vibe? TIP: Add gauzy panels to your backyard gazebo to add privacy, shield the sun, and keep mosquitoes at bay.

Reuse, recycle
Need to furnish an outdoor room or gazebo? Repurpose a gently used patio set, even if it’s mismatched. It’s as easy as grabbing a bucket of paint. Choose a cloudy blue or soft yellow and voila… a cozy conversation set!

Fireplace as canvas
Odds are, you won’t be stoking any flames for another few months, so for now, stack leftover wood (birch is a nice option) or position candles in your fireplace. Looking for a coastal style? A gorgeous piece of coral makes an eye-catching vignette.

Mediterranean villa?
Use tropical colours and materials to turn your home into an island hideaway. We particularly love a lime green and pale coral colour scheme. And think about incorporating texture—use lots of rattan and raffia, sisal and even driftwood.

Amp up the bar
Fresh and fruity summer cocktails deserve a dedicated station. Whip up a mojito, margarita or mai tai at a well-stocked table… and remember to offer some fun garnishes to decorate those yummy bevvies.

Invite the light with white
For a more permanent summery vibe, why not lighten up entirely? Paint everything white, from the walls to the furniture, and then choose cream, sand, or white textiles. After you have your blank canvas, you can accessorize with any colour you love… and change up the look easily, no matter the season!

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