Decorate with Crafts

Fun in the Sunroom

The Country Sampler stylists take a bonus room with a blue mood from quiet to quite bright with red furnishings and whimsical summer accessories.

0710wDWC01At approximately 5,000 square feet, Bev and Craig's St. Charles, Illinois, home offers plenty of room to relax -- or it would, if the busy couple had time to sit down. When they're not chasing after their grandson or working, though, Bev says her family usually congregates in the room "with the best TV."

However, she wishes they spent more time in their spacious sunroom, an ample, airy room with walls painted a bold yet calming shade of blue that wowed Bev the first time she saw the home 11 years ago. "We don't spend as much time out there as I wish we did," she says. "But it's lovely to go out and sit and read. I use it more than anything to entertain my girlfriends since we can see the outside better there than in the more closed-in kitchen."

With that in mind, Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker set out to show Bev a few ways to perk up the sunny area for summertime gatherings by using her already delightful decorating as inspiration. "There are a lot of Americana touches that Bev puts on the rest of the home for summer, so continuing the theme in the sunroom with lots of red accents seemed only natural," Sally-Jo says. "The space is also a place for entertaining, so introducing whimsy and bright colors really amps up the fun factor." Keep reading for 17 more ways to add sizzle to your favorite summertime retreat!

Life's a Beach
0710wDWC02 1. Find a replacement.
  To warm up the cool palette of Bev's blue-and-white sunroom, Sally-Jo and Catherine introduced punches of red, including a pair of square red tables standing in for a wicker coffee table that matches the area's other furniture. "If you want to change up your furniture but can't find the right piece, think about what you can alter or put together to get a new look," Sally-Jo advises. "A pair of slatted tables was just the thing here."
2. Go on a virtual vacation. 
"Summer is all about fun, so apply that attitude to a table display," Catherine says. "We created a beach in a tray by combining sand, seashells and some cute little figurines. The tray keeps the sand from getting everywhere, and you can easily move it out of the way if necessary."
3. Ignite interest.
  More cheery decor, such as a sparkly firecracker accent, a patriotic hatbox or a trio of wood flag-themed accents (bottom left), can lend extra pizzazz to an end table.
4. Earn your stripes. 
More cheery decor, such as a sparkly firecracker accent, a patriotic hatbox or a trio of wood flag-themed accents (bottom left), can lend extra pizzazz to an end table. "If you want your room to be summery but you don't want to go overboard with Americana elements, pick textiles, such as pillows or a rug, with stripes that hint at a more patriotic motif," Sally-Jo says. "You can interpret 'stars and stripes' in lots of different ways!"
5. Play around.
More stripes pop up on a croquet mallet and ball, which contribute an appropriate dash of sporty style to the summertime scene.

Tiers of Joy
0710wDWC03 6. Sit and think.
  The ample sunroom allows space for multiple seating areas, but even a smallish room can accommodate a petite dining set. The stylists dressed Bev's vintage ice cream table and chairs in a red cloth to suit the room's makeover and set the stage for more fresh ideas.
7. Square off.
  Drape a square quilted wall hanging across a round table to play the quilt's sharp corners off the furniture's curved edges. For more shapely dimension, top the wall hanging with more circular accents, including a candle with a complementary palette.
8. Be fruitful. 
"Fresh fruit is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to work color and natural zest into your seasonal decorating," Catherine says. "Start simple with lemon slices in a glass drink dispenser, or get more creative with strawberries, clementines or other citrus fruits piled on a tiered dessert stand."
9. Sea clearly. 
Play up a nautical-by-nature theme with seashells and starfish nestled amid the fruit on the dessert stand or sea grass-like foliage tucked into a red hanging pail. "We also filled spare measuring cups with tiny shells and arranged them on top of the stand," Sally-Jo adds. "And, miniature flags inserted into each cup add patriotic oomph."
10. Flag it down. 
In addition to the pint-size flags in the measuring cups, the stylists also cleverly repurposed a coordinating hat-shaped candy container as a planter for a sunny potted daisy that rests atop a distressed white shelf.
11. Take a break.
  Break up a large, bold-colored wall with artwork that picks up hues or themes from the rest of your room. Sally-Jo and Catherine picked a black-framed garden-themed print to complement the area's natural elements. 
12. Use what you've got.
  If you collect vintage picnic baskets or old-fashioned coolers, such as the red plaid beverage tote above, bring them out for entertaining to show off your treasures and to serve up drinks in style.


Open Seating
13. Sea it through.
  For a touch of seaside charm, the stylists hung a life-ring mirror and a striped beach towel on a sign outfitted with coat hooks, and they rested a stenciled "Beach" sign on a wicker umbrella stand.
14. Contain your collections. 
The umbrella stand and a black flower box provide handy spots for displaying more pieces of the croquet set the stylists brought in for its color and charm. Wicker boxes beneath the sofa offer storage and pick up on the texture of the room's white wicker furniture.


Nautical By Nature
15. Get the blues.
  The stylists outfitted the room with more blue-and-white accents to complement the bedding, choosing items that enhance the summery attitude they wanted the room to convey.
16. Coordinate your efforts. 
"Bev is a talented seamstress, and she covered her chair cushions with a pretty blue-and-white floral fabric that matches the walls and trim color," Sally-Jo notes. "To give the sofa more of a daybed feel, we dressed it in a patchwork quilt and pillows that go nicely with Bev's cushions." Sally-Jo and Catherine also included Bev's handmade flag pillow for a subtle dash of red.
17. Continue to impress. 
Sally-Jo and Catherine brought repeat elements from other seating areas into this section of the sunroom, including another red-striped rug and a bright crimson watering can holding a cluster of daisies. "Duplicating decor ideas can unite a larger room to make it feel more homey," Catherine says.


Sands of Time
18. Be childish. 
"Summer is a time when everybody wants to be a kid again, so include at least a few elements in your room that call back to childhood," Sally-Jo says. "Serve drinks in a sand pail filled with ice. Arrange bright-colored accents, candles or seashells in a decorative wagon, or set a cute figurine on a miniature hill of sand. That fun attitude will be contagious!"

For more information, visit our Craft Fair online.

A Summer's Day throw pillows, The 13th Colony
Americana glitter hatbox, Christopher Sparks figurine, Bathing Beauties figurines and Cabana Tent boxes, Henny Penny's House

"Gardener's Shanty" print, Country Creations
Americana hat candy container, Henny Penny's House
White Stowes bookcase, The Old Country Cupboard
Reversible Liberty wall hanging/table topper/doll quilt, Annie Kay & Company
Red, white and blue jar candle, The Soy Box

Welcome sign with hooks, Home Sweet Homespuns, LLC
Beach stencil on sign, Scrappin' Along Craft Stencils
Masthead lantern lamp, Country Creations
Flower/magazine box with flag stake, Copeland's General Store
Tranquility quilt and pillows, The 13th Colony

Beach Ball figurine, Henny Penny's House

Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker
Photographed by Brian Nightengale
Produced by Dennis Morgan