Calling all beach babes — here's how to refresh your space for summer

I’m giving my apartment a hot girl summer

Pink glasses, candle, and folded table cloth on blue background
(Image credit: Future)

As much as I’d love to invite you all to my beach house a la The Summer I Turned Pretty for the summer, I can’t. Because I don’t own one. So, it looks like we’ll need to make the best of what we’ve got. 

And, if like me, what you’ve got is a two-bedroom apartment with minimal outdoor space, then let’s just say, challenge accepted. You see, the summer switch-up helps me embrace the best time of year; and while it sounds like a lot of effort, news flash: it’s not. 

I’m a fan of low-budget investments that make a high impact and so, by swapping out non-fixed items like soft furnishings, art prints, and candles, you can imbue your space with the spirit of summer and those coastal cowgirl vibes.

The key rules are bringing in lighter fabrics and colors and having fun with the part of this season we all love the most — whether it be buying colorful glassware for a sangria night with the girlies, or a sea salt-scented candle you feel like you’re on a beach in Mexico, there are lots of small ways to give yourself that vacay feeling.  

1) Lighten up those drapes, girl 

Neutral living room with beige couch and curtains

(Image credit: @homeywithnicole)

The first thing on my list when doing the ol’ swap-a-roo for summer is to change darker, thicker drapes for lighter, thinner ones. While you might not initially think it, curtains can really set the tone for the season and in winter it makes sense to hang drapes made of velvet or a wool blend, but as the mornings get lighter, linen or cotton can give the whole room a brighter feel. 

Personally, I love flowing linen drapes that hang slightly too long and pool on the floor for a boho feel. I even swap the drapes in my bedroom so that the sunlight starts to wake me up, kicking that circadian rhythm into action. Because, let me tell you, I need all the help I can get in the morning.   

2) Out with the old pillows, and in with the new  

Colorful living room with green couch

(Image credit: @thehousethatcolourbuilt)

Here we are again with those easy changes that pack a punch. Now, I don’t expect that anyone is swapping in a new sofa every season, but some colorful throw pillows  can give your seating a whole new look. 

Think three to five new covers (you don’t even need to buy the inside filling!) in pastel colors, summery scenes and lighter fabrics. Try to choose a core color palette that works with your chosen room (for example, pale pink, light blue and lilac) and across the five cushion covers opt for two patterned designs. 

The patterns should feel part of the same world but in different scales, one larger and one smaller. I think a gingham check and a floral are perfect for this time of year.  

3) Time for a bedding re-set 

Bed with neutral linen sheets and bedside table

(Image credit: @hallelang)

Give your bedroom some love and treat yourself to a pretty new duvet set for the warmer months. The benefits are two fold; yes, it looks hella cute, but also it will make sleeping in the heat easier if you opt for a breathable cotton or linen. 

Beauty and brains? I think so! I love a slightly crumpled, washed linen look and have experimented with different shades of natural tones. In my experience, mix and matching either clay and terracotta or sage green and cream hues looks best. Or, if you’re more of a pattern lover, you can never go wrong with a sweet floral design. 

4) Switch up your scent 

Colorful living room with pink couch

(Image credit: @overatno18)

When I think of summer, one of the first things that come to mind is the scent of the sea, warm breezes, and even sunscreen. Now, while SPF 30 isn’t the chicest name I’ve ever heard for a scented candle, those smells we associate with summer can definitely get us in the mood for the best time of year. I love putting a fresh selection of candles around my apartment in scents like sea salt, fresh cotton, and summer fruits.  

5) Up your tablescape game with new linens 

Colorful kitchen with yellow shelves

(Image credit: @thehousethatcolourbuilt)

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space like a balcony or terrace, meal times look real different in the summer. If you don’t, you can still get a brighter, lighter feel with some new linens. Throw down a patterned tablecloth to give dinners at home a sprinkle of extra cuteness and complement with floral tableware. Complete the look with a set of pastel dinner candles and an un-fussy bunch of your favorite summer blooms, popped in a jam jar in the center of the table.  

6) Host in summer style  

Vintage ceramic mug

(Image credit: @ohsorented)

My favorite thing about spending summer at home is the hosting. Think fruity cocktails with edible flowers as a garnish and fresh salads with Italian-inspired nibbles, not only is it a recipe for ultimate deliciousness, it’s actually much easier to put together, too. 

To match the vibes, I love investing in some pretty glassware and serveware, especially when I know I have a few cute picnics or drinks coming up. My advice is to stick to an overall theme whether that be a color palette, era or pattern (I love florals, which I know, is groundbreaking) and then no matter where you source your new tableware from, it will all work together.