Decorate with Crafts

15 Summer Styling Secrets

A four-season porch gets set for summertime entertaining with some tips and tricks from the Country Sampler stylists.

0708WDWCNestled on two acres between a walking park and a golf course, Denise Price's Cape-Cod style home rests on a rare secluded plot of land amid the hustle-bustle of suburban Chicago. Denise and her husband, David, cherish their home's picturesque privacy, enjoying it especially on their four-season porch, which they doubled in size several years ago to make the most of their pastoral surroundings. "We spend a lot of time on the porch," Denise says. "It gets a lot of sun, so we were even able to have Christmas breakfast out there once!"

Wintertime use of the porch may be somewhat sporadic, but during the summer months -- when the glass window panels are replaced with screens -- Denise spends a great deal of time there. "I'm allergic to bees, so I practically live on the screened-in porch," she says. "I use it the most of anyone. I love to read out there with my dog." Not only is the area wonderful for relaxing in, it also provides an ideal spot for entertaining, allowing for a bar and ample dining space, as well as easy access to the yard.

Hoping to get even more out of the porch's charm, Denise asked Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker to help bring in summery style. "Because Denise's porch is enclosed, it's shielded from the elements, yet still feels like it's outdoors -- it's really the best of both worlds," Catherine says. "For summer, we wanted to give her a combination of beachy and Americana looks that work well for everyday and entertaining."

Sally-Jo adds that their redo ideas are versatile enough for any space. "Our tricks really can be adapted for use on an open-air porch or even indoors if you don't have a space outside that you'd like to redecorate," she says. "As we always say, let your imagination determine your decorating style!"

0708WDWC2Just Relax!
Follow Sally-Jo and Catherine's favorite hints for hot-weather porch perk-ups!1. Choose a soothing palette.Pale yellow and blue-and-white cushions complement the hues found in the house's siding and trim as well as the summer sky. "Yellow, white and blue combine to make a refreshing palette," Sally-Jo says. "When decorating, we followed Denise's color scheme, but we also brought in a few bits of red for pizzazz."2. Add some punch.Red toss pillows, burgundy primroses in a distressed white box and potted geraniums attached to an architectural piece contribute bursts of vibrance to the space.3. Pick up the existing palette with small and large accents.The stylists placed a blue jar candle on a side table and positioned a trunk beside the loveseat.4. Create more useful space for parties.Topped with only a few accents, including a yellow butterfly lawn ornament, a jar candle and a beach-inspired vase filled with seashells and tall grasses, the trunk offers an extra spot for guests to rest their drinks.

0708WDWC3Go Fourth!
5. Spice it up for the Fourth.The stylists feathered in a few patriotic elements that salute the season. "The Uncle Sam figurine looks just adorable on the coffee table," Catherine says. "To carry out the Americana theme, we placed a cream-colored lantern with a red candle on top of a star-shaped mirror. At night when the candle is lit, the light reflects off of the mirror and sets a really wonderful tone."6. Stash in a Flash.The stylists also rested an Americana tote bag on the chair. Because it's quilted, the bag has the look of an accent pillow, making it a stylish way to stow away books, magazines, knitting supplies or anything else that you want to keep hidden but close at hand.

CS708WDWC04Dining Out
7. Create a just-beachy Americana tablescape."A setting like this is perfect for a summer dinner party," Sally-Jo says. "The blue-and-white cushions have a nautical feel, so we fleshed that out with a vignette in the center of the table that includes a miniature sailboat, a starfish, and a vase of sand and beach grass."8. Amp up the Americana."Gear your look toward an Independence Day soiree by bringing in a few red accents for a more patriotic vibe," Catherine says.9. Follow a pattern.Gingham napkins are picnic-y and complement the miniature flag in the centerpiece.10. Playfully personalize each place setting.Red sand pails with monogrammed toy shovels pop against white dishware.11. Get set for after-dark.The scene transitions from day to night in a snap with a candle chandelier, which is perfect for the outdoors because it requires no electricity. The stylists advise using glass cups around the base of each candle to prevent wax from dripping onto the table.

0708WDWC5Soft Focus
Light yellow siding contrasts with a red brick wall and the stone tile floor of the Prices' porch to create a dynamic backdrop for the stylists' work. "The walls and flooring really add character to the space, but we wanted to bring in softer, more colorful elements to make it feel inviting, more lived in," Catherine says. "Denise spends a lot of time out here, and we want her to feel comfortable."12. Rethink and repurpose.Two blue-and-white striped cushions find a new job as accent pillows that complement the red-and-white Old Glory stripes on a small pillow and an eye-catching wood flag.13. Floor Your Decor.The cushions' hues also bring out the white-and-blue patchwork pattern of a wood floorcloth that dresses up the space underfoot.14. Go for garden-inspired attractions.A wrought-iron trellis is home to summery yellow flowers and a weathered miniature sailboat. "A metal trellis can really bring a lot of texture and interest to a wall, and you can hang just about anything on it," Sally-Jo says. "If it's sheltered from the elements, you can even hang framed photos and wood signs on it. Use fabric ribbon or raffia as a hanger for a softer look."15. Think outside the box -- or basket.A black metal waste basket filled with flowers contributes more cheer to the porch. "You can actually use a decorative waste basket as a planter," Catherine says. "You never know what you have around the house that can be used as a clever accent!"

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