Decorate with Crafts

16 Summer Style Updates

The Country Sampler stylists infuse Americana fanfare into a nautical guest suite to create a patriotic panorama that's still just beachy.

0709WDWC00 Creativity comes naturally to Linda, who loves to dot the decor of her Cary, Illinois, home with handmade touches and revamped flea-market finds. After moving into the home with her husband, David, in late 2006, Linda set to work transforming the five-bedroom, two-story residence into a showcase for her lighthearted style, which includes dashes of nautical, French country and traditional looks. She put her personal stamp on each room with handsewn pillows and old furniture fixed up to look new, such as a 60-year-old wicker chair she has painted a new hue on several occasions. "My parents got that chair on their honeymoon," Linda says. "That's what is so neat about wicker; you can change it to anything. I've even painted that chair teal in the past!"

Nowadays, that wicker chair -- sporting a fresh coat of white paint -- resides in the guest bedroom, which features classic plaid wallpaper, cheery yellow walls and a touch of beachside style. To ready the room and its adjacent bathroom for summer, Linda invited Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker to help her give the space a subtle hint of Americana charm. "Because they're both summery themes, patriotic and nautical styles can commingle beautifully," Sally-Jo says. "It all depends on choosing the right accents to suit your home so that the mix seems natural." Read on for more ways to rev up your guest bedroom and bathroom for the summer season!

0709WDWC01Wait and Sea
1. Pick and choose. 
Pale yellow walls, white fixtures and navy accents may set the stage for a nautical scene, but you can easily turn the tide toward a more patriotic look with wisely chosen add-ons such as a yellow-toned Americana tissue holder.
2. Stay fresh.
  "Cheerful flowers are a staple of summertime decorating," Catherine says. "For more style points, be creative with how you display them, like placing blooms in a tumbler or a toothbrush holder."
3. Get ready to mingle. 
Embrace your current style by merging Americana elements with accents that suit your look. In Linda's beachy bathroom, the stylists dressed up a piece of white coral with miniature flags and placed a red daisy inside a conch shell. Linda contributed to the cause as well, tying a patriotic bow around a white hand towel hung below a watercolor that she painted herself while sitting on the beach, which can be seen reflected in the mirror.
4. Shoot for the stars.
"If you really want to merge nautical and Americana styles, starfish are the perfect addition," Sally-Jo says. "We perched a couple on top of a dark-blue shutter with a star cutout."
5. Wrap things up. 
For extra red-white-and-blue beauty, the stylists also tied a realistic-looking starfish to a white washcloth and a red hand towel that they displayed on a blue sandal accent.

0709WDWC02Something Wicker This Way Comes
6. Sit pretty.
  To kick-start an Americana makeover in Linda's guest bedroom, the stylists embellished her cherished wicker chair with a tea-stained flag pillow that picks up the wall hue.
7. Look down. 
In front of the chair, a smattering of texture-rich summery accents, including a braided flag rug and a wicker purse, take the room's redo to ground level. "Even Mandy the dog gets in on the celebration!" Catherine says.
8. Dresser it up.
  For the makeover, Sally-Jo and Catherine replaced a few nautical accents on top of Linda's dresser with a festive jar candle, some whimsical figurines in front of a pint-size screen and a rustic lantern that evokes Paul Revere's ride.
9. Repeat yourself.  As they did in the bathroom, the stylists adorned the wall with weathered shutters featuring star cutouts. Vintage-style wallboards bearing Americana scenes pop against the shutters' pale backdrop.
10. Adorn the unexpected.
  Whether it's a flag-themed metal stake nestled into a plant, a small fabric banner hung on a drawer knob or a patriotic figurine perched on a tabletop, any room will benefit from a cleverly placed accent.

0709WDWC03Plaid to the Bone
11. Stay in neutral territory.
  Because the guest bedroom's walls sport plaid wallpaper, one of Linda's favorite decorating tricks is to use neutral bedding. Not only does a solid-hued duvet not compete with the bold pattern, it also makes swapping out the room's seasonal decor a breeze.
12. Keep boredom at bay. 
To prevent her bed dressing from looking ho-hum, Linda loves to mix and match pillows, sometimes making over old ones for a fresh look. "To create the four-square pillow, I just tacked part of a table runner to a pillow with star-shaped buttons at each corner," Linda says. "You can get a whole new look in just a few minutes!"
13. Stand tall.
  Pick accessories that have a little bit of height, such as a trio of stars on pedestals grouped on a nightstand or a miniature flag finial that pops against a sailboat model's white sails.
14. Find a balance.  When choosing wall decor, the stylists steered clear of pieces featuring vivid patterns that might clash with the wallpaper below, opting instead for larger objects -- a branch painted white that supports a vase of flowers, a classic scrollwork clock -- that balance the upper and lower halves of the wall.
15. Make it a happy ending.
  Arrange a vignette at the end of the bed that carries out your Americana theme. Include components that pick up the red, white and blue hues found elsewhere in the room, such as a game board, a ticking star accent, a fragrant white jar candle or a book with a handpainted cover. 16. Be a star. "When you're trying to mingle two styles, such as nautical and Americana, keep an eye out for objects that work for both themes," Sally-Jo says. "A weathered star works on both levels because it is a traditional patriotic shape, but it looks like it has spent some time being worn down by an ocean breeze."

Visit our Craft Fair online for more information.

Berries & Bows tumbler and soap dish, and Americana tissue box and wastebasket, The Country Shoppe
Country star shutter, American Country, LLC

Tea-stained flag pillow, Olde Farm Creek
Rustic flag braided rug, Colonial Rug Co.
Milk house lantern, The Primitive Corner
Americana jar candle, Homespun Productions
Williraye Studio Calling All Campers and Lake-Adaisical Day figurines, Old Mill Originals
Shutter with star cutouts, SA Shutter Mill
Patriotic Drum and Day of Flags Boy vintage image wallboards, Jan's Junction
Metal flag stake, Home Decor For Your Style

White star pedestals, The Primitive Corner
Mini flag finial, Painters Alley & Decor
Loretta wall clock, Country Traditions
Patriotic star bowl filler, Blackbird Creations
Americana parcheesi game board, CL Ltd
Apothecary jar candle, Scented Splendors
Handpainted book, Gainers Creek Crafts

Scarf on dog, Mandy's Mud Room,
God Bless America table runner on trunk and small USA banner on dresser, ADORNit -- Carolee's Creations, 435-563-1100,

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