Use bright colors to give your summer décor some life!

Photo courtesy of Pier 1 Imports

July 4th has come and gone, and while we may have loved decorating to the hilt in red, white and blue, it's time to change up our summer entertaining décor.

FLAG IT!

First, take stock of what you have available and what might also be on sale.

If you love the look of an American flag but want to move into a less holiday-specific motif, you might consider changing it out to match a color for a dinner party you may be planning. Better yet, now that you can purchase flagpoles at post-Independence Day sales, you can buy a number of them and add your own bright-colored material to coordinate with your entertainment areas. I suggest purchasing suit lining in various colors which is lightweight and will billow nicely in the summer breeze. It's easy enough to stitch these up if you are handy with a sewing machine, but a professional seamstress can alsp do these up quickly. Attach the flagpoles to your fencing or in the ground for a dramatic effect. Nighttime “up lighting” on them will further enhance the ambiance throughout your special event. Every Fourth of July I seem to have a number of little hand flags that end up at my house from parades and other Independence-Day events. They are often plastic flags that you can take off and replace with different colors and fabrics. Pop them in your table flower arrangements, hanging baskets, or landscaping for a fresh look.

WRAP IT!

You might think of a fence as a decorating opportunity, but one way to brighten your outdoor space is to weave fabric through a fencing line. Consider taking colorful materials and wrapping them in and out of pickets for a nice way to bring a lot of décor and effect into your atmosphere.

TABLE IT!

Adding color to your table to might be easier than you think! So often we think we cannot change our table decor because we already have a setting that anchors the color and style of a room. Don't be afraid to mix and match summer colors in your place settings. You may have some bright-colored dishes tucked back in the cabinet that you can intermix with your more “formal” place settings. If not, you can easily find colored plates to intertwine with what you have available.

Now that you have “colored up” your plates, let’s think about your silverware. Forget the napkin wrapped around the flatware, it can be placed flat on the table with the flatware wrapped in a ribbon of color and bow with a small flower tucked into the ribbon.

LIGHT IT!

Lighting is essential to all décor! Too often I go into an event or establishment and the lighting is so bright that I cringe. As homeowners, we do need brighter light to function on a daily basis, however, when entertaining we need to bring the wattage down and create atmosphere. You don't need to spend a ton of money on updating your lighting. Simply either change out the existing bulbs for a lower wattage or change your lights for low-wattage colored bulbs to enhance your entertainment décor.

MORE: Check out Doug Wilson's take on closet spaces and the great outdoors!