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REAL ESTATE

How to Get Your Home Ready for Summer

  • SummerMood3.jpg

     (Mary Prince Photography/Houzz)

  • SummerMood2.jpg

     (Mina Brinkey/Houzz)

  • SummerMood1.jpg

     (De[luxe] Design Studio/Houzz)

The days are lengthening; the nights are warmer — it’s time to start thinking summer. From white curtains billowing in the breeze, sleeping porches, shell collections and wildflowers to fresh juice in the morning and nautical stripes, certain things just beg to be a part of your summer routine. Here are 15 fun, crafty and creative ways to get your home in the spirit of summer.

1. Hang outdoor curtains. What says summer more clearly than white curtains billowing in a breeze? And as if the tropical-vacation vibe weren’t enough reason to add them to your porch ASAP, they also provide shade and privacy.

RELATED: 11 Ways to Breeze Into Summer With White

2. Collect shells in a big glass vase. Start the season by filling a big glass cylindrical vase partway with sand, and gradually add shells as you find them on your beach adventures throughout the summer.

3. Deck out your deck for siestas and fiestas. Colorful cushions, a pottery collection and a guitar set the stage for any relaxed afternoon activity you like, from solo napping to having a mellow party with friends.

4. Set up a summery bar. A pretty tray with a few glasses and a pile of limes is all you need to be ready for summer drinks — and the glasses don’t even need to be made of glass if your bar is outdoors.

5. Hang a swinging chair.Whether outdoors or in, a swinging chair instantly makes any space feel more relaxed. Try one on the porch or in the living room.

RELATED: Expert Talk: Porch Swings Sway Into Sweet Life

6. Restyle your kitchen shelves. Give yourself the gift of simplicity this summer by offloading the clutter from your kitchen cabinets into a few boxes and putting them away in a distant closet. The extra breathing space will make it feel like you’re cooking in a vacation home.

7. Decorate with driftwood. Found a cool chunk of driftwood on the beach? Clean it up and put it to work on your coffee table, console or bookcase.

8. Make setting the table easy as pie. Instead of keeping your silverware in the drawer as usual, try storing it in a caddy right on the dining table for the summer months — plus it’ll be easy to grab when you decide to have dinner al fresco.

9. Put some wildflowers in a jelly jar. When outdoor blooms are so plentiful, why buy them in a store? Snip whatever happens to be growing in your own backyard and plunk the stems in a jelly jar to add a romantic touch to any room.

10. Freshen up the beds with crisp nautical stripes. Blue and white striped bedding on all of the beds feels very beach house chic. Shop around and scoop some up on sale.

11. Keep rolled-up beach towels by the door. The bright colors look cheerful, and having the towels close at hand means you won’t have to scramble when it’s time to head out the door. Try storing them in a vintage enamel bucket, big beach tote or French market basket.

12. Squeeze fresh juice in the morning. Keep a big pile of fresh oranges, a glass pitcher and a juicer together on the counter and make a ritual of squeezing fresh juice each summer morning. It’ll make the day feel special right from the beginning.

13. Set up an outdoor changing area. If you have a pool in the backyard or make frequent trips to the beach, it can come in quite handy to have a changing booth outside for getting into and out of bathing suits. Style up your own changing area with old buoys, colorful lanterns and a fun, seaside-themed shower curtain.

14. Furnish a sleeping porch. Add a daybed or two to your screened-in porch to transform it into an extra sleeping spot on warm summer nights — or a napping place on lazy summer afternoons, with a tall sweet tea in arm’s reach. You can’t beat an iron-frame bed and a striped mattress cover for classic summer appeal.

15. Hang a flag. Hanging a flag can add vibrant color and style to your entry all summer long, not just on the Fourth of July.