Summer living room ideas – 5 small seasonal swaps to brighten up your lounge

Get your living room summer-ready with these tips and tricks from interior designers that are sure to bring you joy this season

summer living room ideas
(Image credit: Alexandra Kaehler / Photography Aimée Mazzenga / Vaughan Design & Development / Photography Chris Snook / Carley Summers)

While you ideally want your home decor to remain timeless throughout every season, a few summer living room ideas could be used to breathe new life into the space and bring about a brighter and breezier disposition.

By now, you've likely already embarked on a summer closet switch-around to get yourself feeling summer-ready, but it can be a bit of a harder task with summer decor ideas in your home. Of course, a good spring clean does wonders, but together with these small, thoughtful changes, you can ensure your living room ideas feel fresh and rejuvenated just in time for summer.

Whether you have a small living room or a spacious lounge, these summer living room decor ideas can be tailored to suit any style and space. Here are five easy, expert-approved seasonal swaps to help you create a more cheerful and inviting environment that reflects the joy of summer.

Summer Living Room Ideas

summer living room with a curated doorway vignette and floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Carley Summers)

Summer living room updates don’t have to be extensive or expensive. Simple swaps like adding in more vibrant throw pillows or incorporating some fresh greenery can instantly lift the mood of your living space with minimal effort required. We've asked expert interior designers for their favorite ways to embrace the summer season in the living room.

1. Introduce a pop of joy-inducing color

summer living room with blue printed sofa

(Image credit: Vaughan Design & Development / Photography Chris Snook)

Choosing a single accent piece, such as a vibrant armchair or a lively rug, can instantly transform the ambiance of your space. Color has a profound impact on our mood and energy levels, so incorporating a bright, happy hue like sunshine yellow, verdant green, or sky blue can make your living room feel totally different.

'Add sunny accents to your space,' suggests interior designer Abbie Naber of A.Naber Design. 'We incorporate a lot of yellow tones in living areas to brighten it up and add a playful, summer vibe.' The goal is to make your living room feel like a sunny retreat, a place where you can relax and enjoy the longer days.

Holly Vaughan, interior designer and founder of Vaughan Design & Development suggests: 'Going for a fabric with lighter and brighter color on a centerpiece bit of furniture is going to create a sunny backdrop to your living room,' like the blue couch seen above. 'Then, over the seasons, you can decorate your space with soft furnishings that reflect what’s going on outside.'

2. Bring in some natural textures

coastal cabin style living room with log burner fireplace and a woven rug

(Image credit: Neptune)

Natural textures have an organic, tactile quality that is perfect for creating a relaxed and serene summery vibe. Pieces like woven rugs, sheer window treatment ideas, and rattan lighting fixtures can add depth and warmth to your space, creating a connection to the outdoors.

'I love the look of woven materials like rattan, ricker, cane, and seagrass for summer if you're looking to make some seasonal swaps,' suggests interior designer Kathy Kuo. 'Many natural woven materials are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and they also tend to be very lightweight so they're easy to mix, match, and move around as needed. Instant coastal decor chic and perfect for summer.'

When summer comes around you want to be embracing lighter, airier aesthetics. Switching out heavy fabrics and dark hues for light, breathable materials can completely change a room's atmosphere. Opt for neutral or pastel shades to enhance the lightness of your space and to complement your other summer decor elements.

3. Refresh your decorative pillows

vintage style living room sunroom with patterned throw pillows and accent chair

(Image credit: Carley Summers)

Pillows are one of the easiest elements to update seasonally. They can change the entire mood of a room without requiring a major investment, and switching out your existing pillows for new covers in lighter fabrics, brighter colors, or uplifting prints can be done in an instant.

'I always like to swap out the throw pillows on my sofa for the summer season,' Kathy continues. 'I put away my cozy cashmere and faux fur pillows in storage and break out my cotton and linen ones.' Cotton, linen, and lightweight blends are excellent choices as they are breathable and comfortable, perfect for the warmer months.

Additionally, consider a layered mix of patterns inspired by nature, such as florals, botanical motifs, or coastal themes. 'I also love the look of adding a vase of fresh summer flowers or greenery to my living room as a way to bring the outdoors in,' adds Kathy.

4. Take the time to de-clutter excess decor

sunroom living room with a blue sofa and large windows

(Image credit: Alexandra Kaehler / Photography Aimée Mazzenga)

'In the summer I like to declutter – less stuff, more ease is always my warm-weather goal,' suggests Heather from Heather Peterson Design. And it makes perfect sense. In summer, you might want to consider simplifying your environment, as a clutter-free space is sure to promote a sense of calm and clarity.

'When you're doing things like swapping in summer textiles (a lightweight throw instead of a heavy winter option), consider also removing or lightening up your art too,' she suggests. 'I have also been known to lay a room-sized sisal or jute rug, and layer a patterned wool one on top only as the season calls for.'

Embracing a minimalist approach not only makes your space feel more open and inviting but also reduces visual noise, allowing you to enjoy the warm weather with a clear mind. Once you've cleared the excess, take the opportunity to highlight a few key pieces that embody the essence of summer, like a vase of fresh flowers or a bowl of seasonal fruit.

5. Add special and personalized touches

blue living room sun room with a striped sofa and rattan accessories and a decorative shelving built in

(Image credit: Alexandra Kaehler / Photography Aimée Mazzenga)

Personalized decor makes a house feel like a home and the summer is an ideal time to showcase items that remind you of happy moments and adventures. Displaying meaningful items can bring a sense of joy and connection to your space.

Framed family photos are a wonderful way to start. Select images from memorable beach trips, outdoor adventures, or summer holidays that capture the spirit of the season. Seashells, pebbles, and other collected treasures from vacations can also be displayed in glass jars or bowls, while mementos like postcards, maps, and tickets can be framed and hung as art.

Holly Vaughan also recommends having some of your fabric pieces embroidered with personal initials or messages. 'You can add embroidery to anything you like; curtains, napkins, pillowcases to name a few. These little details are brilliant conversation starters and quickly make a home more interesting. To make it extra special, you can even ask your embroiderer to do it in a loved one’s handwriting,' she suggests.

Creating a summer-ready living room is all about making thoughtful, seasonal adjustments that bring joy, light, and comfort into your home. Whether it's introducing a pop of color or adding some personalized touches, these simple swaps can transform your living room into a more inviting space for the warmer months ahead.

For more summer decorating inspiration, we explore summer decor trends from interior designers.

Charlotte Olby
Style & Trends Editor

Charlotte is style and trends editor at Homes and Gardens, and has been with the team since Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she has worked at many women's glossy magazines including Grazia, Stylist, and Hello and most recently worked as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with her passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome