“The Color of Summer”

The Colors Of Summer

Ever since the time when we were young, the idea of summer meant fun, friends and freedom.  Even though most of us no longer get the summer off anymore, we somehow continue to look forward to it like some sort of annual reward for a year of hard work.   With winter behind us, we begin to plan vacations, cookouts, or maybe just a plan of getting a good tan and reading a few good books.  It’s a time for both fun and rest.

If we were to put colors to the time of the year, summer would be the most colorful.  Maybe because those colors remind of us of summers past or maybe they just inflict a feeling of happiness.  It’s a time when everything blooms, when we spend time at the beach and county fairs, and gardens are filled with fruits and vegetables that beg to be eaten.  Color is everywhere and we love it.

So to pay respect to our summer fantasies, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to an area of design in which summer plays an important role.   This is a photo blog about our backyards, patios and porches, and that little piece of our world where we can create our own vacation.


Nothing feels cleaner and quieter, than the strong presence of white.  Like fresh clean sheets, it invites us to rest.  The use of green repeats the theme of nature and invites guests to feel welcome.   The patio furniture is kept simple so as to not detract from the overall effect of the use of color.



The mixture of materials can create an intimate area that is filled with character.  This can make an otherwise small space seem more interesting and memorable.  As always, the garden is part of the furnishings, not just a backdrop.


The patio should be an extension of the home.  The use of the same flooring makes the interior expand to the outside and makes the house feel larger.  The style should also be in keeping with the style of the owner and house.  This makes moving from one area to the other appear seamless.  In this case, the natural tones of the house have been repeated and the large scale of the home has been tamed by the simplicity of design.

Outdoor fireplaces have become a major focal point for outdoor living.  They are great to take a chill out of the nighttime air and provide a warm ambient light for entertaining or just relaxing at the end of the day.


For those who prefer the indoor patio, nothing speaks of summer more than the cool color of blue.  Blue ceilings, originally designed to fool birds into thinking it was the sky so they wouldn’t build nests, have become an icon of southern beachfront homes.  The addition of same color prints and accents, along with classic wicker furnishings and a painted wood floor, give this porch the feeling of a private guest house.

And patios aren’t just for patio furniture.  Draperies, used for backdrops or to disguise the neighbors view, are kept light to catch the breeze.  Notice in this photo that the main pieces of upholstery are contemporary but they have introduced a mixture of accessories for character.  The symmetrical arrangement and clean lines add to a more formal atmosphere.

Sometimes you just need to carve out a little niche’ just for yourself.  A single comfortable piece surrounded by things you love, old and new, will give you a place that belongs to you.  Have fun with the colors trying to make the fabrics feel as organic as the foliage surrounding them.

Whether you’re looking for a dramatic space for entertaining or just a private getaway, let nature play the most important role.  Keeping things a little more organic will increase the restfulness whether it’s teak furniture, clay pots and urns, stonework, or even a water feature.  Divide your spaces up into different areas but try to keep one main focal point such as the pool, the gardens or even a large artifact.  Have fun with it and change it up a little every year like a new vacation spot.  Summer is only here for a short while.

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About Bill Philby, ASID

Bill Philby is co-founder of Retro Interiors of Fort Lauderdale and Island City Traders of Wilton Manors, Florida. He is a professional member of American Society of Interior Designers and licensed by Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design. Mr. Philby is a BFA graduate of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

2 thoughts on ““The Color of Summer”

  1. What do you think about these outdoor ‘kitchens’ people are building? Do you think they are just a fad, or a good investment in your design?

    • If you’re like me, I spend as much time outside as inside. I love outdoor kitchens. The reduce the heat in the house during the summer and create a great atmosphere for entertaining with friends. And that’s not to mention the food always tastes better. Whether or not it’s a good investment depends on if you plan on using it or not. Potential buyers would have to be attracted to the lifestyle environment you’ve created outside and that can add value. However, in the meantime, you can throw some brats and steaks on the grill and invite the gang over.