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Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

by | Aug 1, 2017 | Decorating Inspiration, Dining Rooms, My Dining Room, My Seattle House

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Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

We are coming up on our two year anniversary of moving into our home! Even though in many ways it feels like we’ve lived here for a long time, in other ways I feel like this home and property and I are still getting acquainted.

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

I was thrilled last summer (our first summer here) to find a giant old lacecap hydrangea bush growing in our backyard. It felt like a gift! We had a large blue hydrangea in one of our past gardens, too. I had missed it so much.

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

The bush is blooming and so beautiful right now, but we aren’t able to see it from the yard or house because the whole bush is hiding behind a large hedge. It obviously would have been ideal planted within view of the windows or patio, but instead I can just take a walk to visit the hydrangea as if it is blooming in a secret garden, tucked away so its joy can be discovered.

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

I think every house I have lived in has taught me a little something about life and design. Do you find that to be true where you live, too? This house is already shaping my perspective in many ways, as it inspires me to embrace its simplicity and find joy in what that brings to my life.

Part of what will make a home beautiful each season is just slowing down so you can better appreciate what is already there. What your home offers or already has available may not be on everyone’s list of “must haves” but it’s something you happen to love or can grow to feel or find happiness in. Slowing down involves simplifying, so you can actually see the beauty around you.

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

The beauty found in simplicity may not even be obvious at first glance, especially to anyone else. Simple joys are found in our surroundings are not because they necessarily shout “look at me, I’m amazing!” but because they quietly delight you. Delight is what you feel when something wonderful takes you by surprise.

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

Simplicity is subtle, so the joy found in it can sneak up on you. It’s like an unexpected gift you receive only when you are paying attention to how you feel in your surroundings. To me simplicity doesn’t have to be defined by a certain color palette or decorating style. I think of it more as what you might miss out on if you are distracted by stuff that is shouting for attention. It might be clutter or accessories or colors or really anything that distracts rather than delights you.

What distracts you in your home may be different from what distracts me in mine. Photos can’t even really capture what simplicity feels like in a home, it’s such a personal thing.

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

Simple joys in a home are found through experiences like the warm sunshine streaming through a room on a cool morning, or the delight of a breeze gently blowing curtains through an open window. Simple joys can even be discovered through the serenity you feel when your counters are clean, or the deep breath you can take after you’ve decluttered a long-neglected closet.

Even the sound of laughter in the house on a lazy summer day is a reminder that it’s not the material things we have or add or buy that transform our home. It’s simple joys that can change us from the inside out.

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

Perhaps (like me) you want to feel a sense of delight in something as simple as placing a freshly cut bouquet from your yard in a lovely vase. Like I do, you might have to pare down, slow down, eliminate the unnecessary, or put forth a little extra effort to get to that place of simplicity. But, I think it’s worth it.

Our simplified surroundings invite those bright blue hydrangeas to really show off and take a place of honor in the room all summer long.

Simple joys, friends, Simple joys. 

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity


PS. If you missed my latest news, I’m writing a fun new book on decorating. But, I need your help! This book will feature questions and answers on decorating. The cool thing is the questions will be from YOU, my online buddies! YAY! Can  you think of some decorating or style questions you’d like me to answer in a book? Questions can be submitted via the form in this post.  Thanks, friends! <3

Dining room sources:

Scroll the arrows below to shop:

Summer Decorating: Finding Joy in Simplicity

Sources and details:

Gray ceramic table lamps and linen lampshades

Vase – HomeGoods

Watercolor floral pillow

Sisal rug

Rattan chairs: sold out from World Market (similar: 1 // 2)

Ombre beaded chandelier (or similar chandelier)

Woven window shades


Parsons chairs (round-up of options, mine are RH)

Peacock art print

Crane art print

Blue honeycomb pillows

Round white rattan mirror

Copper planter

Polish pottery

Striped banquette bench

Wall color: Simply White Benjamin Moore

Shiplap Wall Details

Kitchen Reveal & Sources


  1. Barbara Bell

    Did you spray your lamps grey if so how
    ? Are they the same as the blue & white from last year?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Barbara, no I didn’t paint the blue and white ones. I still have (and love!) the other ones, we just moved them downstairs! These are new, from Target. :)

  2. Sallie

    Love this post! You’ve captured that sense of delight and CONTENTMENT of home. Reminds me of this quote from Shakespeare: My soul hath content so absolute.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Sallie! :) I’m so happy this subject resonated with you, too. xo

  3. Grace

    What kind of palm do you have in that corner?

  4. Cathy

    Has it really been two years already since you moved into this house! It’s becoming more beautiful all the time!

    I also appreciate the serenity that comes from simple decorating. And, yes, there’s nothing like fresh flowers to bring happiness into a room!

  5. Mary Tice @ Simply Tice Life

    It never seems quite like summer until the hydrangeas are in full bloom! I’ve planted several over the years and am always surprised by their colors each year. My mom told me it had something to do with the ph levels, but whatever it is, I love the surprise of the first bloom!

  6. Karen

    Just lovely. I kept thinking, “That’s what I want.” Right now I have Etsy store inventory over running my house and the clutter is making me cranky and unhappy. And it’s certainly not fair to my family! I want my house to be clean and simple too. Hopefully this summer I can move more stuff in our garage and make a home truly a haven again. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      You’re welcome. It’s a process, I totally know how that goes. It’s definitely worth the effort, though.

      • Karen

        I am rather overwhelmed by it, so I’m trying to organize/sort/clean in very small lots just to have some sense of accomplishment! Hoping in a month or two things are much more paired down! :)

  7. Penny

    Hi Melissa,
    I agree with you in finding joy in simplicity. I don’t do either complicated or cluttered very well.Thank-you for sharing your home, it looks lovely and Jack always makes me smile.Your book sounds like fun, congratulations!

  8. patty

    Hi Melissa! I have a lacecap hydrangea too, as well as some traditional hydrangeas. I love them. Could ou tell me where you got your window treatment in the photos above? Did you install the shade yourself? Could you provide a link to the shade? I love it. Thank you!

  9. Sharon

    I needed to see this today. I’ve been on a journey to declutter and simplify my life but I am struggling to let go of a few things that simply need to go. They were either gifts or belonged to my mom or grandmother so it’s hard, but it’s time to let them go so I can move forward again.

    On a brighter note, I love your blue hydrangeas in that lovely vase. They look like they were made for each other :) I have a small pink lacecap hydrangea bush in my front flowerbed and I like to put a few blooms in a vase on my table, too.

  10. Kim

    Everything is just lovely! I am loving fresh greens and blues for summer. Summer is full of bright colors from lush, green grass to vibrant blooming flowers. Use the outdoors for your inspiration and bring some color into your home.

  11. Marilyn Holeman

    I first moved to our little mountain town many years ago, when I was young and naive. There was something growing in our yard which I didn’t recognize. Should I pull it out? I decided to leave it–and discovered that it was a young lilac bush! What a delight that turned out to be! Thanks for reminding me. Have a great day, Melissa. (I now have a wonderful hydrangea, too!)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Marilyn! Thank you for your comment, I loved your story about the lilac bush. I’m so glad you didn’t pull it out! I can imagine what a delight that must have been to see what it was!

  12. Rita Davidson

    Melissa, I love this…simple joys… your blog is just such a balm to my tired soul. It’s been four years since we lost our house in a fire and after 18 months finally got into this place but it has never felt like ‘home”. I have your one book Love the Home you have… but which of your other books would you recommend for someone like me with lack of decorating skill, trying to balance living in a “unfamiliar” home, with unfamiliar (donated) furniture, juggling toys from children and homeschooling, special need boys, lack of storage space, and a home business. Which of your books would give me direction how to decorate on a budget that makes this place feel like ‘home’? Thank you for all you do. xxo

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Rita, I’m so glad you feel encouraged when you visit here. What a challenging journey it must have been to have lost your home! I’m so sorry about that.

      I would recommend getting The Inspired Room book. It has full color photos, ideas and tips and goes into detail on how to go about making your house feel like your home. You can watch a video trailer and find out more about it here >>

      You’re welcome and THANK YOU for commenting, it’s a blessing to me to hear from you. xoxo

      • Rita Davidson

        Thank you so much Melissa for the reply and the book suggestion. It looks like it might be just what I was looking for. It has been a very challenging 4 years to find ‘home’ again.
        Your blog has been a breath of fresh air ever since we lost our home in July 2013… we are still fundraising to try raise enough to repair the home we had to double mortgage to get into here.
        I am writing the story about our fire . It has taught us many lessons and God sent us many blessings as well. Thank you. xxo

        • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

          Oh Rita, what a nightmare! I would LOVE to send you the book. You’ve been through so much, I hope it will bless you and encourage you. Thank you for sharing your heart and story. Would you be willing to email me your mailing address so I could send the book out to you? I’m glad you are writing your story, sometimes that is the best way to heal.

          • Rita Davidson

            Aww thank you Melissa….what a blessing you are…. I’m a published writer for Christians since 2003…so loved hearing about your writing too, it has inspired me to write more. And writing does help me process and heal so much too. And God has given us so many blessings during this challenge that I just knew it had to be put into a book as well. But our story is not completed since we are still actively fundraising as the home we had to purchase with a double mortgage (after our home we lost was paid but we had no insurance) so I feel God has not finished our story but it has blessed others who heard it already, so I know God has a plan for me to share that. I was almost going to purchase your book, but finances are so tight…so I would be honored if you would be willing to send me your book(s). <3 All I have is "Love the Home you have " right now..and it's been bittersweet reading it (I'm not done) with all your house moving. We lived homeless for 6 months after our fire with no running water or indoor toilets, and that urge to find beauty in our lives again was so strong…looking into houses, and peering through windows of others homes that had that ambience that spoke "home" but for us was so far from that going back to a camper we lived in or that cabin we lived in until we got frozen out of it. God was there for us all through that time….and I'm so thankful for the lessons it taught us…I will be so thankful to be able to call this place "home". How might I email my address? Just from your blog contact here? I'm in Canada. Bless you…xxo

  13. Julie

    Oh, what a perfect post! I seem to be needing to read more and more posts like this lately – those subtle, lovely reminders to slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. Savor. The moment. The colors. The sounds. The smells. The feeling. Thank you.

  14. Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista

    Time is so funny – it can feel so long and so fast all at the same time. I can’t believe it’s already been two years. Your home is so lovely – also a good reminder that decorating takes time.

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