written by: Brad Mee              photos by: Rochelle Jahdi

It’s summertime and the living is easy. Designer Matt Dickamore offers simple, high-style decorating ideas to help infuse your home with the laid-back comfort and sun-kissed character of our favorite season.

Summer is in full swing and that means it’s time to lighten up and brighten up at home. Go ahead, set your décor free, suggests Matt Dickamore, VP of Design for Denton House Design Studio. “Ditch buttoned-down details and fussy formality,” he advises. “Summer style is loose, airy and free-flowing.” Having decorated countless getaways located everywhere from Park City to  the Bahamas, Dickamore and the Denton House team are experts at capturing summer’s carefree character for clients who covet a laid-back look for their homes year-round. “This isn’t about kitschy anchor prints or sea shell lamps,” the designer warns. “Choose timeless elements and materials that capture the natural look and feel of the season and those that make it special for you.” Using Denton House’s freshly decorated projects as inspiration, Dickamore offers ideas and inspiration for creating blissful rooms that invite you to relax in style throughout this season and beyond.


“White is relaxed, breezy and easy-going,” Dickamore says. It’s no wonder he and his team use white walls to create a fresh backdrop for sun-kissed colors in many of his projects. “It opens things up.” The designer suggests using a darker-hued floor—and often ceiling­—to help anchor white in a room. “This helps weigh the design down a bit while the white walls and furniture pieces lift the décor.” Remember, all whites are not created equal, the designer warns,“You have to study the white you’re considering in the actual space to determine if it is right.” Dickamore paints samples on walls and creates painted boards that can be moved from room to room to help him pick the perfect shade. “Observe them at different times of the day as the light changes in the room,” he adds. Once you have the right white, then unleash your love for color.


“Nature isn’t straight or set, it’s moving, organic and free-flowing,” says Dickamore, who always brings natural elements into rooms when conjuring the look and feel of summer. Wood? Absolutely. “Lighten it or add a wash to make it look less formal,” the designer suggests. Wicker, rattan and grasses? You bet. They add instant texture and looseness to a décor. Reeds, grass cloth, stone and countless other natural elements tie any room to the outdoors—a key strategy for creating a casual, relaxed style.


Surprising details and playful patterns add wit and fun character to a room. “Try them in a little space and see how it goes,” Dickamore suggests. A bathroom, stairwell, entry or powder room is perfect for bold style statements. Because we don’t spend prolonged periods of time in these areas of the home, they are ideal for vibrant colors, punchy wallpapers and memorable, over-the-top treatments that can charm and personalize a décor.


Blue is synonymous with summer—sparkling lakes, cloudless skies and blooming hydrangeas. Is it any wonder we submerge our rooms in this color to capture the season’s character? The secret to success is mixing a variety of blues, from navy to teal, rather than relying on a single shade, Dickamore says. “One blue gets predictable.” He suggests turning to nature for inspiration. The countless hues in a pool’s reflections or a summer’s sunset offer compelling palettes that range from indigo to aqua. The designer also mixes finishes, from matte to glossy, to add depth and dimension to blue-based rooms. And when it comes to pairings, he says, blue plays nice with so many other colors. Blue and white is no-brainer, but the designer advises looking to other combinations when creating a personalized décor.


Mirrors, lacquered wood, glass, Lucite and tile—these are among many materials that add sparkle and shine to summer-styled space. Plus, as Dickamore explains, they reflect light, making a room feel larger, open and airy. To create big impact with a reflective surface, pair it with a matte or low-sheen element. The strong contrast accentuates a shiny surface, adding interest and intrigue.

See more inside the Summer 2017 issue.