A bungalow on the beach. A cabin for weekend getaways.
Second homes, designed for relaxation, are often decorated with hand-me-down furniture and other cast-offs from the owner’s main living space.
But, say interior designers, a bit of creativity can transform a small vacation home into the perfect haven.
“Second homes are all about the three f’s: family, friends and flea markets,” says designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of Flynnside Out Productions. “There are really no rules, but the one thing to keep in mind is that second homes are the best place to showcase your personality by filling them with one-of-a-kind pieces packed with sentiment and history.”
Mix and match
A mix of decorating styles is great; just don’t overload the space, says HGTV host Sabrina Soto, a judge on this season’s “HGTV Star.”
Go ahead and combine two plaid chairs with a floral sofa, though. Kyle Schuneman, author of “The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces,” recommends mixing the scale of the patterns but keeping the scale of the furniture the same.
Color can also help one piece stand out: Paint an old wooden dresser a bold yellow, Schuneman says, then “keep the other pieces muted with just textures of metals and woods.”
Flea market finds
Second homes are often in small towns with weekend flea markets and antique shops. Flynn suggests mixing your own family hand-me-downs with flea-market purchases that connect with your personal history.
A vintage item picked up for $5 can sometimes become the star of a room. “My living room walls are completely covered with flea-market art picked up for next to nothing,” Flynn says.
Maximize small rooms
Second homes are often small, so decorate with that in mind.
Soto suggests hanging shelves to keep items off the floor, and using mirrors to make rooms appear larger and brighter.
“Incorporate pieces with dual purpose, such as storage ottomans,” she says. “Stacking chairs or nesting tables are great, too.”
Schuneman suggests filling your weekend home with family photos but buying the frames locally, maybe something made by an artist or craftsman.
If the home has a nice view of mountains or water, Flynn suggests using a monochromatic palette inside to draw the eye outside. But if there is no view, it’s “ideal for going crazy with color,” he says.
A living room has art on the walls bought second-hand at flea markets for this Southern California weekend home.×
A tiny breakfast nook designed by Brian Patrick Flynn for his Hollywood Hills’ weekend home uses a modern, nautical Cole & Sons wallpaper with a casual feel, then added accents of red through Saarinen tulip chairs and a vintage Circle K sign found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.×
This small bedroom mixes high-end and inexpensive items in a weekend home.×