It’s June — time to think about backyard parties, grilling and all the other great things you can do outdoors. Later this month, we’ll highlight some interesting features some area homeowners have incorporated into their outside space.

But first, we take a look this week at some ideas you can use inside to upgrade your home decor and get into the summer mood. “As humidity begins settling into the Washington region,” writes our columnist Vern Yip in the cover story, “you might want to consider making your indoor space as cozy as possible.”

Vern, an Atlanta-based interior designer and mainstay on the HGTV network, outlines what he considers the summer’s hot colors and patterns and five ideas that he says may “freshen your spaces and replace the humdrum with an infusion of vitality.”

Believe me, I’m far from an expert on home decor. But I’ve learned how the right furnishings can brighten a room — not just for a season but for many years to come.

One of the best purchases my wife and I made was our dining room set about 15 years ago. We were uninterested in getting a traditional wood or glass-top table, but didn’t know exactly what we wanted.

Our eyes widened when we saw a stone-colored Italian marbletop table on a cube pedestal at a furniture store. We looked around and saw a teak credenza and birch chairs with black fabric to complement the table. The set brightened up our plain-Jane raised ranch in suburban Chicago.

We’re hardly in a position to change our decor based on what’s trendy from year to year or season to season. So it was gratifying that the set fit in perfectly with our next home in Los Angeles and that it still looks fresh today in our home in Southern Maryland.

For those of you who do like to keep up with the design trends, Vern offers a peak at what’s hot for summer: bold colors and tropical patterns. He shows us trendy items, including a sofa, pillows and side tables.

Sometimes a well-chosen item can do just as much to upgrade a room as paint and new flooring.

Still, even if you can’t afford the items Vern recommends or if they’re not your cup of tea, it’s always fun to look.

Let us know what you think of Vern’s suggestions and what your summer decorating plans are.

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