Vacations are as much a story about the places we visit as they are a story about ourselves. When bonding with the family during the summer, I also get to relax. But my most memorable journeys have often been the ones where I am able to enjoy the local culture and feel of a place. We recently vacationed in northern Michigan or “up north,” as Michiganders like to call it. We stayed in a little town called Glen Arbor in the Leelanau peninsula, right on Lake Michigan.
The radiance of summer brought out the warmth and color of the places we visited. Talk about beautiful and inspiring, especially because this particular part of the country is free from big box stores and chains, with only a thriving community of artists and local shop owners giving the town its flair. Everywhere I went, I was taking pictures and making mental notes. In my mind, I was already thinking of ways on how to incorporate everything I saw into our home décor. Here are the things I saw that got me inspired:
Wooden Shop Signs: Décor Ideas with a Little Humor …and a Lot of Heart
Much of the charm of Glen Arbor, which also happens to be cherry country, comes from the friendly, cozy atmosphere of its shops. Take these wooden signs from a lovely store called Cherry Republic. Funny messages like “Life. Liberty. Beaches. Pie” in vintage typography and “Cherries for Sale… Sad ones… Funny ones” remind you of that classic tongue-in-cheek humor of a small town where everybody knows everybody.
These decorative accents would look great in your own kitchen or family room to instantly transform it into a warm and welcoming space with a touch of humor!
Outdoor Décor: From the Quaint to the Quirky
Small-town shops and B&Bs exude a lot of character with their playful mix of quaint and quirky elements.
I think these small-town shops, including the local hardware store, did a beautiful job at making even ordinary, everyday things stand out. For instance, the gorgeous flower arrangements in galvanized buckets pop out in rich colors of magenta and purple, a perfect complement against the mustard-colored double doors of the hardware store. You can tell this place is as bold as it is down-to-earth. Colorful Adirondack chairs and tables are also set outside, serving as your invitation to just sit back and enjoy the warm summer air.
Just like these shops, you can bring brightly colored flowers in a fun color combination into your home. Put out chairs in vibrant shades on your patio and have a relaxing chat with friends as your kids play in the garden.
I also love how the shop windows are framed by awnings, shutters, and flowerboxes to exude that storybook charm. Of course, awnings and shutters might not always fit every style of home exterior. But you can take inspiration from the vertical and horizontal stripes and introduce these striking patterns in other ways, such as through striped curtains or even striped cushions in your breakfast nook.
Cozy Interiors with that Small-town Charm
Step inside one of my favorite shops on the trip, Lulu’s, and you will find décor that reflects the warm, intimate vibe of this small town. The way the shop puts together little trinkets and treasures also brings out an earthy, laid-back character. I absolutely loved the burlap curtains (and basically all of Lulu’s décor)! Used as a curtain, burlap creates a warm and light, airy feel because of its gauzy texture. The shop owner actually made these burlap curtains herself with hardware from Ikea – so simple and affordable! I would love to try it in our house. Maybe in our sunroom?
Visiting your local mall where you will find the same polished, modern look everywhere isn’t as thrilling as finding treasures in one-of-a-kind shops tucked away in the cozy corners of the universe. You will find yourself truly charmed by the beauty of a small town like Glen Arbor. With all the decorating ideas I have brought home with me, this journey has truly been inspiring.