In February, the New Year is well under way and the chill of winter has settled in to stay for a while. As a decorator and real estate home stager I wonder ‘how can I make the most of this otherwise dreary weathered season?’ I have found that if I treat my home like my wardrobe, and have some fun with the winter ‘layered look’ I can achieve a warm and cozy vibe that celebrates the season rather than just survives it till spring.
10 Winter Decorating Tips
- Direct your furniture to face the fireplace, add additional seating or side tables that invite others to join you. If you don’t actually plan on burning wood in it then fill it with decorative birch wood or candles, or do something artsy like fill it up with stacked books; anything to embellish your focal point is a good thing. And for those of you who don’t have a fireplace, a free standing mantle is so much fun to work with and style for every season. Get one and you can build a room around it just the same as if it had a working fireplace inside it.
- Infuse more daylight:
As daylight becomes scarcer, place a mirror across from a window to bounce more light around the room. And if you’re wondering what to adorn the mantle with now that all the Holiday décor is gone, now is a great time to place a large mirror above it and enjoy its reflective qualities.
- Embrace candle light:
The flickering light of candles casts a much needed warm glow on these cold, grey days. I have a small stock of tea light and pillar flameless candles that sparkle in mercury glass and clear hurricane jars on the mantle, on the entry way table, in my center pieces or side arrangements on occasional tables. I love the flameless candles with timers because it seems like every time I look up in the winter it has already gotten dark!
- Texture to the Rescue:
A soft area rug is never more appreciated than during these cold months. They add a cozy effect on their own, but for a more textured and layered look, layer your rugs! Put flat weaves with shags and sisal rugs with hides, mixing patterns with solids and you will find that your cozy seating areas feel richer and more defined in their spaces. A reading chair in the corner doesn’t feel so lonely when it sits atop a leather hide rug or a faded flat weave.
- Bring on the faux fur:
Get luxurious with it! Bring on the faux fur throw blankets and velvet pillows. I love tossing a cashmere throw at the end of my bed and replacing my cotton striped standard pillow cases to lush taupe velvet pillow cases. On my couch and accent chairs I add a few seasonal throw pillows too. Imagine turquoise velvet pillows paired with white cable knit sweater pillows. Each year when I pull them out they make me happy. (DIY-sewing together sweaters or large plush scarfs to make pillows are a lot of fun and easy to do.)
- Warm up your window treatments:
In the same way a great scarf completes your winter outfit, a set of winter drapery panels completes your home’s style. I layer my window sheers with heavy weighted fabric panels that seem to dress-up and cozy-up our otherwise more casual window treatments. When you spend the majority of the year in flip-flops and tank-tops it’s nice to put on your winter boots and wool dress coat, right? I feel the same about my window treatments; it’s time to dress them up! (DIY- Sew a rod pocket or use drapery clip rings on solid flannel twin sheets and voila’ you’ve made winter drapes.)
- Soften the Seating:
Adding slip covers to your dining room chairs is a wonderful way to soften the hard lines and cool angles of winter. Slip covers are also something that dramatically alter the look of a dining area and are easily removed in the spring or summer or to clean after the company leaves! And how about those ‘forgotten’ spaces that could be turned into cozy little nooks? Add plush bench seat cushions to bay windows, fireside hearths and outdoor porch seating. In recent years I’ve taken to switching out my glass coffee table for a large ottoman with storage for blankets and we all enjoy how it softens up the space while providing the much needed seasonal storage space.
- Green never looked so good:
Bring nature inside to create a wooded, warm and vibrant space. If evergreens are not in your demographic then use what is! Whether its magnolia leaf branches or something else that lasts for a while like large tropical leaves, just place them in cold corners or beside windows, in your centerpieces or side arrangements. Put a few sprigs in a low bowl on the coffee table and add winter berries in bud vases or display bowls. When you bring nature inside you’re inviting life into your home at a time when we all could use a little pep in our step.
- Make it cozy not cluttered:
With all the candles and bowls of berries, tissue boxes, books, winter photographs and whatever else you may be using to invite a warm style into your home this season, keep it easy on the eye by placing your groupings on treys. Not only is this a great opportunity to add another layer with reflective metal, glass or warm wood but it is fantastic for keeping your little things together and visually clean.
- Put new systems in place:
If you haven’t already reconsidered the way your home operates for you and your family, this is a favorite time of mine to inventory how my home functions! Every home has overlooked storage capacity solutions and ways of incorporating more effective family command centers that keep you and yours’ organized. Or maybe it’s the mud room that needs tweaking to better manage the daily mess of coats, shoes, backpacks and gear? In the same way we take a moment to consider our New Year resolutions, let’s take a moment to think about how your home life might benefit if you had more systems in place to catch the clutter before it piles up. (The Better Home and Garden website has a few outstanding tips on the subject: http://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/organization-basics/hidden-storage/#page=1)