After the holidays, the house looks and feels as drab as the winter outside. You can’t do anything about the cold temperatures, short days and gray skies, but you can “winterize” the interior décor by making your home bright, warm and cheerful. Try out some of our suggestions and you might just find yourself embracing winter rather than merely enduring it.
Brighten Up With Lights
• If you are not already using full spectrum light bulbs, make the switch from regular bulbs for the winter. Full spectrum light is as close as we can get to sunlight: It has the bluish-white appearance and brightness values of daylight. Make sure to get bulbs that filter out harmful UV light.
• Repurpose twinkle lights. They create such a magical atmosphere. Who says we have to pack them away after the holidays? No one that matters. White twinkle lights bring the look of glistening snow into our homes. String them around windows or mirrors or along the mantel or weave them through house plants. Unleash your creativity!
• Don’t scoff when you read “battery-operated candles.” Yes, there was a time when they were beyond tacky. No longer. Flameless, LED candles with timers are indistinguishable from real candles and an easy and elegant way to amp up the ambiance in your home. Just think, each night at dusk, your home will automatically come aglow with warm and welcoming candlelight.
Maximize the Natural Light
• Take a hint from the Scandinavians who really know cold. Let all the winter sun you can in. Use sheer curtains or no curtains. If you have heavy draperies, hang them so that, when open, they do not block the sunlight from coming through the windows. When one of those blessed sunny and warm (enough) days appears, open the windows, just for a short time, to let in fresh air as well as the sunlight.
• Mirrors add sparkle to your home by reflecting the natural light throughout a room. For the best effect, where you can, hang a mirror facing a window. It not only reflects the sunlight coming in but also gives the illusion of a second window. Also effective is a large mirror on a blank wall or over the mantel. You will find that a mirror hanging behind a lamp or several small mirrors on a wall opposite a window are riveting. If you have a beautiful crystal chandelier, a mirror is a dramatic addition to your dining room.
Warm Up With Faux Fur
Fur was the first material that kept humans warm. The species would not have survived without it. Today, however, we have many warm fabrics, so we can leave fur where it belongs—on the animals. Faux fur is made from synthetic fibers and is soft, warm and glamorous. For the most natural looking, select items that have longer hair and variations in tint and shade. Also, off-white hues look more natural than pure white.
Faux fur throw pillows, blankets and rugs add immediate warmth to your décor. They also make any space more inviting—it’s almost impossible to resist snuggling up with them. But the effect is lost if you overdo it. Too many pillows, too many throws—it’s difficult for guests to get comfortable. A couple/few items per room, depending on its size, is plenty. If you get to a point where you have to think, “Too much?,” the answer is “Yes.” And never have a pillow, throw and rug all in one room.
Faux fur is best used as a contrast. Add it to a rather austere area for a touch of luxury and comfort. It’s also extremely effective in softening angles or breaking them up and as a complement to smooth fabrics, such as silks, satins and velvets.
Cheer Up With Color
Warm colors do more than warm; they perk up both you and your home. Use the various hues of red, orange and yellow in fabrics, accessories and even feature walls to chase away the winter blues—both literally and figuratively. The colors work best as accents.
• Use burgundy rather than the holiday red that surely has worn out its welcome. Burgundy is festive also, but it’s more subtle, sophisticated and elegant.
• Orange spice doesn’t look like a forgotten Halloween decoration. It’s a contemporary orange and it’s fun, but energetic and eye-catching without being overpowering.
• Yellow is associated with laughter, hope and sunshine. Too much, however, can actually irritate a person’s eyes. Use sparingly and use mustard yellow, which is surprisingly warm, uplifting and welcoming.