Décor for Cozy Winter Living: Small Changes Add Warm Touches Décor for Cozy Winter Living: Small Changes Add Warm Touches

The glamour of the 1950’s had our mothers and grandmothers decorating by season. There were winter draperies and spring-summer draperies, seasonal bedspreads and linens, even seasonal artwork – the picture of the cherry blossoms came down and a snowy winterscape went up.

We knew winter was on the way when Mom’s light and frothy summer spread was washed, carefully folded and stored. Last year’s cozy winter-weight comforter was placed on the bed -- and so, another season began.

Quickly the house began to take on a new and warming personality. Summer’s easy environment for the family’s “comings-and-goings,” turned to earlier sunsets and snuggling on the sofa with a bowl of buttered popcorn.

Today our homes are less transitional. We put away the silk pansies and peonies, and bring out the dried sunflowers and fall gourds. Then the Christmas finery quickly goes up – and comes down even quicker. Cold and blustery January arrives, we’re exhausted, tired of decorating and our home looks empty and chilly.

Here’s a few easy and inexpensive ideas to warm-up your winter-living:

Add a winter rug of richer colors right over your everyday rug. If the everyday rug is square or rectangle, add a smaller round rug, or a square over a round. Angle it to compliment a favorite table or chair. “Rug etiquette” embraces “overlapping,” – just make certain that both rugs are visible.

Focus on dense color accents throughout the house: red berry or ruby, deep chocolates, pine or olive greens, amber, golds and plums. All colors are complimentary if you choose the right hues.

Transform a sofa or chair with slipcovers for the seat pillows only. Try a winter-weight fabric cover for a leather ottoman or footstool.

Bring out warm and nubby afghans and put away summer’s chenille. Think of textures: velvet, faux furs, wools, flannels and cashmere. Drape over furniture, stack in a basket or on a fireplace hearth.

Put away summer accent pillows and anything pastel, linen or silk; replace with deeper colors. Place big cozy floor pillows in the corner for the kids or grandkids. There’s nothing nicer for relaxing than a warm afghan, a great book and a soft pillow.

Store anything bright-summer-white and replace with warm winter-white throughout. The softer white adds a much needed punch to brighten a room, but looks appropriate for the season. Add winter-white table runners to dark woods, ivory-colored china candy dishes to a side table, use winter-white pottery pitchers for silk flower arrangements (shop flea markets for beautiful and affordable pieces), and change out dark lampshades for winter-white.

Cast a critical eye to all glass surfaces. Warm-up a glass breakfast table with fabric place mats or a basket of fabric napkins, a glass-topped side table with family photos in warm metal frames (brass or bronzed), a collection of brass candle sticks (“absent candles” is fine), or highlight your love of knitting with a skein-or-two of winter yarn and knitting needles artfully placed.

Make the fireplace a focus. Rearrange the hearth. Stack the family’s favorite books, candles, and jigsaw puzzles -- keep a few floor pillows nearby. After all the holiday adornment, mantles can look lonely and unloved in January. Cut branches of fresh evergreens – boxwoods and berry-producing shrubs -- and place ”drapey” pieces in a pretty crystal vase on the mantelpiece. A few votives, more books, more candle pillars – light the fire and enjoy.

Create a personal reading nook in the Family Room. Stack your favorite things around a cozy chair – inspirational reading, cookbooks, recipes you want to think about, a sketch pad, a notepad, a few books you’ll look forward to reading, your knitting basket, a journal. Do the same for your partner – make his favorite chair a haven. Add a basket with his favorite golf magazines, the tin of cookies from his office mates, a calendar for the New Year and his hand-held poker machine.

Adding just a few new touches to towels and linens can be dramatic. Replace holiday weary-and-worn kitchen towels with new winter colors. For a refreshing bathroom update, buy winter-themed washcloths in colors coordinated to match existing bathroom towels. New pillowcases or shams are all that’s needed to turn the bedroom in a stylish winter mecca.

Group candles – a tray of pillars on the coffee table, several votives on the fireplace mantle, a fat, wide and short candle by your favorite chair, candles everywhere – don’t forget the bathroom. Replace all pastel tapers with denser-colored candles.

Throw out floral scented potpourri and replace with spicy, forest or citrus-scented fragrances.

Poinsettias and evergreens are perfect holdovers from the holidays. Keep them fresh and green with adequate watering and daily misting with fresh water.

Use the dimmer switch for lowered lighting – creating an intimate and restful ambience.

Change doormats for each season. January, February and March might be snowflakes, pine trees, children sledding, or acorns. Put the holiday mat away and give January its own personality.

Keep baking ingredients on hand. Place a pretty cake plate with a glass cover on the kitchen island and vow to keep it chock-full of cupcakes, cookies, breakfast muffins or small loaves of banana or zucchini bread. At the first sign of a snowflake you’ll be glad the pantry is well stocked.

Stock a kitchen tray with flavored tea bags and small tins of flavored cocoa mix. Add mugs, spoons and napkins. It’s an easy invitation to the family for a few minutes of tasty relaxation without needing to rummage through the pantry first.

For adults in the family, an occasional “nip” of a favorite liqueur, like Grand Marnier or Bailey’s Irish Cream, mixed into an evening cup of coffee, is a warming replacement for dessert.

Just a touch of a hibernation-attitude can renew energy and ready the family for Spring.

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