Let your home embrace you with warmth
By Susan Carmody
Warm colors and candles make you feel cozy inside when the weather turns fierce.
Winter’s fierce growl along with short, hectic days beg you to find comfort inside your own home. When you walk through your front door, you just want to feel hugged, don’t you?
Here are 10 easy things you can do to make your home feel more cozy and the season’s chill seem less mean:
1. Add warm colors
Whether you paint your walls a sun-kissed gold, cover a sofa with a warm-toned slipcover or simply add pillows or a throw blanket in a “hot” shade, you can quickly make a room look brighter and feel cozier with the right color. “Any shade that complements flesh tones is a comforting thing,” says interior design expert Jim Rascoe who co-owns Ireko, an upscale design shop located in the San Francisco area’s North Bay. “And most of us look and feel better in those shades.”
2. Play with texture
Plush upholstery and flannel bedding can provide your home with a soft, relaxing touch. To make texture interesting, Rascoe recommends introducing a variety: Choose a throw blanket with an open weave, such as chenille, for a twill sofa with a tight, smooth weave. “The contrast provides richness and warmth.”
3. Illuminate “feel good” objects
Lighting shoos away winter’s shadows, but it can also cast our focus on fair-weather days. By placing artful groupings of mementos and photographs beneath a lamp on an end table, you can draw attention to objects you love and memories that warm your heart.
Bird bath – Make it feel green inside with a unique arrangement in a birdbath. (Photo Courtesy of Trillium Flowers and Garden.)
4. Bring the outdoors in
Plants and fresh flowers can breathe life into your home – actually imparting oxygen into the air – and remind you of gentler days. For a unique twist on floral arranging, Tom Bastianon, owner of Trillium Flowers and Gardens in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, suggests using a small birdbath as your “vase.” “People are always looking for pedestals for their large vases,” he explains. A birdbath is both. For an elegant wintertime arrangement, set a large candle in the bath’s water-filled center, place quince around the candle’s base (they provide a mild citrusy scent) and incorporate late-season hydrangeas (they’re green) and berry-laden branches. Place in a quiet corner or in a foyer or bathroom.
5. Work on spatial relationships
The sizes and shapes of your furnishings are important – variety adds interest. And this time of year more than any other, how you arrange these pieces is important, too. As a holiday hostess or host, you need to be able to see, talk to and reach your guests. For optimal coziness, says Rascoe, create conversation groupings by moving furnishings closer together – a guest needing to rise to place a mug on a coffee table is a no-no.
6. Get yourself a comfy chair
A large, comfy chair to land in at the end of the day is the ultimate refuge from the cold world. “Choose one with a high back and an inherent sense of softness about the upholstery for visual warmth and comfortable seating,” Rascoe recommends. Create the full “chair ensemble” with a standing lamp and end table and set the grouping in an intimate corner.
7. Cover your “ground”
Nothing warms up a bare floor quicker than an area rug. Don’t underestimate the visual warmth it provides as well, especially in sunburst tones. Also, the pile in some Indian and Pakistani rugs made using vegetable dyes gives you the option of making them look even “warmer.” From one angle, Rascoe explains, the colors look muted and soft, from another, they appear deeper and brighter. Choose the brighter angle for added winter warmth.
Add warmth with a few candles. Photo courtesy of Illuminations.
8. Light a candle
This literal spark of warmth works in any dcor and in any room. Added visual warmth and design cachet can be achieved by placing candles in hurricane lamps made of amber-toned glass or in a grouping of holders that look like woven vines.
9. Embrace the season, gently
Holiday-theme floral accents are obvious brighteners but needn’t scream Christmas. A Christmassy effect can be achieved by simply adding gold balls to an arrangement of non-holiday blooms and branches, suggests Bastianon. You can also lightly spray small branches and seedpods with a dusting of gold – a nice look even after the tree’s down.
10. Alter your senses – with scents
Colorful, multi-textured potpourri – a mixture of scented preserved leaves, nuts, fruit slices, seedpods and pinecones – artfully arranged in a favorite bowl provides a vibrant focal point on a coffee or end table and enlivens a room with a pleasant aroma to lighten spirits and freshen the air. Bastianon prefers the natural aromas of fresh flowers, even the less heady varieties, for their soft, understated scents with the promise of warmer days to come.
Copyright © by Move, Inc.
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