After the blanket of winter white has lost its charm and has turned an icy gray, home takes on an even more special significancethat of refuge from the chill. It is during this time that perhaps you notice the light cotton throw draped over the armchair looks woefully out of place.
Its easy to transform your home from breezy summer casual to warm and inviting winter. And it doesnt have to cost a lot of money or require that you keep a warehouse full of furniture at hand. Here are some suggestions you can try.
You can change the look of your great room without spending a dime. It is as simple as rearranging your furniture. This is the time to think about condensing the conversation group and moving it away from the exterior walls and nearer to the fireplace. Simply by adjusting the furniture placement, the entire feeling of the space will be refocused to one of intimacy, which is exactly what you want on those cold winter nights.
A Cover Up
Decorators think in terms of two broad categories: autumn/winter (earth and jewel tones, solid patterns, sturdy fabrics) and spring/summer (light pastels, floral prints, delicate fabrics). When purchasing sofas, chairs and ottomans for your home, think of the upholstery in terms of autumn and winter. These cooler seasons call for rich tones and touch-me textures that are inviting and comforting.
You also have to plan for the upcoming spring and summer, and the last thing you have the money or storage space for is a whole other set of furniture. The answer? Slipcovers. While you plan your heavier upholstery around the colder months, think of your slipcovers in terms of warmer times. Look for light cotton tickings and striped or floral linens.
Window and Floor Decor
Dont forget about the windows. Instead of replacing window treatments outright, layer your window treatments. Purchase simple wooden or iron brackets that can accommodate two rods per window. On the undermost rod, hang light sheers that can stand alone to do the delicate warm-weather window duty during spring and summer. Then on the outermost rod, hang heavier draperies in colors that complement your autumn/winter upholstery. The sheers will stay up year-round, whereas the draperies will only make a seasonal reappearance.
Something comfy underfoot is also an easy way to change the seasonal look of a room. For winter, think thick and luxurious. If you happen to have an old bear skin rug lying aboutperfect. If not, a sheepskin or deep-pile wool area rug certainly spells winter comfort.
All the Trimmings
With the windows dressed in their cool weather finery and the furniture huddled invitingly nearer the fireplace, the time has come for seasonal accessorizing. This is where you can pull out all the stops.
You dont have to wait for a special occasion or holiday to break out the crystal and silver. Display them, but more importantly, enjoy them. What could be cozier than watching snowflakes swirl outside while sipping a cup of Earl Grey poured from your grandmothers heirloom English tea set?
And while Old Man Winter has you in his grasp, take the time to re-evaluate what other accessories you have around the house and find new, inventive uses for old things. For example, those baskets that corralled magazines this summer might be perfect for storing a few fireside logs. Rotating accessories throughout the house is a terrific way to rediscover the pieces that you have and enjoy them in a new lightalbeit the low-slanting rays of the winter sun.
Illustration by Randy Sweitzer