I have to confess, winter is not my favorite season. Even though I live in California we have our fair share of cold and even the occasional snow. I’m not complaining. Okay, maybe a little. But by the time Christmas is done I crave tennis, the longer days of daylight savings time, and the sight of fresh green growth in my garden.
Over the years, I’ve found effective ways to lighten the winter doldrums like bundling up for walks with my mate and canine companion; building evening fires in the fireplace; keeping warm and hearty vegetarian soups and stews cooking on the stove; and finding appealing ways to add warming, visual interest to my home and garden.
As an interior designer, gardener and former owner of five retail design stores I’ve been exposed to as well as have come up with my own, ideas to make the dreary winter months pleasant, warm and aesthetically pleasing.
Here are ten of my favorite ways to brighten your winter mood at home:
WINGS VIEW AT HOME
1. Forcing bulbs and branches- Paper Whites, Amaranth, flowering quince, forsythia and hyacinth are super easy to ‘force’ into flowering. Cold storing bulbs mimics the effect of winter cold and tricks the bulbs into thinking its spring when brought inside to the warmer temperatures of the home. Quince and forsythia need buds on them before they can be forced but bulbs can start without growth.
2. Texture- in design terms translates to warmth and visual interest. Functional, beautiful elements that add texture are baskets and heavy throw blankets. For fall think in terms of earth tones like russets, golden yellows, and warm browns. For Christmas, winter white, greens, reds or icy blues if that happens to be your color scheme.
3. Swapping throw pillows- is a bit more challenging especially in rooms that are already decorated. Look for fabrics in warm tones that also coordinate with the other elements in the room. If you don’t have a lot of patterned fabrics in your design scheme it will be easier to find the right coordinating pillows.
4. Greenery, fresh or faux- bringing the outside in is never a bad thing but it’s especially effective during long winter days. Having greenery, fresh or faux in your home signals spring and can be incredibly mood enhancing. Some of my favorites are ivy and honeysuckle topiary, red and white amaryllis, and fragrant paper white Narcissi’s.
5. Mirrors- are also strategic year round decorating elements and during the winter months they help by expanding light during shorter, darker days.
6. New lamps- to shed light on those dark corners of the home. With lamps, you really get what you pay for. The design and quality of high quality lamps is truly an investment that will pay off. Cheap lighting seldom looks good to begin with, and doesn’t stay in style long.
7. Cocktail trays and carts- add a touch of festivity and function to your rooms. I love freshly washed stemware, interesting liquor bottles and attractive cocktail accoutrement like decorative cheese knives and stir sticks. Also a nice touch: fresh tea towels to hang casually from cart handles.
8. Silver or China tea service- are other great ways to add festivity and function to formal rooms. I love putting them in the formal areas like a corner of the living room, on the dining room sideboard or even in the entry if it’s near the dining room.
JEFFREY ALLEN MARKS
9. The color red- in little touches here and there is a subtle yet confident way to add warmth and brightness to any décor or color scheme. It doesn’t take a lot: a red nosegay in a small green glass vase, a red cashmere throw tossed casually over the back of a chair, a lampshade in red silk. Even if your color scheme contains no red, small touches of the color add so much.
MARK D. SIKES
10. Hard bound coffee table books- are my favorite “fillers” for table, sideboard and dresser tops. I have them in every room because they add character, beauty and a feeling of permanence to any home. It’s very hard to have too many so don’t be shy.
MARK D. SIKES
11. Solar tubes and skylights- are one of the best upgrades you can make in any home. I’ve done them in designer showcases and client’s homes and they’re indispensable in winter months. Care must be taken, however to protect furniture and flooring from sunlight.
12. Drapery sheers- I have long been a fan of unlined, white linen, floor length curtain panels on rods and rings layered in conjunction with lined, functioning (traversing) stationary (non-functioning) drapery panels. I love the options the two layers allow. Keep in mind how much glass and light will be covered by the expanse of draperies.
Posted by shiree segerstrom at 3:58 PM