It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s dark. There’s no way you’re leaving the comfort of your home, and why should you?
We often forget how our surroundings can affect our minds and bodies. We are fully aware of the seasons changing outside and are mindful to update our wardrobes, but what about our homes?
In much the same way you have a Spring clean each year, why not warm up your home this winter with these 10 simple ideas:
1. To create a living room that’s warm, comfortable and inviting you have to have a focal point. Think about how you use your space now that the weather has changed. A fire place or mantle piece is the obvious choice for a focal point, but if you face everything towards them are you limiting the way guests can seat themselves comfortably?
If you don’t have an obvious focal point in your room, can you create one? Do you have a special piece of furniture you already own or intend to buy? Can you rearrange your furniture with this piece as the focal point to create a completely new dimension to your room? Start with your focal point to create the perfect winter living room.
2. It’s easy to dress up or dress down a room and it’s all about the accessories. How do you want to feel in your living space? What makes you comfortable? These answers provide a great starting point in your choice of decoration.
3. Pick your colours well. Whether you feel the need to paint a wall or just stock up on your cushion collection, you need to focus on your choice of colour.
Think of an open fire, what colours can you see? Reds, oranges, blues, greens, browns, greys. These are all really warming colours. Adding splashes of vibrancy throughout your room can stop it from being boring and still retain a warm, cosy feel.
Gervasoni’s Gray 07 is a fabulous example of how well grey cushions work with the soft hue of American Walnut. Go to ConnectFurniture.com.au and search for ‘Gervasoni Gray 07 Armchair’.
If you are thinking of painting your walls, choose something with a browner base colour rather than blue. Colours with a soft brown base can create a sophisticated and timeless feel. Just don’t go too dark! You don’t want to suck all the light out of your room.
Neutral tones can always be updated simply through your accessories. Besides, who wants to get out the paint tins every season?
4. Just as important as choosing your colour scheme is choosing your fabrics. Cushion covers and blankets are readily available in hundreds of textures and patterns. From silk to cashmere, stripes to polka dots, and anything in between more and more fabrics flood the market each year.
Vintage and recycled fabrics have hit the big time recently. Hunt out your local artists’ market and search for funky seasonal creations that are likely to be one-off.
Cable knit cushion covers, for example, are so soft and comfortable to lay on they’re just perfect for a nanna nap.
If you see something you like the look of, feel it. It’s important to be tactile in every aspect of decoration. Think about how the textile will be used. Will it hold up in the wash? Will it need to be dry-cleaned?
Pash Furniture have an amazing array of cushions to suit any taste. In fact, store displays are a great way to grab ideas on how colours and textures can work together. (For details go to ConnectFurniture.com.au/en/retailer/pash-furniture.aspx).
5. Now that you’ve thought about the colour and texture of your room, half the work is done! You’ve looked around your living room and thought about what you have in there, but what about what you have in other rooms? Can you swap or include a piece of furniture from your bedroom or dining room? Or a rug? Even an ornament or some photos? Something so simple as popping a chest of drawers in a corner or swapping the rug from the dining room can make you feel like you have something new.
6. Lighting is the ultimate way create a sense that you have redecorated. Clever use of lighting can manipulate the mood of a room. Something as simple as dimmers on a main switch can be effective, but cleverly positioned lamps can highlight or hide any feature you like. The Cocoon range from Milk Furniture look wonderful and omit a fabulous ambiance (For details go to ConnectFurniture.com.au/en/retailer/milk-furniture.aspx).
Investing in a new shade for an existing lamp is also an excellent way to update a look. Look carefully at a shade that you’re choosing. Think about its colour and texture, you don’t want to block light, just to diffuse it.
Where will you place the lamp? You don’t want to be staring into light wherever you look. Placing lamps behind or to the side of seating enables you to read or watch telly without glare or burning your retinas.
7. Blankets, blankets, blankets. The more you have, the better. You may have turned the heating up, but there’s nothing like snuggling into your couch wrapped in luxurious warmth. If you can, have one for every piece of seating (and a spare easily on hand). Blankets come in all textures, colours and sizes (tartan always makes me think of keeping warm at Gran’s) and prices can vary from $40 -$4000. They are a great way to add colour and texture to a room and can double as an easy way to hide stains or wear and tear in your furniture. The Lucian Collection by Sheridan offer gorgeous cushions. Available from Vavoom Emporium www.vavoom.com.au
8. Winter is the one time of year we don’t really get out as much; so why not bring the outdoors in? Investing in some indoor plants may require a little TLC, but the benefits far out way the effort. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, they can help to purify some of that stagnant air that tends to hang around in winter. Plus, they are versatile enough to brighten any room size or shape.
9. Once you’ve thought about all of the above, it’s likely that you may have noticed some wear and tear on your sofa, or that the covers aren’t exactly the colour they used to be. It may be time to consider a replacement. Or, alternatively, you could consider removable, washable sofa and chair covers as an effective way of updating the look of a room. Standard sizes can be purchased ready-made, but if you have an odd size or shape, don’t be afraid to have some customised. The outlay in having them made can be more, but having a couple of colour and texture alternatives can keep your living space constantly feeling fresh and new. Plus, who needs the hassle of professional cleaning when you can throw the cover directly in the wash?
10. Last, but by no means least, a truly warm winter room needs to excite every sense. The scent of a room might sound like a silly thing to draw attention to, but imagine how nice it will feel to be around some warm and comforting scents. Citrus, cinnamon, cloves, chocolate, vanilla are all calming and warming winter scents. These scents have their roots in the colours mentioned earlier and really help to finish a room nicely.
You will often find that scented candles are the best way to add ambiance and a delicate fragrance.
It’s important to remember to be creative when decorating your living area. Play around and find what works for you. Most of all, have fun.