The original article was written for and published on Living300Main
Living in North America, we ought to embrace winter. We should welcome it into our homes and lives for the months of cold, windy winter days that follow the pleasures of Christmas. Even after the tree is down and the presents have been unwrapped, certain decorating manoeuvres can help us avoid the lethargy and dark moods that dreary mornings and cold days can bring.
Nothing provides more satisfaction to a weary mind and body after a long day than a cozy home where each piece is filled with love and warmth. If in the summertime we chase new horizons and explore and absorb the sunshine as much as we can, a tiny bouquet of flowers on a dining table brings that feeling indoors. In winter, though, warm textures call to our instincts—which is why you might catch yourself crying over a cashmere throw. Take this as your cue to start surrounding yourself with vibrant colours and rich textures, like navy wool and burgundy cashmere.
I use these tips every winter to re-decorate my house. Even after the Christmas Tree is gone, I’m surrounded by warmth and coziness.
I argued with myself about whether I should introduce the list with colours or textures as the first point. They’re both so important in your home, but colours attract your attention right away before you get a chance to feel an item. Thoughtfully picking the colour scheme for your winter home decor is the first step. If you miss nature and are drawn to the calmness of Scandinavian minimalist design, I would suggest focussing green as a bright option, with brown and grey as your base. Pillows, throws, candles, and rugs in this soothing palette will create a comfortable and relaxing vibe, bringing a touch of nature to your space.
If you’ve had more than your fill of pine trees and snow and are craving colour, I would suggest vibrant earthy shades that can be toned down with tints of cream. Colours such as rust, mustard, ochre, and umber will satisfy your craving for brightness. Creamy colours will keep the whole look from becoming cluttered or distracting. Try creating a set of pillows, one each in brown, orange, and white. Top it off with a white mohair throw for a fresh, cozy look.
Remember the alleys of furniture stores right before Christmas? They were decorated with piles of pillows, blankets, ceramic cups, lanterns and cozy chairs. But when you buy a pillow that you spotted in the window and add it to your couch, it looks nothing like Crate & Barrel’s cozy installation did. What the heck?
The challenge is hidden in the mix of textures. Our eyes might be drawn to bright colours, but our hands are drawn to soft, warm fabrics. To get closer to those professionally–merchandised furniture store setups, add varied textures. Try adding a mohair blanket on a chair, a bulky wool throw on the couch, a fluffy rug on the floor, wrinkled linen on the table, and velvet pillows everywhere. For added drama, switch out lightweight curtains for heavy, richly coloured ones.
If you struggle with allergies and can’t have wool in your home, you can find beautiful and still–warming fabrics made from viscose, acrylic, or even silk, which is surprisingly light and warm.
Once your home is full of colour and cozy textures, it’s time to attend to the little details. Candles in tall, antique candelabras, a basket near the couch with extra blankets, pine branches in dark glass vases, plenty of reading material, heavy handmade pottery for late dinners, and a pair of woollen slippers will lead you through wintertime with comfort and delight. These extra touches aren’t just decorative; they’ll bring comfort and brighten your days when yet another snowstorm hits.
4. Pine branches
There’s nothing more wintery and refreshing than freshly-cut pine branches. There is nothing more satisfying, nothing that brings you back to childhood winter memories, than the smell of a pine tree. Having an entire tree in the house can be a hassle—all those needles!—and you might have concerns about cutting a live tree. While artificial trees can be beautiful, just a few branches of the real thing are all you need.
A few simple bouquets of pine branches and ribbons, placed around the house, will spread the warm scent of pine needles and wood and add effortless Scandinavian-inspired charm. I suggest picking White Pine, as their branches stay fresh longer and don’t lose their needles the way Blue Pine does. Don’t try cutting them from public parks, though! Safeway and Sobeys sell bunches big enough to decorate the whole house for $5.99.
A few plants scattered around the apartment aren’t just valuable for their air-purifying properties; they bring a bit of nature indoors, which is rather essential when trees outside are naked and the world is hidden by snow.
Start with a few familiar plants that are easy to take care of. My sister is growing baby’s breath on her nightstand, the flowers add so much freshness to her room! Plus, there is no plant easier to care for than those blooms. I can’t think of a better way to lift my mood and make me feel closer to summer than caring for a few plants, especially as we move towards February. Don’t be afraid of putting pots in unusual places like the kitchen, floor, or on top of a wardrobe; just remember to make sure each plant gets enough sunlight and water for its needs.
Ta-da: With these decorating tips, you’re not only ready to survive winter, but also to enjoy it. This time of year calls for joyful evenings indoors, even if your company is just a new pillow, wool blanket and plant!