When winter's fierce growl along with short, hectic days beg you to find comfort inside your own home, don’t you want to feel hugged when you walk through your front door? 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.
2. Play with Texture
Plush upholstery and flannel bedding can provide your home with a soft, relaxing touch. Introduce a variety and contrast to add richness and warmth: for example, choose an open-weave throw, such as chenille, to set off a tight, smooth weave twill sofa.
3. Illuminate "Feel Good" Objects
Lighting clears away winter's shadows and 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.
4. Bring the Outdoors Inside
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 use a small birdbath as your "vase." For an elegant wintertime arrangement, set a large candle in the bath's water-filled center, place quince (gives a mild citrus scent) around the candle's base and incorporate late-season green hydrangeas and berry-laden branches. Place in a quiet corner, foyer or bathroom.
5. Group Furniture for Coziness
Variety in the sizes and shapes of your furnishings is important – it adds interest. And during the holidays, how you arrange these pieces is also important. As a holiday hostess or host, you need to be able to see, talk to and reach your guests. For optimal coziness, create conversational groupings by moving furnishings closer together with tables close by to put drinks on.
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. A chair with a high back and soft upholstery makes for comfortable and inviting seating. Create the full "chair ensemble" with a standing lamp and end table and set the grouping in an intimate corner.
7. Cover the Floor with Area Rugs
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, the pile makes the colors look muted and soft; from another, they appear deeper and brighter. Choose the brighter angle for added winter warmth.
8. Light Candles
This literal spark of warmth works in any decor and in any room. Choose from the many beautiful candle and votive holders available to create a look that is perfect for your decorating style.
9. Gently Embrace the Christmas Season
Holiday-theme floral accents are obvious brighteners but they don’t need to scream Christmas. A Christmassy effect can be achieved by simply adding gold balls to an arrangement of nonholiday blooms and branches. You can also lightly spray small branches and seedpods with a dusting of gold – it’s a nice look even after the tree's down.
10. Alter Your Senses – with Scents
Colorful, multitextured 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. The natural aromas of fresh flowers, even the less heady varieties, give soft, understated scents that promise of warmer days to come.