Chase the winter blahs with a little extra warmth
I’m afraid the mid-winter blahs are beginning to strike. The excitement of the holidays is over but the first blooms of spring are nowhere in sight.It’s cold and wet outside and snow is predicted for the end of the week. It seems the perfect time of year to stay inside and cocoon.The term “cocoon” is defined as a protective case or covering. Safety may be sufficient for a butterfly, but humans want more than simple protection as we begin our winter hiatus. We want warmth, comfort, even a bit of luxury. Is that too much to ask? Certainly not!My decorating partner, Matt Fox, and I are big fans of cocooning and have developed a recipe for the creation of a cocooning refuge. In fact, through years of practice, we’ve not only designed the space, we’ve perfected it!So how do you create the perfect winter retreat? As with most decorating projects, it’s best to begin with the focal point. For anyone trying to escape the winter chill, the focal point is clearly the fireplace.Talk about warmth! Not only can you warm your toes in front of a roaring fire, but you can warm your heart as well. Nothing says warm and cozy like a fire in the fireplace.To make optimal use of your fireplace this winter, consider rearranging your furniture. Place sofas and chairs so that they face the fireplace, creating a toasty area for conversations and reading.Rethink the function of certain furniture pieces, as well. Nine months of the year your coffee table may be nothing more than a display shelf for your favorite art book. During the winter, however, it may prove to be your most functional furniture piece.Having a casual family meal? Why not enjoy the warmth of a fire as you serve your dinner on the coffee table. After dinner, the coffee table is transformed from dining table to game table as your family members gather to play their favorite board games.Although a raging fire in the fireplace is one of life’s ultimate pleasures, it’s unlikely that you’ll be using your fireplace every night until April. No problem. There are other ways to create a warm winter home.One way to warm a room is with color. Use accessories to introduce rich colors like deep red, cocoa, pine green, gold and plum to create a feeling of warmth.Accessories can also be used to soften a room, giving it a cozier feel. Winter is a great time for runners or tablecloths in the kitchen and dining room. For an interesting table setting, consider a table covering made from a deeply colored matelasse fabric.Another way to cozy up a room is to drape soft knit throws over the ends of sofas and chairs. They not only soften the hard edges of the furniture, they also are a delightful way to ward off a cold winter chill.Decorative pillows are another great way to add color, texture and softness to a room. Add them to your upholstered pieces, wooden chairs and benches … even the floor!When choosing your throws and pillows for winter, think luxury. For instant warmth, choose fabrics with rich textures like velvet, cashmere, and, just for fun, faux fur.Soft lighting also helps to cozy up a room. Turn off those bright overhead lights. Be sure to use soft while bulbs in your lamps, and unless someone is reading, keep the lights somewhat dimmed.Light candles to warm up every corner of the room. Try scented candles, which have the added benefits of pleasing aromas. The scent of vanilla and cinnamon seem to create an instant feeling of comfort.The weather outside may be frightful, but that’s no reason to feel sad. In fact, it’s a great time to savor the warmth and beauty of your new winter retreat.
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