Monday, January 6, 2014

How to cozy up your home for the winter

The holiday season is over, and the long cold north eastern winter is still ahead. Yet, as much as I dislike the long winters around here, it feels good to spend time at home with my family when it's warm and cozy inside. Does your home feels the same?

A warm and inviting room feels that way not (only) because its been heated up to the right temperature. Colors, lighting, textures, all of these have an effect. Food is a good analogy. It's visual appeal affects how we perceive it. Warm colored foods will taste warmer then cool colored ones. Aesthetically appealing dishes taste better etc.

So here's what you can do to cozy up your home for the winter:

1. Lighting - a dark rooms feels cold, so add a few more lamps, preferably with fabric shades. Fabric diffuses light more softly than glass. Sometimes all you need to do is change the bulbs to higher wattage ones. Be careful not to load too much wattage. Having more lamps with lower wattage is better than fewer lamps with higher wattage. 

Even though the ceiling is high, this room is cozy and warm. Why? the wood ceiling, warm tones of the walls and furnishings, low and warm lighting (lamps, walls sconces, candles), conversational seating arrangement, plants, all make this a warm and inviting space.

Indirect lighting (like the one in the picture below) adds a soft, sophisticated and mysterious ambiance to a room.

2. Rugs - a bare floor is cold to the feet and the eye, so now is a good time to purchase a rug. When in doubt about the size, go larger rather then smaller. A large rug in a small room will do wonders to that room - contrary to what you might think, it can make a small room look larger and definitely cozier. The best material for rugs is wool. It has the best feel, luster and durability.

3. Window treatments - at night, bare windows "suck" the light out of the room, and leave you feeling exposed and cold. A few tips - get two panels for each window, and hang them either from ceiling to floor or a few inches over the window trim down to the floor. Lined curtains can also add some insulation. If you are not a fan of curtains, try roman shades or wove shades and mount them inside the window frame to keep the architecture of the windows exposed.

Amy Lau Design

5. Fireplace - I know. It's obvious, right? lighting up your fireplace in the winter is an instant fix, but what if you don't have a fireplace, but want to create the look and feel of it?
Here's a great idea I found on houzz.

4. Accessories - floor and toss pillows, blankets, scented (or non scented) candles are obvious choices for warming a room. Accessorizing is also a way to introduce more color and personal style. If your color palette is predominantly neutral, you can accessorize with warm colors for the winter and cooler for the summer.

That's it! Simple. If you decide to try these suggestions (the first three are the most important) I would love to see the results.

Stay warm