By Dawn Smith
Once the holidays have passed and the last decorative tote is put away, your house may feel a little empty and less inviting without the holiday jewelry your rooms wore so well. One of the best ways to carry on the festive feeling through the colder months, especially if you are considering putting the house on the market for sale, is to change the Christmas décor into a cozy and welcoming winter look.
For an overall shift from holiday to winter decorating, incorporate live greenery as much as possible, except for perhaps holly trimmings because of its traditional ties to Christmas. As the tree and gifts are put away, fill the spaces with soft, comfortable, and inviting fabrics and furniture. Aromas can also capture the feeling of a winter home when layered with other visual changes. I miss the balsam fragrances associated with Christmas trees, so I incorporate scented candles and reeds to preserve a positive feeling throughout the colder months.
They make the first impression of your home to your guests. The small spaces are perfect for starting the enveloping feeling guests encounter throughout the house. Warm winter sentiments start at the door by placing soft but strong fibered rugs, such as wool, on the floor. A copper boot tray also asks guests to stay awhile. Metallic hooks, racks, or baskets for wet coats, hats, and scarves should also be available.
Look up and affix to light fixtures and chandeliers the greenery that starts here and follows from room to room. Silver and snow accents are always in style during the winter months. An extra touch would be to add dimmers to the space for specific time of day needs. Winter scene artwork or photographs hung on entryway walls also can make the entryway feel special and not overlooked. Lastly, bare branches arranged in glass are on a small console table completes the look.
Fireplaces and Mantelpieces
These are generally the focus in any room they are found, as they are versatile and can prop up any accessories to suit the look you are trying to complete. Start with the mantle in achieving the winter spirit desired. Silver mercury glass coupled with snowflakes, glowing candles, and wooden accents such as pine cones draw the snowy landscape in and provide the rustic charm winter decorating often encourages. Burlap and mason jars are still very popular and could easily be worked into this theme.
A second and different look for a mantel piece would also incorporate evergreen such as bayberry, but pair branches with citrus such as oranges, lemons and limes placed on white pedestal cake plates or serving pieces. Add a few cloves to the fruit and the aroma adds another ingredient of winter time charm.
A working fireplace provides excellent atmosphere for enjoying a relaxing evening at home or enhances an open house on Sunday afternoon, but what about a non-working fireplace? Move beyond the overdone collection of pillar candles thrown in the empty space and really make the area work as a desirable attribute. An assortment of candles, frosted greenery, and silver glitter evoke cozy feelings just as well as a roaring fire.
The concept of a faux fire place has evolved dramatically in the last few years and has found its way into some decorating schemes. They are fairly maintenance free and some even burn from gel fuel canisters, which are found in many retailers at varying price points. They can provide the look of an active fire and offer additional warmth to a small space. Traditional woven baskets filled with birch logs adds to the fireside ambience.
Although furniture pieces should be positioned properly to elicit conversation and social interaction all year, it’s especially helpful during the colder months to make a living area feel more inviting. Take a moment to be sure the furniture is using the best space available for comfortable gatherings, perhaps even make your newly decorated fireplace the focal point of the furniture placement.
Do not ignore the importance of comfortable and warm pillows and blankets placed strategically throughout seating. I personally adore any type of Sherpa fabric lined blanket. If you haven’t already, this season is also the perfect time to change slip covers on couches from light weight summer fabrics to velveteen and heavier chenille options.
Evergreen wreaths of any type are also a synonymous with winter time feelings. Any type of bookshelf would look lovely with various types of wreaths. Consider a scent-filled wreath of sage, oregano, or rosemary. Bay leaves are also a great choice for visual and perfume related qualities.
The holidays are the best time of year to mix drinks and serve from your bar cart, but its use can stretch into the following months as display furniture. Fill empty glass or porcelain ware with greens or winter floral arrangements. An added lamp adds glowing light to any corner or nook where the cart is located. This trend has become even more popular recently and can be purchased from mass retailers such as Target but also in antique stores throughout the country.
A neutral winter color scheme can be offset with bursts of color if the cold season is wearing on your sensibilities, although real estate agents will advise against painting entire walls a strong color such as cranberry or orange. Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore color and design expert, suggests introducing color into a room in small ways. "Pops of color can be great ways to add interest to a room in a subtle way. The inside of a bookcase, behind glass cabinets, an accent piece of furniture, or even the inside of a closet or a door—the key is to bring in a pop of color in a location that makes sense with the space."
Additionally, Benjamin Moore has declared that the company's 2015 Color of the Year is Guilford Green. Guilford Green is described as "a neutral that's natural" by company officials. As a neutral, this color would evenly enhance any winter trend decorating as well as carry into the spring and summer months, so it might be fun to spend a long dreary winter Sunday painting to perk up the winter blahs. The silvery sage green will be seen throughout the company’s color palette for 2015.
By incorporating winter weight fabrics such as velvets, flannels, and even sweater or cable knit material to the room, the space becomes more inviting and comfortable. Fabric is the easiest and quickest way to change a mood in a room. Felted wool pillows make a warm statement on any couch and heavy draperies are both mood enhancing and utilitarian by trapping precious heat. Even floor pillows beside a fire become pleasing if placed on an updated wool rug.
Sheepskins, or any skins for that matter with coordinating furs (or faux if you prefer) are also traditionally placed in rooms to add comfort and plushness.
Unexpected changes in fabrics also add significant warmth to chilly rooms such as kitchens and dining rooms. By adding cushions to bar stools or dining room chairs, the warmth of the room intensifies. Throw and accents rugs may also be updated to match winter motifs.
Explore Design Classes
In general, these are a few of the concepts that reoccur when decorating for winter season. Added touches such as metallic pieces in the traditional gold and silver tones are classic but shades of bronze and platinum work just as well and transition into the spring. Be sure to take advantage of your local retailers such as Pottery Barn or Michaels for free or inexpensive classes and events designed to help you accomplish the winter looks you hope for. Local paint stores may even offer the same type of activities. Be sure to check out MilitaryByOwner’s other resources and blog posts detailing design and decorating ideas.
What are your ideas or advice for achieving the perfect winter look in your home?