Get Cozy

As the days grow shorter and the temperature continues to drop, there’s certainly an urge to hunker down and hibernate. Why not make the most of that “nesting” instinct and spend a little time refreshing your home for the winter?

Usually “freshening up” is thought of as a springtime activity, but the winter calls for some changes too. We’ll be spending more time indoors over the next few months so it’s important that our home is as cozy and comfortable as possible. Not sure how to start? Long Island interior designer and author Lori Miller ( suggests letting your senses guide you.
“Just as we might crave the comfort of a thick, heavy sweater to help stave off the chill in the winter,” she says, “the same goes for the fabrics we use at home.” Miller suggests introducing a new throw for the bed or a collection of throw pillows for the sofa in a plush fabric, such as velvet or wool. “Go for something that’s both pleasing to the eye and to the touch,” she says, “by simply adding a new layer or texture to your décor can make a big difference.”

Also pleasing to the eye is color. When all you see are sparse tree branches and blankets of white snow outside your window, color becomes more important than ever. “Keep your color choices warm to counteract the cold outside,” Miller suggests. Reds, blues and deep greens are favorite ways to achieve that warmth and work will with classic neutrals such as beige, white and gray.

“Placemats, table runners, even dishtowels are easy ways to bring in some color and switch up your look,” Miller says. Colorful picture frames and wall hangings also introduce color without much of a commitment. “I like to display winter-themed photos such as families playing in the snow. Framing them in color just makes the photos pop even more.”

To cheer up a windowsill, add a new lamp with a bold, colorful shade or a gorgeous green houseplant. “Anything that catches your eye and engages your senses will distract you from the bleak view outside,” says Miller.

Another sense to tap into during your winter overhaul is your sense of smell. “Think about what brings you comfort,” she says. “I love cinnamon-scented candles or potpourri during the winter,” she says. “I also love fresh flowers.”

However, she says, if fresh flowers aren’t your thing, think about dried flowers arrangements for winter. “Dried arrangements can be beautiful for winter,” she says, “and they’re much easier to care for than fresh ones.” Whatever you love, bring it into your home to create a cozy setting during the cold months ahead.

Looking for decorating tips? Starting February 2010, Lauren’s column will also feature a spotlight with a different leading LI based interior designer. Find out what it takes to decorate like an expert (and pick up some of their tips).

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.