Warming Trend

To counter snowy whips of winter, a home should embrace guests with warmth. Setting the thermostat to a toasty temperature is a good start, but designers advise incorporating cozy textures and soothing colors to stimulate visual and tactile warmth that creates an enveloping experience. Tweaking existing decor—rearranging accents, changing out textiles, painting a wall or changing lighting—can go a long way to making a home more inviting.

East Rockaway-based designer Pina Zsuffa likes to start with the foyer, which sets the tone for guests. “I’ll paint one wall in a warm color that’s not easy to identify but adds a sophisticated touch, like putty, grayish green or a blackened brown. Adding a new color through a textured wall covering really makes a statement,” she said. Then it’s time to think about details at eye level. “A table with candles and lots of flowers—orchids in rusty wine colors—gives the entryway a welcoming touch.”

In a grand foyer set the bouquet on a centered table, but even a small side table in a modest entryway doubles as a natural place to toss keys and continue the theme. Williams-Sonoma’s Essential Oils line of environmentally friendly votive candles in Spiced Chestnut or Pumpkin add a luxurious scent. For those who are sensitive to scented candles, West Elm’s flameless variety with LEDs come in different sizes and can softly light the entryway the entire night on one charge.

Kravet Fabrics in Bronze and Desert damask

It’s no secret that color is a mood-changer and paint makes it easy to flip any room in the house, even if it’s only a feature wall. Benjamin Moore’s Garden Cucumber and Mustang and Farrow & Ball’s Orangery, Pelt and Cinder Rose are all unexpectedly warm shades. Donald Kaufman’s rusty brown DKC-48 and chocolate DKC-17 can add depth to an atmosphere. And Ralph Lauren goes one step further with suede, a faux painting technique that gives the illusion of a luxe wall covering by using special rollers and colors like Ranchitos Red and Adobe. Zsuff a suggested switching out the artwork as a way to introduce new seasonal color into a home and highlighting it with an overhead spotlight.

Seasonal wardrobe changes are a given. Do the same around the house by adding seductive mohairs and soft wools to bring an extra level of comfort. Swapping out investment pieces like chairs and couches isn’t always practical. Instead change the pillows to freshen the look. Designers like versions made from wool knit fabrics—the sweater-like hand texture feels warm. Pottery Barn’s Tonal Cable Knit pillow covers have the look of a comfy pullover and Restoration Hardware’s cashmere covers come in a variety of sizes and colors for a more elegant, high-end look.

Sitting around the fireplace is a favorite winter pastime and the seating is nearly as important as the crackling flames. Adding an area rug a safe distance from the hearth provides a buff er from the cold floor while inviting informal gatherings. It’s easy to switch out after the season too. Already have a carpet down? Top it with a smaller, complementary rug in a plush pile, faux fur or hide—it instantly changes the mood of a room, finishing it with a layered look. Hollywood Love Rugs has everything from faux bear to zebra and less exotic reproduction sheepskin. Also keep an eye out for Mandara shag area rugs in rich colors like orange and silver.

Ralph Lauren suede paint

Nothing says warmth like a luxurious throw, which can double as a cozy wrap or decorative accessory on a couch or chair. The guest who just came in on a snowy evening or the teenager who wants to nap by the fire will equally appreciate this timeless embellishment. Cashmere, mohair, wool, fleece—woven or knit—are available in an endless variety of colors and styles. Frontgate offers its Portofino throws and matching pillows in a lush damask design. For a more casual feel, their Mongolian cashmere throws come in cable or flat knit. Dash & Albert’s 100 percent woven cotton throws are an ideal treat for overnight guests that also make a lovely gift to evoke memories of warmth long after they leave.

In these colder months, drapery can serve two purposes: blocking out cold breezes to save energy and bringing color and texture onto vertical planes. Kravet Fabrics in Bronze or Henna damask is heavy and luxurious. Zsuffa adds simple side panels in velvet or textured silks that can be easily removed once the weather gets warmer.

Lighting is essential to creating warmth in any room, especially where guests should feel comfortable. Zsuffa likes creating an intimate seating area by pairing a comfortable armchair with a floor lamp. Imagine One Kings Lane’s Gramercy Park chair in rich espresso leather, draped with a cashmere throw in deep red and a brass floor lamp beside it. This arrangement has a private club feel that’s soothing after coming in from the cold and is appropriate for both contemporary and classic rooms. A chandelier in the dining room also invites guests to linger and upgrading to a new one is a simple DIY change. Paired with a grouping of candles as a centerpiece, it gives everyone at the table a flattering glow.

annette rose-shapiro

annette rose-shapiro

Annette Rose-Shapiro writes about decor, interior design, art and architecture. She is currently working on a short documentary about the creative process.