Light, bright and airy is fine for the spring and summer months, when you want to throw open all the doors and windows and let the outside in, but what about the autumn and winter months when all you want to do is draught proof the doors and windows and snuggle down and keep warm? Fortunately, there are a few ways you can warm up your home during the colder months without having to change your entire interior decorating scheme.
Colour is key
When it comes to making individual rooms inviting, the colours you choose make all the difference. Lighter, neutral colours do, of course, make small spaces appear larger, while dark colours can make them seem smaller, but it is surprising how a combination of the two can create a whole different effect. For example, painting three of the four walls in a neutral colour will create an impression of space, while painting the fourth wall a darker colour, or even papering in a patterned wallpaper, will add depth and thereby warmth. Such a colour scheme and layout will work for spring and summer just as well as for autumn and winter.
Windows are an important part of a room, so how you dress them will make a big difference to how warm each will feel. Standalone roller blinds, for example, are excellent minimalist choices, but they can look a little stark when on their own. Adding curtains will not only add texture to your room and layer up your windows to add warmth, they will also serve to ‘frame’ your windows and attract the eye. A good alternative to both curtains and roller blinds are full height shutters, which can be opened and closed according to your ventilation, light and privacy needs, but also attract the eye. They have other advantages too, in that they are good insulators of heat when closed, so they will help to keep your room toasty warm.
If you want to add warmth to your home and do not mind spending a little bit of money, then you could invest in some quality wooden furniture. Wooden furniture is warming because of the natural colour and grain, although some woods are more warming than others. Oak is perhaps the most popular choice and it is easy to see why. It comes in a variety of types, from light oak to dark oak, so it should be easy to find pieces that complement your current colour scheme. In investment terms, solid oak furniture is best, as it will literally last a lifetime if treated properly. A cheaper option is to have non-solid wooden furniture that features an oak veneer. Wooden furniture can also be accessorised easily and forms a great background for colour. Feel free to mix wooden furniture with metal and other materials, too.
Perhaps the best way of cosying up your family home during the winter months is to add layers to your furniture with various types of fabric accessories. For example, if you have plain coloured or leather sofas in your living room, you should create a warm feeling by putting plump and plush cushions on them, mixing up the colours and the fabrics. You should also up the comfort levels by placing a warm throw within easy reach, ready to snuggle under when the cold starts to bite. Also, if you have hard floors, such as wooden floorboards, laminate or vinyl flooring, you should lay down rugs. A rug placed beneath the coffee table and dining table will help to deaden sound and prevent rooms from having a bit of an echo, and also add visual warmth.
Strong lighting can also have a cooling effect on a room, so if you find your rooms are a little too stark because all they have is a single pendant lamp, then consider placing a few lamps with lower wattage bulbs on side tables. A great way to create a defined seating area in your lounge if you need strong, directional lighting, such as for reading by, is to place a standard lamp to the side or behind an armchair. You could also make use of candles, such as on a mantelpiece or on shelves, to add a warm, ambient glow.
Everyone likes to feel warm and cosy when the nights start to draw in, so make a comfortable nest for you and your family by layering up with textiles, mixing the odd dark colour with light colours and having different levels of lighting.