Summer is over and that can only mean one thing… it’s about to get cooler. Being a native southern Californian, I find the very idea of winter daunting. On the other hand, there is no place I’d rather be from October to February than nestled comfortably in my country house with a cup of cocoa in my hands and a good book in my lap. In anticipation of shorter nights, cooler temperatures and winter cocooning, here are some simple ways to warm up your interiors.
Shortly after Labour Day we dig out our scarves, gloves and topcoats in anticipation of colder weather and new fall fashions. This “bundling up” process is equally warranted when it comes to our interiors. After all, we may love that light, fresh and breezy feeling in July but we recognize we need something more substantial for the winter months ahead.
Strategic layers provide added warmth and soothing comfort. Toss a cashmere throw on the arm of a favourite chair, place an extra set of pillows on the living room sofa, or add a coverlet to the foot of the bed.
Design Tip – If storage space is at a premium, it may not be realistic to keep several sets of pillows in the house. Instead, create a single pillow using two different fabrics—one for each side. Choose cotton or linen for the “summer” side and a heavier velvet or chenille for the “winter” side. Rotate as required.
EMBRACE COLOUR AND PATTERN
If beige is leaving you cold, introduce rich colour. Add a splash of cinnamon, chocolate, or lavender to rooms. A series of red vases down the length of a dark-wood table strikes a dramatic pose. Navy blue toss cushions enliven a dependable tan sofa. Top a plain white duvet cover with a bed “runner;” a hot trend in hotel design.
To increase colour’s impact, introduce pattern as well. Do we dare? Oh yes. Large-scale pattern is turning up on upholstered pieces such as armchairs, sofas and headboards. Look to exuberant floral, exotic paisley and dashing animal prints to revive listless rooms and add warmth.
Design Tip – Pattern has more visual weight than a solid colour, so it’s a welcome addition to rooms that require warmth and depth.
TURN UP THE LIGHT
Clean the windows and tidy the landscape. As simple as it sounds, dirty panes and overgrown shrubbery restrict the amount of sunlight that penetrates windows. If you’re remodeling or building from scratch, choose a window that allows wash-from-within rotations to make this task easier.
Introduce mirrors to visually expand space and bring sunshine indoors.
Design Tip – Paint windowsills and surrounds in a light-reflecting colour such as ivory, cream, and white to bounce sunlight into rooms.