When I was a child, Hannukah or the “The Festival of Lights,” was a minor holiday, and we had very few decorations. I even told my parents how I wish we had a beautiful holiday. But being a decorator who loves the season, I am compelled to create some of my own bling. I include lots of lights and candles, and I keep to a blue and white theme, while adding some reds and oranges to give it a little spice. I love it so much that each year I enthusiastically volunteer to help friends decorate their homes.
However, each year, I find myself going through withdrawals when the holidays are over. Not from alcohol, but from the bleakness that is created when all the decorations have been cleaned up and put away until the next year. I might not keep all the bling, but this year I have decided to address the issue and think of ways that I may continue to enjoy the winter months, just a little bit more than in the past. My hope is that you too might incorporate some of these ideas and create a cozy and warm oasis for yourself, family and friends.
Let the lights glow
Last year I decided to keep a couple of strands of little lights that I had displayed. One is on my armoire, and one is wound around one of my tall plants in the corner of the living room. That plant has since died, but I have decided to keep the lights I now have on top of my curio cabinet year round. I also have decided to keep the glow of candlelight throughout the year. These days, flameless candles can be found everywhere, making the look even easier to keep. I had seen little lights that run on batteries in previous years, but this year I purchased some. I was surprised to see them even at the 99-cent store. At a recent party, a friend of mine lit up her back yard by putting these lights in jars, setting the battery underneath it. They looked like little fireflies. This year I have a strand illuminating the wreath on my front door, which in past years you couldn’t see at night.
Focus on the hearth
If you have a fireplace, face your furniture towards the hearth. If you don’t, pulling your furniture away from the walls and grouping them in the center of the room will create a cozier gathering spot for winter entertaining. If you do have a fireplace, give it a little lift. You can do so by displaying new items on your mantel and adding a new screen.
Cheerful colors chase away blues
Now that you have neutral spaces, infuse them with little spots of color. A bright throw or a boldly patterned pillow will do the trick. It can also bring in some more warmth. To create a unifying look, bring in the same color in different elements. It need not be much, a vase or even a picture frame. You can get more bang-for-your-buck with these cheerful and colorful items because these can then be used for spring and summer.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
I am a strong advocate for mirrors. With the winter gloom, you need all the light you can get. Hanging a mirror over the mantel or hanging a large one on a blank wall helps to reflect light throughout the space. For more reflection and sparkle, put some lights or candles in front of the mirror. Also, any surface that reflects light like a mirror, such as mercury glass, will add some wanted sparkle.
Retain heat and add warmth to seats
Just like the fashions for winter, you can bring in heavier fabrics. You can either replace your existing window treatments for the winter season, or you can create the layered look by combining these with your existing window treatments, such as shades and blinds. Doing so not only brings in some color, but it can help keep your heating bills down by keeping the warm air in.
Sit in style and warmth by covering your dining room chairs with simple slipcovers. They can easily be cleaned and can add a touch of style and color.
Add warmth underfoot
While I love my bare wood floors in the warmer months, I love the warmth of area rugs in the colder ones. These can add color and texture to the room. Have wall-to-wall carpeting? No problem. You change up your style by layering one thin rug over another. This is an easy way to denote a space or emphasize a grouping of furniture.
Your nose will know the difference
Even though we don’t have a Christmas tree, I love the smell of pine needles and evergreen trees. This year I got my fix when a neighbor gave me some branches off her tree to hang inside my front door. I also love the smells of the season– vanilla, cinnamon and evergreen– and I buy candles infused with those fragrances. I am able to prolong the joys of the holiday season while embracing the warmth of family and friends for the entire winter season.
Shoshanah Siegel provides color consulting as well as space planning, remodeling, upgrading and staging through her firm Your Color Diva. She can be contacted at (562) 427-0440, firstname.lastname@example.org, yourcolordiva.com. Also, check out her ideabooks and portfolio at: houzz.com/pro/shoshanahsiegel/your-color-diva.