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Interior Design Ideas for Embracing Winter

It’s always been kind of funny to me; we complain that the stores start stocking their holiday décor in October, yet we embrace leaving our own up well past its expiration date.

A lot of that is tied up in emotion, I know. There’s such a crescendo with the holidays—parties, family, shopping, overindulging—and then literally overnight, it comes to a halt. We’re expected to wake up January 2 and head back to work like none of it happened. But the dark Christmas tree is standing in the corner of the living room, whispering, “Stay home and play,” while you wait for the coffee to finish brewing.

I have a hard time letting go of the holidays, too. And I know it’s kind of cliché, but investing in my New Year’s resolutions has helped me bridge that canyon between Jan. 1 and 2. I like the idea of being able to rebuild myself. The holidays and the end of the year always lead me toward a lot of introspection anyway. So it feels natural to start a new year with a desire to fill those voids and right those regrets.

Still, by the end of the month, my resolve starts to wane a bit, we inevitably run into a string of overcast and/or bitterly cold days, and just that fast, it occurs to me that we have a couple months of winter left—a couple of months that can sometimes feel like three or four months.

Winter isn’t all bad, though. It sometimes takes a crackling fire to remind me of that. But there’s a lot of beauty and comfort to be had. Here are a few easy-to-execute interior design ideas that are aimed at taking full advantage.

Reflect the season
We tend to home in on the browns and grays when we think of winter’s palette, but there’s white and blue, too. Freshly fallen snow is about as pure as it gets anymore. And a clear winter sky is positively electric. Not to mention the stunning ice prisms. Carry all of that inside and watch how much brighter your spaces become.

I like to create simple arrangements with white flowers and short, skinny branches I pick up around the yard. I also pair those branches with a few select pieces of Christmas décor, glass and crystal things that mimic the ice. When the morning sun hits them just right, they cast a rainbow across the room. Without touching the thermostat, winter, in that moment, feels a whole lot warmer.

Prioritize coziness
Interior design ideas, no matter the season, tend to run along aesthetic lines. There’s nothing wrong with crafting your living spaces like that if you’re angling for a spread in dwell. But it’s neglecting a much larger responsibility: to be functional and, even more, to be comfortable. Plus, in playing to the eye alone, you’re neglecting the other senses, and each one’s capable of greatly enhancing your experience.

Pillows are my go-to for a fast refresher, in part because I can’t imagine a living room or bedroom without them. They instantly soften a space. And they’re such an easy means to change the mood. A few well-placed pillows and the entire room assumes a new identity.

I’m also big into faux fur, whether it’s in the form of a throw, an area rug, or a pillow. It creates a warm intimacy when we’re entertaining. People see a faux fur throw draped over the back of the sofa and a fire dancing in the fireplace and a dinner party quickly jumps a couple of cocktails ahead. But, even when it’s the two of us and the dogs, the effect is just as intoxicating. The wind could be beating against the house, the snow piling up, and there’s nowhere else I’d want to be.

In that vein, scented candles are a powerful tool, too. It seems almost counterintuitive when we’re down to so few hours of daylight, but the dimmer the light, the warmer a room feels. I’d prefer to limit the artificial light in a room to a lamp or two and supplement it with scented candles, which, beyond their little, flickering flames, feel like a toasty wool blanket wrapped around the room.

Your home is your sanctuary, but it needs to be a fluid expression in order for that to hold through all seasons. In the spring and summer, we look to erase the lines between indoor and outdoor living. In the fall and winter, we arrange a few (comfortable) layers between ourselves and the harsh elements. That said, my interior design ideas are never meant to be one-size fits-all. Think of them more as a nudge in the right direction. Your home plays too big a part in your life (and your mood) to get stuck in a rut. If you’re not content and at peace there, change it up. As this hopefully shows, it doesn’t take much.