It happens every year. Your house looks its absolute best, inside and out, between November and New Year’s day. After all, it’s the holiday season and the time of year when you want to put your home’s best face forward for visiting friends and family. Everything’s clean, bright and festooned with cheerful holiday decorations. It looks great. No, wait…that’s an understatement. It looks fantastic.
Before you know it, it’s January. The tree comes down. The garlands have wilted. The guests have gone home. You’ve put the gifts away, and the kids have gone back to school. Suddenly your house looks as quiet, stark and boring as a grey winter day and post-holiday letdown begins to set in.
Don’t let it. By brightening up your interiors as soon as the holidays are over, you’ll create surroundings that will help keep the winter blues at bay and make your house as warm and inviting as it was during all of your year-end festivities. And, don’t worry—you can do it even on the tightest post-holiday budget. Creating a cozy space for winter days doesn’t require any major construction or costs. Just a few small changes can make a big difference.
Paint truly is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to brighten a room. Nothing transforms a seemingly dreary space more than a fresh coat of color. A high-quality wall paint also can hide any scuffs and scrapes caused by too much holiday cheer or during the “un-decorating” process.
The right paint color can make a tired room look cozy and inviting. It also can serve as the canvas that ties the rest of your decorating scheme together—once you brighten tired walls, you can get inspiration for other design elements throughout the space.
Consider selecting rich, saturated wall colors to warm up the space. Warm, burnished golds. Succulent reds and cranberries. Smooth mochas and bold French roast browns. Set off dark colors with a creamy, white trim for a soft, stylish effect.
When selecting paint, think about selecting a coating that has low odor and low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) so you can paint indoors, even in the winter—a time when you don’t necessarily want to open all the windows for extra ventilation. Stain resistance is another factor to consider in paint selection, particularly in high-traffic areas, such as kitchens and family rooms.
Paint is just the first step, however. Once you have finished warming up your rooms with a fresh canvas, you can add some finishing touches to create a haven from the cold weather outside.
Think of the month or two after the hectic holiday season as a time of rest, relaxation and recovery. Chances are you’ll spend much of your time indoors during these months, so instead of bemoaning the fact the tree is down and it looks bare, make your rooms as cozy as possible.
One of the first things you might want to do is rearrange the furniture in your most-used rooms to lessen the feeling of emptiness in the space. You can give your room a new look for free, simply by moving a few key pieces to new locations. Also, by moving furniture closer together, rooms can look particularly cozy on a cold day.
Next, think texture. If your window treatments are sheer and summery, maybe you’ll want to swap them out for some inexpensive velvet drapes or enhance existing blinds with a luxurious valance. Remove light-colored linen or cotton slipcovers and instead use heavier, winter-friendly fabrics in jewel- or fire-inspired tones. Accent them with fluffy throws and embellished decorative pillows for the look of extra warmth. Area rugs can reduce the stark look of a room. Pick rugs with bold colors and patterns that complement, but not necessarily match, your wall color.
In the bedrooms, replace light quilts with heavier comforters and duvets and consider using flannel sheets. Add a few extra pillows to the beds to further enhance the cuddle factor. Hang thick, plush towels in rich colors in the bathrooms and replace existing bathmats with ones that have a thick, luxurious pile. A new, fabric shower curtain also will go a long way toward warming up the space, despite all of that cold porcelain and chrome.
With a few simple and inexpensive changes such as these, there’s no need for you, or your house, to suffer from post-holiday letdown. Rich color, warm textures and clever room arrangements can keep your home looking spectacular and inviting throughout winter’s dreariest months—no holiday decorations needed.