Warm Up Your
House this Winter
A cozy fire on a snowy, wind-chilled winter day can be
very comforting. So can a home with the warm, sunny,
floral appeal of summer. Getting your home to "feel" like
summer year-round can be easy and fun. And it doesn't have
to break your budget.
Solariums, skylights and sun rooms are the obvious
solution. Sun rooms may not have glass roofs, but they
will let the sun shine through. No matter what the season,
if it is sunny outside, it is sunny inside. You also get
to enjoy nature's other wonders. But these projects can be
expensive and sometimes disappointing. Unless you have
appropriate shading, skylights and solariums can be very
warm in summer, even with air conditioning.
Colour, texture, light and plants are then your best tools
when it comes to creating a bright, airy, warm atmosphere
in your home year-round.
Add a splash of colour
Bright paint, wall coverings and window treatments in
complementary and contrasting colours can warm up almost
any room, regardless of how cold and tired it may appear.
Just remember that the same colour looks different in
different types of light. A red may appear cold under a
fluorescent lamp, but much warmer in a room with lots of
natural light. Colours also affect one another; beige may
seem dull, but put it next to something like buttercup
yellow or tangerine orange and it will seem a lot warmer
The amount of colour in a room also affects the mood. An
entire room of pink or yellow could be exhausting, but
splashes of these colours will brighten and add interest
to any room.
A room with dark-coloured walls and furnishings will
absorb light, especially in winter. Installing more lamps
or ceiling track lighting can brighten the dullest,
darkest spots. With so many lighting styles, colours and
sizes available today, there's no limit to what you can
Use windows to increase the amount of natural light a room
receives. Even if the view is dreary outside, the right
window treatment will increase light and make the room
appear warmer and more inviting. If you don't want to look
at piles of snow outside or the neighbour's brick wall,
hang plants from the ceiling in front of the window. Or
stretch glass shelves across the panes and show off a
collection of small plants or glass bottles. The aim is to
camouflage a poor view while letting the light shine
Brighten a room by visually enlarging a small window. To
add height, attach a valance or cornice on the wall above
the window from. To add width, extend the curtain rod
beyond the window frame on either side. Use window
coverings such as light fabric swags and valances to
create a warm, summery feel.
Add light to a windowless wall by hanging a large mirror.
This also gives a room depth and openness. You can
visually add a window to a windowless room by hanging a
mirror directly facing a real window.
Warm up with area rugs
For added warmth and colour, place area rugs in the
bathroom, below a table, beneath chairs, in the hallway,
living room and bedrooms. Rugs come in all shapes, sizes,
textures and colours. They quickly warm up today's popular
ceramic and hardwood floors.
Placed over an existing carpet in a contrasting colour,
area rugs can make a room more luxurious and warm. Avoid
using patterned area rugs if you have patterned wallpaper,
lots of pictures on walls or collections on shelves. You
want to create a warm appearance, not a cluttered one.
Floral arrangements and houseplants, whether real or
synthetic, are a great way to make your home feel summery
Fresh flowers will last longer if you cut the stems at an
angle and place them in tepid water. To prevent
dehydration, keep fresh floral arrangements away from
drafts, including fans, heating vents, air conditioners
and direct sunlight.
When selecting and placing flowering and foliage plants in
a room, ensure they complement the furnishings and other
decor. House plants can play a dramatic role in the design
and feel of a room, but they should serve only as a
backdrop to your furnishings and as a way to add warmth,
colour and contrast to a room.
The look, size and shape of plants and floral arrangements
should "fit" the available spaces in a room. Corners look
great with tall, fan-shaped plants. Window ledges or
shelves are good for low, bushy plants. Fill nooks and
crannies, such as an old fireplace, with a plant that fits
the space and suits the surroundings.
In the fall, bring flowering plants grown outdoors over
the summer - such as geraniums and begonias indoors. You
will be extending their flowering season and adding warmth
and colour to your home at no additional cost.