Ways to warm up your living spaces during the colder months that won't make your credit card go into hiding
Winter is almost upon us, so it is time to invite warm decor ideas into the home, and they don’t need to cost a fortune.
You might just need to reconfigure furniture to make spaces cosier, especially with a fireplace for chilly evenings. Bring out the plush couch throws you put away during summer. A rule of thumb for creating cosiness is to dress windows, says interior designer Bailey Basson of Blue Capricorn.
“Bare windows leave a room feeling unfinished, so layer your window dressings. A blind with a soft voile curtain, double-track curtains with a soft voile behind or a voile in front with a block-out on the back track. Run curtains along the length and height of the room.”
Also layer fabrics and textures within the room. “Mixing textures adds visual warmth. Think wood, velvet, woven fabric and something fluffy to add cuddly comfort,” says Basson.
Interior designers offer tips to warm each living space:
Adding colour is the easiest and most efficient way to warm any space. Basson suggests you use deep reds, oranges and black.
“If these bold colours are too much for you, add a mix of metallic or jewel tones, with fittings and accessories such as cushions or art. Pairing jewel tones with warm textures, such as leather and velvet, also works wonders,” he says.
Lighting is equally important. “Use warm white bulbs and make use of feature lighting, not just overhead but in wall sconces or lamps,” suggests Basson.
Marcia Margolius, editor of SA Decor and Design, suggests using thick drapes in winter as they absorb heat, and adding rugs for warmth underfoot, especially if your floor is tiled or wood.
“A striking area rug softens space and creates a cosy feel,” Margolius says.
If you’re thinking of painting, wintry tones are deep emerald greens, rich violets and brooding navy, says Jo Pieters of Jo Pieters Design Studio, “but painting one feature wall is out so paint the entire room”.
“A ceiling is another surface to detail, paint or highlight. Timber cladding and mouldings infuse warmth,” says Pieters.
If you’re in the market for bedroom furniture, the trend is to choose richer, darker timbers such as walnut, says Pieters: “To give your wooden furniture a warm, luxurious feel, pair it with metallic legs or handles in bronze or aged gold.”
Florals remain a strong theme and Pieters suggests using them for bedroom wallpaper. “Choose wintery hues like violet, dusty pinks, olive.”
Bed is where you can really get toasty, so here it’s about blankets and throws in different textures. Ester Venter, of Posh Interior, says: “Add fur throws. They are very soft and add great texture to a room.”
If you have the space, Margolius loves a fireplace. “They can be installed in just about any room. The bedroom is perfect for a fire to create an enchanting ambience.”
Kitchens are becoming an extension of the living space, so to infuse warmth and character, use interesting shelving options, or feature textured walls, suggests Pieters.
“Paintings and artwork on the walls are another way to make the kitchen more a part of the home.”
A quick, economical way to add colour is to paint the insides of your white cabinets, says Margolius, “or add pops of colour with a plate display or tile back-splash”.
Exposed brick is a decor trend and works well in a kitchen. “An exposed brick wall brings warm orange and red undertones,” she says.
If you have kitchen curtains, draw them at night for extra insulation.
The bathroom tends to be the whitest room in the house, so the best way to warm it is to incorporate rustic elements in the decor – interesting patterns, natural-looking materials and contrasting textures.
“In tiles, you see nature-inspired themes and colours, including faux wood or stone-like tiles,” says Margolius. Blues, turquoise and greens are great “but accentuation is better than full colour”.
“Warm your bathroom with objets d’art – a hand-carved African stool or an interesting candle holder.”
If your budget allows, you can’t go wrong with a heated towel rail, even in matte black.
“Matte black is the strongest colour trend this winter in bathrooms,” says Pieters.