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Decorating to add warmth to your home for winter does not have to break the bank

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 up 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.

Create cosiness for the chilly months by dressing the windows in your home. Picture: Bailey 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,” she 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 a single feature wall in a room is out so paint the entire room”.

Then consider ceilings. “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.”

Fireplace in bedroom. Picture courtesy: Marcia Margolius

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. “These beauties can be installed in just about any room. The bedroom is perfect for a fire and soft lighting or candles 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,” she says.

A quick, economical way to add colour is to paint the insides of your white cabinets, says Margolius, “or you can add pops of colour with a plate display or a tile back-splash”.

Exposed brick is a strong decor trend, and works well in a kitchen. “The kitchen is the heart of the home, and an exposed brick wall brings with it warm orange and red undertones,” she says.

If you have curtains in your kitchen, draw them at night as an additional layer of insulation and warmth.


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’ll see a range of nature-inspired themes and colours, including faux wood or stone-like tiles, which will imbue your bathroom with earthy textures and tones,” says Margolius. Blues, turquoise and greens are great painting colours for a bathroom, “but remember, accentuation is better than full colour”.

“Another great way to warm your bathroom is to personalise it with objets d’art – a hand-carved African stool or an interesting candle holder,” she says.

If your budget allows, you can’t go wrong with a heated towel rail. Picture: Jeeves

Sanitary technology has made it easy to raise the actual temperature of the bathroom. If your budget allows, you can’t go wrong with a heated towel rail, even in matt black.

“Matt black is the strongest colour trend this winter in bathroom surfaces, finishes, lights and taps. It’s a great way to add warm sophistication,” says Pieters.

How to get the look and right feel for under R500

● A pair of bright throws, or boldly patterned pillows, cost less than R450 at budget stores

● Drape a throw over a chair in your kitchen to make it more winter friendly

 ● Go for copper accents in the kitchen in cabinet handles, pendant lights or cookware

● Maximise on daylight. Hang a large mirror to reflect light into a room

Go for wintry scents such as pine and cinnamon. Picture: Nathan Fertig

● Make kitchen curtains. Buy colourful or patterned fabric, hem the raw edges and use clip-style curtain rings over rods

● Paint kitchen chairs with chalk paint using warm winter colours

● Place a sheepskin rug on the floor, or toss a rug over an ottoman

● Layer one rug on top of another to add visual interest

● Place a bowl of potpourri in a room, in wintry scents such as cinnamon or pine needles.

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