Monday, January 21, 2013

Decorating tips to bust out of gray winter days

 A cozy scene can be created by using greenery and give your house a new look for the new year.
Fresh colors and a few new or repurposed accessories can go a long way toward perking up winter-weary rooms.

The days are gray and dreary, the holidays are history and those festive seasonal decorations that gave our interiors warmth and sparkle last month are now back in storage boxes.

It’s no wonder that we — and our homes — have the winter blahs.

So what to do?

You don’t have to undertake a major makeover to give your décor a big boost, according to interior designers. Fresh colors and a few new or repurposed accessories can go a long way toward perking up winter-weary rooms. What can you do for your home to give it the life and sparkle it had earlier?

Here are tips from designers on refreshing winter décor:

• Picture the possibilities
Take photos of the rooms you want to enhance, then study them to see what’s needed.

• Accessorize
Rooms are like outfits, according to Sutphen, and can be greatly enhanced by accessories. How many is a matter of personal taste, but in her view, homes tend to be under-accessorized most of the year. “Mantels are so nicely done during the holidays and so neglected the rest of the year,” she said.
“A few more important pieces are better than a lot of little tchotchkes,” cautioned Catherine Harrington, an interior designer with Waldenwood, an Eden Prairie, Minn., remodeling firm.

• Perk up pillows
New accent pillows can go a long way toward refreshing your interiors. “There are so many great fabrics, colors and price points,” Sutphen noted. Or make your own.

• Move things around
Harrington is a fan of creative rearranging. “Redecorating doesn’t have to be a lot of buying. It can be reusing things you already have,” she said, such as moving your living-room lamps to the bedroom and vice versa, or putting a small bedroom chest in the dining room. “All of a sudden it looks like a brand-new piece,” she said.

• Illuminate
“January is such a dark month,” Sutphen said. That’s why lighting — task, ambient and decorative — is extra-important during the winter.

“Proper lighting will bring a room to life,” she said. Try a new chandelier — they’re now popular in just about every room of the house, even over kitchen islands and bathtubs. “It can be a piece of jewelry for the home, and add a little bit of bling,” she said. “And adding a mirror to a room can do a ton to bounce around light.”

• Color therapy
“A fresh coat of paint makes everything fresh and new,” Harrington said. Try fresh spring or lime green on walls. “It’s very popular and has almost become a neutral,” she said.

• Rethink artwork
Try hanging a favorite piece of art in a new spot. Or group artwork in a new way, such as taking two prints with complementary colors or patterns and framing them as a pair.

• Add greenery
 It’s an inexpensive way to add height and interest.

• Add shine
To brighten up winter interiors, try an iridescent window treatment, a throw with some metallic threads or an antique book with some shiny gold on the spine.

• Invest in something new
Perhaps a patterned area rug. To find just the right size for your space, Sutphen advises spreading a bed sheet on the floor and folding it to different sizes. “That’s one of my favorite tricks.”

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