On this Christmas Eve, as a headline-making winter storm with a polar-vortex deep freeze paralyzes North America, the focus turns to cocooning in the home. For NFL fans, the Buffalo Bills play the Chicago Bears this afternoon at Soldier Field, as forecasters say the Chicago weather will be colder than Mars. Insane.
So since most of us are stuck inside, what are some ways to cozy up the home. Here are some tips, according to the people at Pacific Palisades Realtors, and interior design experts Jacqueline Hamilton and Nicola Rodriguez.
Candles and scents
“Candles can change the atmosphere and ambience of a room instantly” says interior designer Jaqueline Hamilton. “Not only the glow of a beautifully lit candle can cast a lovely feeling of cosiness to a room but also the scent can do that too. Choosing a scented candle can create a gorgeous smell in a room and can evoke a feeling of warmth and wellbeing and bring back memories of past winters.”
Designer Rodriguez adds: “Adding a fragrant reed diffuser, oil/wax burner or plug-in gives the room a cosy feeling before you’ve even opened your eyes. Fragrances such as pine, cinnamon, spiced apple, clove, mulled wine and woody aromas are a must for this season.”
Garlands and accessories
“Using Christmas accessories such as bowls of pinecones or winter floral arrangements is a great way to make your room inviting and cosy” says designer Rodriguez. “Whether it be faux foliage or fresh that you have gathered from the garden, this is a wonderful way to bring texture and the outside in to your living area” adds designer Hamilton.
“Having a fireplace is not necessary, as garlands can be placed on a sideboard or in the form of a wreath on a wall. Adding twinkling lights is another idea to create another lovely mood and display.”
“A room should have at least one or two lamps depending on the size of it. During the holiday season, mood lighting is so important and can soften a room, as using the main pendant light in the room can at times be too strong,” explains Jaqueline.
According to designer Rodriguez, another good way to make a home cosy is merging mood lighting to the use of candlelight. This can really help creating that snug feel and atmosphere. It also helps cutting the cost of electricity, which is a plus in our current financial crisis.
Rugs, blankets and cushions
“Rugs are such a focal point in any room” says designer Hamilton. “Rugs are not only for wooden or hard floors, but for carpets too. The shaggier and softer the rugs are, the cosier they’ll make a home feel. They also help to keep the heat in during cold winter afternoons.” says Rodriguez.
“Adding cushions, throws and blankets on your sofas as well as lined heavy curtains also add that cosy feel to a room. Not only do the blankets keep you snug and warm but by adding textures such as knit, sheepskin, chenille and velvet also combine the cosy look and feel.” she adds.
According to designer Hamilton, pastel colours can look cold and harsher in the winter months and one way of warming up a room can be using a warm dramatic paint colour. She recommends colours that are taken from nature in the autumn months, such as rich reds, terracotta and warm mustards, which can all bring a depth and cosiness to a room.
Rodriguez says, “If you have areas in your room that look bare, invest in a statement chair or sofa and create a cosy corner by adding a soft lamp on a small side table. This will help maximise your home space and create a welcoming atmosphere.”
A spokesperson for Pacific Palisades realtors comments: “With the holiday seasons around the corner, people tend to spend most of their time indoors enjoying the warmth and comfort of their homes. Therefore, we want to create an environment where we can relax and feel cosy, away from the harsh weather. Whether it is an old family home or a newly purchased one, decorating your home for the holidays can be a joyful individual or group activity to set the mood for the winter months ahead.”