Winter Decoration Ideas For The Whole Home

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The fun isn't over when you take down your holiday decorations. Celebrate the cycle of the seasons by sprucing up your home with minimalist or cozy winter designs.

Winter Decor Themes & Influences

Whether your personal style leans toward modern, country cottage, French provincial or anything else, when it comes to winter-themed decorating, you've got three basic approaches to choose from:

  • Working with the seasonal palette: This design approach involves working with the cool, soft shades of the winter landscape and bright, natural light.
  • Introducing contrasting warmth: This approach lets you come in from the cold to a deeper colored, softly lit, cozy retreat.
  • Scandinavian inspired design: Scandinavian winter decoration combines some elements of both with its own unique touches.

winter decorating ideas fair isle nordic scandinavian natural

No matter which approach feels right to you, here are a few basic tips to help you get started with your winter home transformation:

  • Store other seasonally themed décor out of sight: Look around your house. If you've got posters of surfers in your bedroom, a palm tree throw on your living room couch and a tablecloth with a print of autumn leaves in your dining room, put these things away until next year. Substitute your winter themed tableware, bedding, prints and decorative accents.
  • Bring in furry warmth: Faux fur blankets and throws for your bed, chairs and sofas are comfy, warm, affordable, and just right for snuggling by the fire or the TV on cold, winter nights.
  • Incorporate firelight: The warm, natural light from a fireplace or candles lends a peaceful, cozy feeling to all types of winter decorating.
  • Accent with metal: Depending on your approach, the shine of gold, bronze or silver lights up winter design.
  • Introduce winter scents: put away room sprays and candles with spring, summer or fall scents and substitute warm winter scents such as cinnamon, pine, citrus or cloves.
  • Warm up Your Bed: Add layers of warm, decorative covers and extra pillows. Fleece or flannel sheets and pillowcases look great and feel deliciously warm when you curl up in them. A soft, upholstered headboard completes your winter bed.
  • Cover bare floors: Instead of cold bare floors under your feet, put down some soft, warm area rugs.

 winter decorating ideas fair isle nordic scandinavian natural 

Decorating With The Colors Of Winter

A still, open winter landscape presents a striking scene. If the sparkling sunlit snow, bare, feathery tree branches, silver-blue frozen lakes and brilliant sunny winter skies take your breath away, bring this natural beauty to your indoor home decorating.

With this design approach, you'll work with bright, natural sunlight and the soft shades of winter landscapes such as:

  • Solid and sparkly whites
  • Calm, light and bright blues
  • Pale heather gray
  • Metallic silver, chrome or pewter accents
  • Touches of muted pine or earth brown tones.

Here are some decorating touches and ideas using the winter palette approach:

  • Blue and white Asian or Dutch styled dishes, tea sets and sculptures
  • White candles on silver candlesticks or glowing softly in hurricane candleholders
  • Blue, white or gray fabric for upholstery, tablecloths, bedding and curtains (Consider slipcovers for furniture that clashes with this theme.)
  • Soft, thick and plush fabric textures
  • White faux fur blankets, throws and area rugs
  • Winter-themed nature prints
  • Blue pottery and ceramic items
  • A few bare twigs, painted white and nicely arranged in a blue or gray vase
  • Pale white, blue or gray sheer panels, or open curtains that let in lots of sunlight
  • A fireplace, real or electric, with a white mantle
  • Centerpieces and shelf accents with winter themes such as polar bears, snowy scenes, sleds or ice skates.

To achieve the spare, serene look of this decorating approach, remove all unnecessary clutter from your rooms and select only a few decorative accents to display.

winter dining room decorations white pinecones natural eco minimalist

Creating Cozy, Warm Contrast To Chilly Winter

Escape from the harsh cold and curl up in a cozy retreat by using deep saturated colors, earth tones, metallic gold accents and rich, warm fabrics for walls, windows, furniture and floors. Try some of these colors in your warm winter decorating scheme:

  • Forest green
  • Rich chocolate, ginger and cinnamon browns
  • Deep eggplant
  • Metallic gold, copper or bronze accents
  • Dark sophisticated reds.
  • Fair Isle patterns in white and blue/red/black/green.

Some great ways to create this look include:

  • Gentle low-watt lighting and opaque lampshades
  • A real or electric fireplace with a rich dark wood or stone mantle
  • Lots of homey decorations on your mantle, shelves and accent tables
  • Soft, rich, deeply colored fabrics such as flannels, suede or plush for bedding, tablecloths and upholstery
  • Warm plaids, patchwork quilts and winter themed prints
  • Brown or beige faux fur rugs, throws and blankets
  • Woven baskets with knit liners filled with pinecones or unshelled nuts
  • Live mini evergreen trees and evergreen garlands
  • Wall prints and accents with earthy winter themes such as black bears, cardinals, moose, evergreen trees and deer.
  • Red, orange or golden candles scented with cinnamon, citrus and other warm wintery choices.

Using Scandinavian Design In Your Winter Decorating

The long, dark winters of the Scandinavian region inspired a unique, cheerful decorating style that is both bright and airy as well as cozy. Here are a few ways to bring this happy look to your winter decorating:

  • Natural or distressed wood finishes
  • Fair Isle patterns on blankets, pillows and rugs.
  • Leggy furniture with clean lines
  • Natural fabrics such as cotton or linen with crisp pleats
  • Strong, simple colors and Nordic patterns in blue, red, green, black and white
  • White or light curtains, mirrors and accessories to maximize light
  • Homey, cheerful touches such as fresh flowers or floral prints, pastel candles and patchwork quilts

Whichever approach you take, winter decorating helps you make the most of the season and create a relaxing space for happy winter memories.

Last Updated: November 7, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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