Winter Decorating Ideas For The Living Room

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Once the cold weather of winter settles in, with a chilly breeze blowing and frost whitening the grass in the morning, it's time to warm up your living room with a few simple switches in decor to create a snug, welcoming retreat from the blustery weather outside.

Your family will love curling up in a cozy living room to spend time playing games, reading or just enjoying a roaring fireplace. So follow the suggestions here and get ready to enjoy your winter living room.

Use Warm Fabrics

Thick, wooly fabrics, heavy textures and nature-inspired colors bring warmth to your room. Swap out your cotton toss pillow covers for sweater fabric, fleece, heavy wool or flannel covers in neutral tones.

Good color choices include:

  • Winter white
  • Tan
  • Wine
  • Brown
  • Gray or silver
  • Deep green

One or two heavy throw blankets over the back of your couch will be much appreciated while watching TV on chilly nights, and will add to the visual warmth of your living room. Tassels and trim add texture and interest.

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Cover Your Floors and Windows

Not only will a thick rug warm up your floors, it will also provide a comfortable place for children to stretch out and watch TV or play. Look for one large rug to center your seating area, or use two smaller rugs to create one main living area and a smaller satellite.

Warm rug ideas include:

  • Thick wool in a light neutral such as tan or a warm-based gray
  • Faux sheepskin
  • Country-style braided rug in warm tones
  • Animal-print rug layered over a rug in solid-color wool

Your windows let in winter chill, so be sure to cover them with heavier drapes in the winter to cut the cold. Put away the sheer panels and light cotton draperies. Winter is time for heavier fabrics with enough texture to hold the warmth inside.You can even use a blanket attached to a curtain rod with clips for a frugal take on winter window coverings.

Look for deep, nature-inspired tones such as:

  • Eggplant
  • Dark green
  • Pumpkin orange
  • Navy blue
  • Barn red

These colors are warm, but give a hint of drama to your living room, preventing a neutral color scheme from becoming boring.

Center the Room Around Your Fireplace

There's nothing like a roaring fire on a cold winter's night. To take full advantage of your fireplace, rearrange your seating area to make the fireplace the room's focal point.

Make sure you have a heavy fire screen in front of the blaze for safety, and add an attractive set of fireplace tools in brass, black wrought iron or bronze for stylish clean-up of the ashes.

Even if your living room does not have a real fireplace, you can now easily reproduce the experience with an electric unit. With a simple flick of the switch, "flames" crackle and dance while a fan blows heat into your room.

Not only are electric fireplaces a great option for an apartment or small home with no existing fireplace, they are also a safer option if you have toddlers or young children. You can find electric fireplaces in styles ranging from wall-mounted flat boxes to freestanding units that resemble an old-fashioned wood-burning stove.

Whether electric or real, decorate your fireplace mantel for the season.

  • A mirror centered over the mantel is a great way to reflect more light into the room, something often in low supply on gloomy winter days.
  • White jarred candles add to the romantic glow in the evenings, and a pot of winter bulbs such as narcissus, tulips or hyacinth add even more romance.
  • Show off a collection of small architectural elements, your favorite bird collectibles or a wonderful collection of antique glass jars and vases.

Keep your wintertime mantel display simple and elegant. Sticking with a minimal color scheme, such as white with a few touches of silver and tan, or all neutrals with a shot of black is a good way to create an interesting scene that contributes to the warm feel of the room.


With just a few changes of accessories, you can give your living room a fresh new look for the winter. Put away the summery touches of bright colors or pastels, and add wintery charm with metallics, warmer colors and interesting textures.

Some easy switches that will give your room winter appeal include:

  • Swap photos of summer scenes and fun for winter scenes such as snow play, ski trips and winter landscapes.
  • Put away the faux greenery, and set out arrangements of interesting twigs, berries and dried grasses.
  • Vases that held flowers in the spring can be filled with berries or colored glass.
  • Create a fun shadowbox by replacing summer vacation memories with mittens and a knit hat.
  • Replace the holiday garland across your fireplace mantel with a string of patterned knit mittens held on a thick piece of yarn with clothespins.

Don't think winter decorating is limited to the holidays. Once your Christmas decor has been packed away, make the switch to winter accessories that bring light and warmth inside even on the dreariest January day.

Last Updated: February 6, 2013
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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