Not many words are more evocative, especially in these chilly, snow-swept Winter months than those associated with summer. ‘Warmth’. Say it out loud so you know how it feels. We don’t know about you, but suddenly our world is soaked in a hazy golden hue, our heating bills reduced through a simple utterance. Verbal visualisation at its finest, right there.
But today we’re not talking about tangible temperature. Instead, we’re after that elusive, hard to define and even harder to get right, warm ambience around the home. If that’s something you’re after – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – then read on; our 5 IDEAL ways to add warmth to your home decor.
A WOODEN WAY FORWARD
Wood, preferably unfinished and lightly rustic, is a great way to bring warmth to the home. We’re not suggesting you grow a tree right through the floorboards of your living room, but some small, subtle touches can bring a cozy feel to urban and rural pads alike. Modern interior design places a lot of emphasis on bringing the outside in, and wood is a great way to do this. You can add panelling to cabinets, fashion ledges and shelves from recovered wood, even construct a headboard for your bed from an old barn door. Wooden picture frames and table mats add even finer detail. The key is to be creative and harness the power of upcycling where possible.
Have you noticed that the houses which feel really, truly cosy aren’t always in perfect order? Furniture may not be aligned, items certainly aren’t placed at right angles, and scant regard for symmetry is obvious. This ‘lived in’ feel creates real warmth, and can be enhanced with a few interior design touches. Areas of exposed brickwork, for instance, bring that rugged look we’re extolling in droves. Ditto random, mismatched furniture scored from antique dealers.
Be warned. While cobbling anything that carries a single digit price tag at the jumble sale may serendipitously result in a synergetic style, it is, frankly, unlikely. Better to have thematic thread running through your design ideas – such as matching lines or motifs, giving a little guidance to your thrifty foraging.
FIRE IT UP
Of course, we all know the benefits that a roaring fire can bring to the temperature of your house, taking it from two-dog to toasty at the flick of a match. But we’re here to talk about atmosphere and ambience. And it’s that flickering, fervent flame that adds warmth to the room by throwing shadows, and acting as a point of intrigue; the part of the room where all attention gathers. To really capture your guests’ gaze, framing your fireplace with an oak fire surround will further draw people in. Truly, it’s a multisensory stimulator; the crackle of trapped steam and vapour is so cosy and reassuring, in fact, that its soundtrack has apparently been marketed.
TIME FOR THE TACTILE
The idea of warmth is inextricably linked with touch. It’s vital, then, to add as much texture as you can to your space. This is best achieved with throws, rugs and extra cushions and pillows, but also by a broad range of materials, like leather, knit and satin.
COLOUR SCHEME CAUTION
The temptation when trying to warm up the domestic space is to throw as much yellow, orange and red paint at the walls as you can and pray this sunkissed affect sticks. In reality, it’s advisable to exercise caution with the colourscape; sure, channel golden hues, but in a restrained fashion perhaps on one wall of a room matched with more muted tones making up the other three quarters. In the bedroom, especially, bright colours can be overwhelming. Colours best described as calming are far more appropriate.