Tuesday, February 5, 2013

10 Ways to Brighten and Cozy Up Your Space During Winter

In the midst of winter, you may find yourself desiring two things in your apartment.  First, it's bitter cold and often bleak outside.  With gray skies, falling snow, and winter winds, you probably want a warm and cozy space to come home to after work or class.  Second, spring seems just around the corner yet so far away.  As we get antsy for the April showers and May flowers, it doesn't hurt to bring some of those springtime themes into a decor scheme.  Cozying up and brightening your space at the same isn't as difficult as it sounds.  We've rounded up ten ways to make your space comfy and vibrant.  Use all the steps or just a few.  Even a little change can make a bit difference in this last stretch of dreary winter!  (image via: above)

1. Bring out the blankets!

Blankets not only wrap warmth and comfort around your body, but also add texture, color, warmth, and coziness to a room.  Pile extra blankets on your bed to give your comforter a new look.  Mix and match patterns and textures for variety.  Have additional blankets folded neatly in a basket nearby the couch in the living room so that they're close at hands for guests.  (images via: left, center, right)

2. Rearrange furniture.

In case you didn't rearrange your furniture for a fresh perspective in the new year, now's the perfect time to switch it all around.  Try bringing chairs and sofas in closer to each other for a more intimate, cozier setting.  Experiment with angling chairs rather than pushing them flush up against the wall.  Bring in floor cushions and poofs for extra seating.  Swap out the coffee table for a few vintage suitcases stacked on top of each other. (images via: left, center, right)

3. Set the mood with music.

Love having noise versus silence?  Make it work for you.  Instead of having the tv constantly on, play some background music.  Turn on the radio, switch your tv channel to a music channel, try a new internet radio station, or dig out your old (or your parents' old) turntable for the pleasant crackle and warm sound of vinyl. (images via: left, center, right)

4. Switch out the artwork.

Artwork is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most fun ways to change the look of your space.  Pick something with warm colors (red, orange, gold) to make your room more cozy.  Opt for a big piece of art if you're looking to make a statement.  Like a variety?  Hang an eclectic collection of prints on your wall gallery-style.  Use hangers rather than frames if you like the flexibility of being able to switch up the look often. (images via: leftcenterright)

5. Pump up color with painted furniture.

Color makes a big difference in a space, but often in rentals painting is prohibited in the lease.  If you can't paint the walls, introduce a big dose of color with a piece of painted furniture.  An antique dresser painted bright yellow, a cupboard painted vibrant orange, or a vintage writing desk painted bold turquoise will add a splash of cheerful color in any room.  And if you ever want to change the color scheme, it is as easy as a little sanding, priming, and spray painting.  (images via: left, center, right)

6. Swap those curtains for these.

It's unpleasant to stare out your windows at a bleak winter's day, but the view isn't so bad when flanked by pretty curtains on either side.  Since springtime isn't quite here, shy away from sheers that may feel too light and airy.  Instead, spring for color and pattern.  Solid yellow drapes add instant cheer. Curtains featuring a graphic print add visual interest.  Try mixing solid draperies with patterned ones, such as a lovely floral.  (images via: left, center, right)

7. Lay it all down... with a rug!

Throwing down a rug is an easy step that makes a big impact!  Hardwood or carpet, a rug brings color and pattern to your floor when you're not allowed to paint or wallpaper the walls.  If you have hardwood or laminate, it also warms up the floor beneath your feet.  A rug with a great pattern and colors does all the hard decorating work for you.  You can keep everything else in the room simple and let the rug take center stage. Or you can play off the rug's qualities to introduce additional colors and patterns into a space.  (images via: left, center, right)

8. Change up the fragrance.

As with music, switching the fragrance in a room can alter the space's mood and atmosphere.  You probably outdid yourself with sugary, baked-goods fragrances reminiscent of the holidays.  And it may be too early (and icy) for the juicy scents of summer.  Pick floral and citrus scents that are warm and rich enough for winter with enough sweet notes of soon-to-come spring. Reed diffusers and candle warmers are ideal for apartment settings since they don't pose the fire hazard that open-flame candles do... or break your leasing terms.  (images via: left, center, right)

9. Bake some goodies.

Or just forget the reed diffusers and candle warmers altogether.  Sometimes the best smells are the ones that come right out of the oven.  Leave the pies and pumpkin bars back in November and December.  Whip up tasty desserts like mini donuts, raspberry cheesecake, and lemon cake.  These sweet treats will fill your apartment with delicious fragrance... and your belly with satisfaction.  (recipes here: left, center, right)

10. Turn on the fireplace.

Even though you may be longing for the day that you can leave the winter coat at home, these winter days are mighty cold.  If you have a fireplace, use it! No fireplace?  Check your television for an ambient fireplace station or your tablet/i-pad for a fireplace app.  Now grab a good book, turn up the flame, and get cozy.(images via: left, center, right)

Now tell us! What's your favorite way to brighten up or cozy up your apartment during wintertime?  And which of these ways will you be changing up your space as spring nears?  

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