Winter brings with it the shortest day of the year, and although the days start to get incrementally longer, it still gets dark fairly early. Many people hunker down and nest during the season. It’s a lot easier to do that, however, when a home is inviting. Your home should be welcoming not just to guests, but to you and anyone else living there. Read on for some ideas on ways to make your space even more inviting this winter.
Creating an inviting space starts with the entryway, if not outside. Start by placing a personalized doormat right outside your front door. The mat is there for you to scrape your shoes on, which helps keep you from tracking mud and snow inside. Keep a second mat just inside the door so that if your shoes are wet, you won’t track water all over the house. As a result, you won’t end up with an uninviting mess setting the tone of your space.
Also, keep a pair of slippers by the door to change into as a reminder that it’s time to put aside the day’s cares and relax in the comfort of your own home. Finally, if the area is large enough, place an entryway table or at least a hook or two so you always know where your keys are, which will reduce stress.
Barren floors and walls make a space seem impersonal. Use area rugs to add warmth (literally; cold floors are not inviting!) and express your personality. From classic Persian patterns to dramatic abstract designs, area rugs, which come in an array of shapes and sizes, can break up a room to make spaces seem cozier. Hanging art on the walls—whether paintings, prints, lithographs, collages, or the like—also breaks up the large blank spaces and will make your home more inviting.
Pay attention to the lighting, as well. All white indoor lightbulbs are not the same; in fact, tones range from warm to cool. Warmer white lights will make a space more inviting. Even if your ceiling lights are, say, cool LED lights, you can place lamps strategically around a space; using lamps that have translucent fabric or paper shades that diffuse lights will set a cozy mood. Finally, ensure your home is clean and free of clutter. Nothing is less inviting than dirt and mess. Put things not in use away and out of sight; use decorative storage baskets to organize items you use frequently but don’t necessarily want in view all the time.
Whatever you call it, the room where you spend time on the couch reading, watching television, or talking with other family members or friends should be inviting. The first step is to ensure seating is comfortable and generously sized; no one wants to feel squeezed into a seat. Add a few throw pillows to lean on, as well as some throw blankets. To keep the room from getting too cluttered, keep unused throws neatly folded over the edge of your couch or even tucked away someplace nearby.
Consider adding a rocking chair to the room. Rocking chairs don’t just offer inviting seating; they practically shout, “Come here and use me!” There’s something about gently rocking back and forth—maybe with a mug of some hot beverage in hand or snuggled up with a small child or pet (not at the same time, though!)—that just melts stress away.
The kitchen is an inviting spot almost on its own by what goes on there. Whether you cook alone or with help from family members, the kitchen is a natural gathering spot for other people while the cook is busy. Keep cushioned mats by the stove and sink, so you’re comfortable when standing, first while you’re actually cooking and then while you’re busy washing pots afterward. Try hooking ceramic mugs underneath a counter or on a mug rack to encourage people to grab a warm beverage and hang out. Set a bowl of seasonal fruit on the table so the kids can grab a snack.
It takes minimal effort to make a bathroom inviting, and you won’t even need that fuzzy toilet seat cover you saw in the store recently. A dish of pretty hand soaps, a few clean hand towels, and some room spray will let individuals know they are welcome to use the facilities available. Want to make the bathroom even more welcoming? Add a narrow floor rack with a few magazines so people can relax enough to do what is necessary.
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary; as such, it should be as inviting as possible. Make yourself feel snug by treating yourself to flannel sheets in your favorite color or pattern. The soft fabric will make you feel as swaddled as a baby. Add a down comforter for extra warmth. Pull the look together with a few coordinating decorative bed pillows. To help you relax, set a dish with dried lavender on your dresser or nightstand.
You can add a number of additional touches to create an inviting space. Scatter groups of photographs throughout your home. Add some candles in relaxing scents, such as apple pie or vanilla, and save the invigorating scents for your home office. Finally, make sure you have potted plants around. Plants add oxygen and humidity to your home’s air, which helps keep you comfortable. Plus, the greenery can be cheering, especially during those sometimes-depressing winter days.
Making your space into someplace welcoming that is a reflection of you will make it inviting during winter not only to your guests but to you, yourself.