Warm Your Home with Color
Design Tips to Spruce up Your Living Space during the Long, Drab Days of Winter

Baby, it’s cold—and gray—outside! But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a dreary winter indoors. Instead, it’s the perfect time to add color and plant life that will make your home extra cozy. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and read on for expert insight and tips on how you can add decorative elements to brighten your home and your mood this season.

Creative, unexpected pops of color

“The easiest way to freshen up the aesthetic of your home is by starting with neutral foundations and building on them with pops of seasonal color,” says Lydia Patton O’Connor, marketing manager at Flowers by Jerry. She says neutral warm tones, such as warm white, tan and taupe, and cool tones, such as bright white, soft gray and charcoal, are best used on semi-permanent furniture pieces like couches, chairs, cabinets and tables. “Incorporating color becomes a fun seasonal activity when layering on top of neutral staples. And while minimalistic neutrals will always reign classic in the world of home decor, colorful tones and unexpected combinations shouldn’t be feared.”

Karen Vangsness Allen, ASID, of Design Studio B, says creative use of color may be presented on a painted ceiling or through an unexpected shade, such as forest green, on millwork. She suggests considering what exactly you want to build your palette around. “For me, selecting the paint color is always the last step,” she says. “There’s an infinite number of paint colors but a limited number of carpets and fabrics. The most creative and successful schemes are based around a key influence, and it could be a piece of art, pillow or inspirational image.”

Living colors

“Nature is at the top of my list for color inspiration,” states Vangsness Allen. “Especially in the Midwest, where we are blessed with four seasons and there are so many color palettes to be discovered. Color adds life and character to any space.”


Houseplants are a hot design trend and a natural option for adding color to a room. Ben Vaughn, communications manager at Sargent’s Gardens, says unique variegation (multiple zones of coloration on a single leaf) adds depth and texture to foliage and can highlight a plant as the focal point. He says, “Houseplants are a great way to bring color into your home.”

“Floral arrangements—seasonal fresh, faux and custom—can be designed in such a wide range of styles and colors,” adds Patton O’Connor. “Incorporating them into your decor is an easy way to freshen up space.”

Six easy ways to add color to your home

“I switch up my seasonal decor a bit early,” says Patton O’Connor, who admittedly gets her pastel-colored decor out right after the winter holidays, in anticipation of spring. Doing so allows her to enjoy the best of each season for a longer period of time. “This becomes especially helpful when the gray winter drags on into February,” she says. “It’s like bringing the sunshine indoors.” Vaughn reminds us that you can also add color outside too. “A porch provides an opportunity to add color to the front of your home and set the tone for what’s inside,” he says.

Whether you want to beat the winter blues by enhancing your home with splashes of color as the seasons change—or on your own timeline—find inspiration from these decorating ideas:

  1. Add “wow” to walls. It’s easy to refresh a room by painting a wall a new color or a different tone in an existing color family. Add a fresh shade to a large wall that will get noticed or to a small niche for a more subtle change. Patterned and textured wallcoverings can be applied to the backside of open cabinets and shelves to incorporate more colors and enliven the space.
  2. Choose cheery pillows and throws. Toss in a collection of bright pillows and throw blankets to complement neutral furnishings. Consider solid and patterned fabrics and designs—or a combination—for a stunning display of color. These items are easy to store during the off-season, and they can be replaced when you find new styles to enjoy.
  3. Brighten the bedding. Make a colorful statement with vibrant bedding. Capture relaxing warm or cool tones to develop a color scheme that brings flair to the space and turns the bed into a focal point. Neutral walls will serve as the perfect backdrop for bedding pieces that can be mixed and matched for a fun twist, while you establish a collection of the colors you love
  4. Warm it up with an area rug. Rugs come in many different colors and sizes, and they will add warmth, texture and comfort to a room. They’re versatile and can be used with any style of decor. Try an area rug that includes a couple of the room’s accent colors or add a bold selection with a modern feel. Rugs can be layered on carpet or hardwood flooring, and it’s easy to change them every couple of years for an updated look.
  5. Bring in natural shades with greenery. Choose plants that will thrive in the environment—they work well with any decor! An easy-care green plant can be placed on a coffee table or a bookshelf in a bright-colored or neutral pot. If lighting isn’t adequate, consider a faux plant or a custom floral piece, which can be personalized to go with your decor.
  6. Incorporate artwork. Test your creativity by displaying artwork in different hues, shapes and sizes—in spaces both large and small. Pieces can be grouped together for an impactful look or presented individually, especially in areas that have limited space but need a color refresh, such as the entryway.


Ultimately, however you choose to warm your home and make it extra cozy, be sure to incorporate colors that will make you happy, no matter what the season.

About Author

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Trish is a Rochester-area freelance writer who is inspired by and honored to share the stories of courageous, strong and amazing women in and around the Rochester community.

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