After the holiday lights and glitter are safely packed away for another year, you can sit back and enjoy the order, the quiet, the … Oh, let’s face it, the drab and empty spaces and the dark gloominess in your formerly bright, festive living room isn’t doing much to lighten your mood.

 

Who’s fooling who? January is comedown month, get-back-to-reality month, a month for getting back on track, a time to normalize after the excesses of Christmas and the holidays.

 

But sober mid-January is in no way similar to the crazy season that precedes it, so home decor should look different, right?

 

Here’s how to inject a new look, post-Christmas. First, clean and organize. Then think of your empty, stripped-down home as a new starting point, a blank slate that you can build from. Now, introduce a new sense of interest, warmth and welcome, with added lighting, cozy furnishings and décor suitable for the winter season.

 

• For a dramatic touch and added warmth, add bold throw cushions, preferably in a textured fabric. If you’re handy, pick up some fabric and slipcover those old cushions yourself, or invest in some new ones. Here is an inexpensive way to add sumptuous fabrics or exotic materials to your home.


• Ditto for throw blankets for the sofa. They are ever-so cozy and welcoming, and definitely appreciated during the cold season. Here again, you can introduce luxurious textures and dramatic finishes. It adds interest inexpensively, and can be changed without major financial pain.


• What do you do when you snuggle down in front of the fire? Read magazines or good books? Watch movies? Knit? Play games? Do sudoko or crossword puzzles? Keep a good supply of these items close by when you’re ready to settle in for the evening.


• If your floor or parts of your floor are bare, consider additional throw rugs to pump up the cozy factor.


• If the general mood in your living space is dark and dismal, invest in additional or more intense lighting. And make sure the light quality is welcoming. Most people prefer interior light with yellow tones because it’s much warmer than light with blue or “natural” tones.


• If your space is still dark, use strategically placed mirrors to maximize existing light.


• Update décor items. Check out new or interesting vases, art, candles and candleholders, sculptural items or anything that attracts your interest. It can fit with a winter theme, or not, but it should radiate warmth and welcome, above all. You can borrow, check out a thrift store, or pick up some inexpensive items at your favourite store.


• Pay special attention to the mantle, which is usually a major focus over the holiday season, and can look especially denuded when the stockings and evergreen boughs are removed.


• Consider moving furniture. It can introduce interesting changes.


• Painting is an inexpensive way to update your décor scheme.


• Plants add warmth and life, and the occasional flower bouquet is a treat to the winter-weary eye.



– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design; sputz@arrestingdesign.com.