Cosy up your home for winter


BMETHE A Living Room With A Fireplace.Keywords : 	Couches, Fireplace, Home, House, Living, Room.  Fancy, richly decorated livi

As the weather turns chilly, what better time to create a warm and inviting retreat from the world? From how to choose colours and layer texture to finding the best home buys, we've got everything you need to give your home a cosy makeover.

Choose warm colours
When it comes to selecting colours, red, orange, moss and warm mauves will all add instant warmth to walls and soft furnishings. But for a more dramatic and contemporary look, paint walls in a bold colour, such as dark purple or blue-grey.

"Some people shy away from using dark colours as it can make a room seem smaller, but deep colours can have a wonderful cocoon effect," says interior designer Wendy Newman. "They create a sense of drama, giving small rooms a striking yet snug look, especially if teamed with jewel-toned accessories."

White and pale blue walls make a room look chilly, especially in winter. If you prefer a lighter colour scheme, paint walls in a warm cream and use richer-toned accessories, layering different textures to add depth and warmth. For example, you might opt for velvet taupe curtains, a jumbo-cord sofa and team with woollen cushions and a thick-pile rug.

"To keep out the cold, use heavy fabrics and always opt for full-length curtains. Laying up window treatments – by hanging curtains over a co-ordinating blind – creates a snug look. And don't forget the little touches. Tassels on curtain tie-backs and pompom trims all help to build a sumptuous feel," says Wendy.

By layering pattern and texture, you can cosy up even the most neutral scheme. Just remember to introduce contrasting accessories, such as silver candlesticks, a gilt-framed mirror or burnished metal vases to give the look some edge and provide a little sparkle.

Embrace the tartan trend
Classic tartan print never goes out of fashion and will add instant warmth. Drape a tartan throw over a deep armchair, add a pile of cushions to a sofa or opt for a rug.

This tartan red duvet cover will add a touch of festive drama to your bedroom, while these heavy-weight curtains in duck egg and cream will add cosiness and keep out drafts. For a neutral room scheme, this tartan beige rug is ideal.

Not keen on tartan? A paisley print in warm colours will work just as well. Drape over a side table to transform an old piece of furniture or throw over your favourite chair. This antique-style paisley wool throw (pictured above) is one of the best we've found for the money.

Create a welcome glow
Lighting has a major impact on a room, making it feel cosy and inviting or bright and spacious, yet most people don't think about lighting while decorating a room.

"Pendant lights can make a room feel cold and uninviting. To create warm pools of light, try using several low-level table lamps or position a standing lamp next to an armchair. If you have a favourite painting, ornament or even a pot plant, use accent lighting to spotlight it," says Wendy.

This traditionally styled table lamp with tartan shade is a great buy and also comes as a standing lamp. A roaring fire makes a great focal point but if you don't have a chimney, you can still get the look with a wall-mounted electric fire. Alternatively, create the feel of a fireplace by grouping candles on a chunky wooden shelf.

Highland trend
Tap into this season's woodland trend by using natural textures, such as wooden candlesticks, rustic woven baskets and jute rugs. For a wild, Highland look, try this patchwork stag cushion and wall-mounted stag's head.

Finally, there's nothing like an injection of bright colour to cheer up a room and your mood.
Colourful sprigs of red berries will breathe life into a winter scheme. If you're not able to get into woodland to pick your own, a vase of artificial berries can look almost as good. It's worth paying a little more for a realistic look, we love these artificial berry stems from OKA.

With the right colours, texture and accessories, your house will soon be a warm and inviting retreat.

Need more ideas? Be inspired by these home makeovers in our how-to videos....

Natalie Morales' Living Room Makeover