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Contemporary Holiday Decorations design by Other Metro Bedding And Bath Garnet Hill

This morning I awoke to a winter wonderland outside my window. As I sat down with my hot cocoa and the great view, I enjoyed the warmth of a throw blanket tucked across my legs and a warm shawl wrapped over my shoulders. When that wasn’t enough to kill the chill, I turned up the thermostat and smiled at the feeling of warm air flowing from every direction.

Much of this warmth is thanks to careful decorating. Surprised? Until my frosty first winter in Pennsylvania, I didn’t realize just how much of my winter decorating went into creating both style and comfort at a moment’s notice.

When the temperatures start to drop, it’s time to pull coats out of the closet and shake out the quilts. But staying warm is not just about bundling up — it’s also about the cozy, comfortable way your home feels at a time when the outside world is freezing under a layer of snow and ice. Here are a few ideas to make your home the most welcoming place you can imagine during the harsh winter.

Stay warm no matter where you are

A mainstay of winter decorating are gorgeous quilts. Throw them over the back of couches to dramatically change the look of your living room furniture. Hang a particularly lovely quilt on the wall with a wooden hanger made of smooth pine or cedar. Use a quilt as a tablecloth for your dining room table.

The bonus about quilts all over the house is that when you need one, they are always within reach. For instance, that quilt over the back of the couch can make a perfect cuddly coverup during that movie marathon on the weekends.

Warm your tummies, too

Now is the time to decorate your kitchen in a way that invites friends and family to indulge. Pull those thick pottery mugs out of their hiding spaces and put them on under-cabinet hooks for a winter display. Have plenty of homemade hot cocoa mix on hand for those moments when you just have to get something warm into your belly.

Don’t forget the cookies and other treats — now is the time to have a little nip of lemon bread with your hot tea, or a piece of brown sugar coffee cake with your morning latte. Put those treats on winter-themed trays for an extra-special serving.

Make it a welcoming refuge

Coming inside from the cold can be both literal and figurative. Decorate your home with an eye toward warm colors, such as deep oranges and muted yellows. Put up heavy draperies that can be pulled back to reveal the snow-covered vista outside, but can be closed to help keep in the precious heat.

Put throw rugs down on your hardwood floors. Choose a few good books to place on your living room table, as you might want to spend some lazy Saturdays reading through them instead of braving the snow. Big fluffy pillows in muted earth tones can complete the homey look.

Brighten things up

When the world outside seems too dreary, brighten things up with fresh flowers. Go for something that is both wintery and handsome, such as an amaryllis or paperwhites — they are specifically intended to bloom during the coldest days. Blend white roses with green branches of pine for a fragrant burst of color that says “spring is just around the corner.”

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.