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Baby it's cold outside ... ways to warm up your decor

Time to cozy up, cuddle down, and wrap up in warmth to embrace the inevitable -- winter in Chicago. And for that, I’ve got just one word: layers!

You’ve probably got the idea mastered for yourself. Starting with a base layer, perhaps a cuddly sweater over on top, a lush scarf as an accent (and another layer of warmth), a jacket over that, and – just in case – a rain jacket to shield against the threat of water. Practical. Chic. And why should you limit this to your look?

When you’ve finally put away the last vestiges of summer, and décor turns to warmer shades – think pumpkin and gold -- it’s time to layer the house.

One easy place to start is pillows. Swap out summer’s bright cotton pillows with something lush and textured. Channel your favorite sweaters with cabled knits that are wildly popular (and available) now. Everywhere from Pottery Barn to West Elm to Target and TJMaxx have brilliant options – in every budget. From cozy wools to snuggly acrylics made to look like wool, the pillows make a room seasonal and inviting. If you really want to go lux, consider Alicia Adams’ line of alpaca pillows. This lusciously sumptuous line boasts not only pillows, but wraps and throws in a range of hues and textures that may have you never wanting to leave the home. Except perhaps to go to work to be able to afford them.


Which transitions nicely to layer number two: throws. These are another great way to inject color into your room and warmth into your home. Open any design/decorating magazine and you’ll see throws artfully draped about the room. Now, truth be told, the casually perfect look takes some maintenance, but for me a quick pass through the room in the morning leaves it set for the day – until night, when the family gathers round and bundles up. Which is the point, after all. For these think fauxhair (fake mohair) in bright delicious colors. Cynthia Rowley makes a wonderful line available in all kinds of great shades at TJMaxx. Or go classic and creamy with the cabled knit versions at pottery barn. These also come in a Sherpa version, which is about as cuddly as you can get. I use one draped on the back of a fairly simply chair, and tucked in where the seat meets the back, to change the look of that piece entirely.

And why should the family room have all the fun? Don’t leave your sleeping spaces off the list. A simple warm throw – mine is from Anthropologie -- at the foot of the bed adds a splash of color and a dose of warmth, even if it isn’t actually put to use when you sleep!

A last easy fix to change up your palette and make your space feel snug is a rug. Perhaps it’s time to pull up that cotton runner in the hallway, give it a wash, and roll it up for the winter. Replace it with a textured rug in a neutral shade – think Irish sweater – or a vibrant wool (or fake wool). Again, these are accessible at any price point and all sizes. I like to box up summer in a large plastic tote (or two), washed and ready for next April (or May), when I’m ready to usher in the warmth with some cool crisp things.

In the meantime, peppermint cocoa, a roaring fire, and Sunday football call. And my cuddly couch is waiting.

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