(BPT) - As days get shorter, temperatures fall and we begin to spend more time indoors, many of us are looking for ways to make our homes more snug and cozy. After all, the winter months can be much easier to withstand when our homes become havens of warmth, calm and comfort. As British poet Edith Sitwell once wrote: 'Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.'
The good news is that creating your own home haven need not be difficult if you understand how to create such environments through smart decor choices. With that in mind, here are five key decor elements that can go a long way toward making your home seem luxuriously warm and inviting - for both residents and guests.
Soft and luxurious textiles
The upholstery, drapes, curtains, linens, bedding and throws you pick can have a major impact on comfort levels. It may be worth spending more to purchase high-end textiles with high thread counts. One hundred percent cotton, bamboo or silk often feels best against the skin, but some luxury brands also use synthetic blends to their advantage.
Rich-looking hardwood floors
Hardwood floors offer unparalleled warmth and beauty to any home regardless of its architecture and design style. And thanks to technology, engineered hardwood flooring now offers the extra protection needed to keep them gorgeous even under duress. LL Flooring's Era Collection line of engineered hardwood flooring, for example, is three times more impact- and scratch-resistant than traditional white oak hardwood flooring. These floors are even water-resistant, built with cutting-edge 5G locking technology to help stand up to winter's toughest effects. What's more, this collection features ultra-wide, ultra-long planks in stylish European oak.
'Engineered hardwood floors are a great home decor choice that offer the timeless appeal of hardwood with modern durability,' says Jen Meska, Director of Merchandising at LL Flooring. 'They're built to withstand changes in temperature and humidity in your home through all four seasons, while delivering the warm, organic benefits of hardwood that can make your home feel cozy and welcoming.'
Peaceful atmospheric lighting
Our natural human circadian rhythms dictate that warm yellowish-white light (as opposed to cooler blue light) helps us relax and unwind. In general, light bulbs marked 'soft white' or 'warm white' will warm up any room. Lighting experts recommend using ceiling and non-symmetric wall lights to create the most comforting settings, but firelight and candlelight can also add a relaxing ambiance.
Plenty of manufacturers create furniture that's stylish but not particularly comfortable. If your pieces fit that description, you may wish to exchange them for styles that allow you to come in from the cold, settle in and fully relax. Perhaps it's time to invest in a new pillow-top mattress, a cushy sectional couch that can seat your entire family around the TV or dining room chairs comfortable enough for game-playing and lingering conversations.
Warm color schemes
Because warm colors such as reds, yellows, oranges and yellow-greens tend to remind us of sun, sand, and heat, they can make us perceive rooms as warmer and cozier. You may wish to boost that phenomenon by painting one or more of your rooms in those colors, or by choosing a neutral, subtly tinted tone in one of those shades. Many decorators suggest balancing the effect of intensely warm colors with accents in cooler hues.
With colder weather on the way, there's much you can do to make your home a haven of comfort for your family. Take steps now to evaluate your home and think about improvements that could make it warmer and more wonderful throughout the winter months.