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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Layered Look -- A perspective on warmth

Remember the little kid in “A Christmas Story” who wore so many layers of clothing that when he fell over in the snow, he couldn’t get back up? While too many clothes can create an immobilizing bulk, dressing in layers can be an effective buffer against the elements of nature. Fashion-istas suggest a maximum of three layers for indoor-wear. These layers can include extra shirts, skirts over pants, sweaters, chunky knits, socks, leggings, tights, wool scarves and vests. Outdoor wear can add even more layers-- boots, gloves, hats, capes and of course, the winter coat.

Fashion experts advise that following a few simple layering techniques can make the difference between creating a personal style, and just adding weight, messiness and bulk. Their ideas include mixing fabrics, staggering the necklines depths, using a variety of sleeve lengths, and using neutral color tones.

Layering techniques can also be used to “dress” homes for the winter months. Well chosen, well placed “decorating layers” not only add physical and visual warmth to the decor, but may afford the opportunity to conserve energy and money by keeping the thermostat turned down a notch or two.

Here are some suggestions on how to add layers of warmth and coziness to your home décor during the cold winter months.

Add Nubby Textures

Pile on the rugs! On top of the hardwood floors, on top of tile and even on top of the carpet! Not only do rugs and carpet runners help to counteract the coldness of wood and tile floors, but they also can add color, texture and/or pattern to the room. Choose a neutral color, or a multicolored area rug that has within its palette, the color of the existing carpet.

Add some Snuggly Softness

Chenille or fleece throws create an invitation to snuggle into them. When not in use, create a casual inviting look by tossing the throw over the corner of the sofa or chair. Baskets of blankets are always welcome in the winter – as are over-sized soft-down mix or faux-fur pillows. Fleece sheets are a must in the bedroom. If you have been using flannel sheets, you will be amazed at the wonderful warm softness found in fleece.

Cozy up with Warm Colors

Season your décor with spicy “fall colors” as accents -- red, burgundy, gold mixed with shades of earth tones. All colors on the “warm side of the color wheel” visually heat up the space. Because brown is compiled from a mixture of all the warm hues, it always adds warmth.

· Add Décor that suggests

“Fun Indoor Activities”

Accessorize with books – on shelves, on tables, in short stacks under decorative items. Placing reading lamps on the end tables will create a circle of warmth and light for enjoying many a good book. Add a few puzzles to your bookcase! Create “conversation areas” by placing a couple of chairs near an accent table.

· Light your Candles!

Light your Fire!

Use an abundance of candles or wax melts to enjoy the fragrance, light and the ambiance they create. Candles add mood and character while making the home feel cozy. This is true even if the candles are the “flameless” variety -- lit with batteries! Make the fireplace the room’s focal point, by arranging the seating facing it. Update your mantel arrangement, and the space above it with a winter arrangement. A basket placed on the hearth brimming with knitting projects, pine cones or kindling has a warming effect even when the fire isn’t burning.

Just as dressing in layers can create a great fashion look, decorating in layers can too. Turn your thermostat down and add some textured layers to make your home feel fashionable and cozy.

See if you don’t notice the difference. Then, if all else fails, wrap yourself up in layers of extra shirts, chunky knits, wool scarves, vests, boots, gloves, hats, socks, leggings, tights and sweaters …. Curl up under a blanket on your sofa and drink hot chocolate!

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