Expert advice from interior designer and TV presenter Julia Kendell on making your living room more inviting.
1. KEEP THE HEAT IN
It’s crucial to make sure your living room is well insulated for the winter months. Start with the main culprit for heat loss – the windows. If they’re ill-fitting and draughty, it’s worth replacing them with double- or triple-glazed units to help retain the heat, keep draughts at bay and maintain condensation-free sills. Older properties with exposed floorboards can be particularly draughty from below. Filling the gaps with flexible filler can help, or covering the floor with a room-sized rug will instantly deal with the problem. Individual thermostats on radiators are useful so you can adjust each room’s temperature when needed and minimise fuel costs. For more advice and information about keeping your house warm, visit the Energy Saving Trust.
2. CREATE A BOLD PALETTE
Using rich and deep paint colours is an effective way to give an impression of warmth. Dark charcoal and navy both look fantastic on walls and work well together, especially when teamed with furnishings in contrasting colours, such as berry shades and mustard yellow. Wooden furniture is also excellent in combination with a dark palette, and both the current mid-century modern and industrial trends look great teamed with rich shades.
3. CAST A GLOW
With fewer daylight hours in winter, it’s important to ensure your living room is well lit. Aim for soft background lighting, preferably with ceiling fittings that are dimmable, and a task light by the sofa for reading. A woodburning stove will add a warm glow and candlelight creates a cosy atmosphere. Enhance the effect with carefully positioned mirrors and reflective surfaces.
4. LAYER TEXTURES
There’s nothing quite as inviting on a chilly evening as soft, warm textures to sink into and snuggle up in. Go for a mix of throws and cushions in chunky knit, faux-fur and felted fabrics for the ultimate in cosiness. You can also add in wool and silk for a fabulously indulgent and luxurious effect. The key is in the layering.
5. ADAPT THE ROOM FOR THE SEASONS
Give some thought to year-round options for the space. You could replace lightweight summer curtains with heavyweight drapes in winter. Or add lining such as thermal fleece fabric to lightweight curtains as the season changes. Rather than altering the whole scheme, just add a thicker rug and more blankets. A coffee table with a drawer is perfect for keeping blankets handy all year round.
6. ADD SOME SHINE
Copper and brass are strong interiors trends for this season and work especially well with grey and navy walls. But you can introduce a bit of sparkle with most colour schemes if you go for small highlights such as scatter cushions, tealight holders and picture frames. If you want to go further, opt for a wallpaper or curtain fabric with a metallic element in the design. Another great use of metallics is on the inside of lampshades as it will cast a warm glow to the surroundings, and even when not lit will still add interest and opulence to the scheme.