This week we all asked the question: will spring come early? All eyes (mine included) were on Punxsutawney Phil. The good news is that he didn’t see his shadow! So theoretically, spring will come early this year. The bad news is that through the years, Phil has only been accurate 39% of the time.
Doing a little research on Groundhog’s Day I learned another interesting fact: it is originally based upon a holiday called Candlemas, which marks the 40th day after Christmas. This is essentially the halfway point of winter. If I was an optimist I would be feeling pretty good about things: not only is winter more than halfway over, but Phil didn’t even see his shadow. But when it comes to winter, which I view as the most depressing month of the year, I’m having a hard time seeing the positive. I just want to curl up inside and make myself as comfortable as possible until spring! Since I essentially want to continue hibernating for the next 40 days, I want to make my “cave” as comfortable as possible. To do this I came up with a number of home decorating idea, and thought I’d share them with you.
1. Decorate for Valentine’s Day- some people think this is a “fake holiday manufactured by Hallmark.” I used to think that too. After a bit of research, I discovered it actually has very ancient origins. It is based upon an ancient Roman fertility festival called Lupercalia. After Christianity took hold in Europe, they converted a lot of pagan holidays to Christian ones by changing their names and dedicating them to saints or other important Christian events. Lupercalia was no exception- around 500 AD the Pope dedicated it to St. Valentine and made it into a religious holiday. So it is actually a very old holiday, dedicated to love. What’s warmer and cozier than a room decorated in red?
2. Get creative with lights- part of the problem we get so depressed in winter is the lack of light. The place to start is by drawing back the blinds and letting as much winter sunlight pour into your home. Once you do that, why not brighten up your room with some fairy lights, or even a neon sign? If you really get depressed in winter, you can also purchase special lighting systems that match your interior lighting to the colors of the sun. For example, the lights emit bluer tones during the day and warmer tones at night. This helps your body sleep better and experience less winter depression.
3. Light a fire- if you have a fireplace, use it! Not only will a fire produce more light in your home, it will also generate a great deal of heat and make you literally feel warmer.
4. Scatter your house with soft blankets and throw pillows- choose blankets in soft textures. Not only will they keep you warm, but the softness will provide you with a feeling of comfort as you snuggle in them.
5. Buy flowers and arrange them in beautiful vases- nature is always grounding. Fresh flowers in warm tones bring comfort to the home, and their freshness invokes spring.
6. Decorate with evergreens- again, bringing nature into the home promotes a sense of calm and relaxation. I love this chandelier decorated with pine boughs: a perfect example of my favorite rustic elegance look.
7. Infuse the air with warm scents- scent is one of the most overlooked ways to decorate. Our sense of smell is more closely tied to memory than the rest of our senses. What is more cozy than a memory tied to childhood? Candles emitting scents like vanilla or apple pie can be very inviting. Or you can do my favorite: bake some chocolate chip cookies and let the scent permeate the air!
8. Invest in thicker drapes- In the winter, a lot of cold air comes in straight through windowpanes. Get some thick drapes and close them tight. You’ll be surprised how much warmer they can make a room. My favorite is velvet drapes: they’re thick and the texture is wonderfully luxurious.