EDITION: October - December 2021

Staying Warm and Cosy in Winter

By Sally Wristen
It’s the end of another long hot summer, and while the weather is a bit cooler, there are still many warm and sunny days to come. This is a wonderful season to continue enjoying the outdoor areas of our homes for meals and relaxation, but in the coming months the weather will be less reliable. So it’s the perfect time to get organised for the cooler days that are on the horizon. If you are fortunate enough to have a porch or covered terrace you can relax a while longer. But if your home has exterior furniture that is exposed to the elements, it’s time to begin to packing away the cushions, throws, parasols and paraphernalia.

First take a good look at what you have - has it been weathered by dust storms and/or harsh sunlight? Is it worthy of storing or are you better off to buy new cushions, etc., next year? After checking everything out, separate the things that you think will be good enough to keep once they are washed or cleaned. Store them carefully in a dry, weatherproof place, and you’ll be so glad to have them sparkling clean when you take them out next spring. For the items that you feel are not worth saving, but are still not bad, giving them to charity at the Caritas bins is a good option. For the things that are beyond saving, I often pass old cushions down to my pets as something comfy placed in a spare basket or added to their beds for extra warmth.

After the exteriors are sorted you will want to start thinking of how make the interior of your home more comfortable for winter. The minimal look with lots of white is perfect for that summer feeling, but as cooler weather approaches it’s all about creating a warm cosy ambiance. That begins with your choices of colours. If you have a white interior you can mute the starkness with softer lighting by using light bulbs with a different tone or installing a dimmer. Choosing a natural and neutral colour palette always works, but if you want to add more variety then be sure to go for warm earth tones. Copper, deep reds and rich greens are all lovely for winter warmth.

Blending a mixture of textures also adds to the ambiance with things like chunky knitted throws, faux fur and velvets. In fact, any fabrics that are soft to the touch will help to create the desired feeling of cosiness. You can also be adventurous by combining layers of comfortable throws, floor coverings or cushions. Adding a deep pile rug under your coffee table or at your bedside is another nice touch that always works. Candles are a fabulous addition, especially if they are scented with beautiful fragrances like cinnamon and vanilla. If you don’t have a fireplace then the flames of candles can elicit some of that heart warming feeling.

If you do have a fireplace, but don’t like the work of making the fire daily and cleaning ashes, there are more convenient options. Fireplace inserts that come in various styles and sizes can be purchased for a few hundred euros. They burn a combustible liquid and, though not a source of heat, they do add that special fireside feel. Of course we will be blessed with more than our fair share of fabulous sunny days right through Christmas and into next year. But invariably the nights will feel a bit wintery, so be ready to pack away the traces of summer, and snuggle up to enjoy a wonderful winter here on the island.