Ambient Lighting Tricks to Warm Up the Whole House

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.

Guest post by Kelsey Roadruck, Houzz

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.

1. Control natural lighting. If you thought only stormy weather could make a breezy beach house look dark and moody, take a second look at the photo above. The lucky homeowner can draw the sheer curtains closed without completely blocking out the sun. They also get a postcard-worthy view of sunrise and sunset every day from their glass doors. The dimmed fixture above casts a warm light in an all-white room while the cloudy landscape photo tones down the views of the beach.

2. Be picky about your paint. Ask a professional about a paint’s light reflectance value (LRV) before you commit to a color. Lighter colors tend to be more reflective than dark shades. Pay attention to sheen level too since glossy finishes are more reflective than matte finishes.

3. Experiment with materials and finishes. When mixed and matched strategically, these seemingly small details can determine the mood of a whole room. This white and grey bathroom would look stark and cold without the brass fixture above. The candles around the tub help warm the room up too.

4. Install a dimmer switch. There’s nothing relaxing about straining your eyes in a room that is too bright or too dark. Use a dimmer in addition to layering your light sources for ultimate light control. Believe it or not, installing a dimmer switch can be a DIY project.

5. Recess your lights. Even if the bulb is not that bright, a central fixture with multiple bulbs and a shiny finish can be overpowering. Recessed lighting conceals the bulbs and therefore can lights feel softer. You could also hide strip lighting underneath cabinets for a nice nightlight on your way to the kitchen or bathroom. Check out this ultra contemporary island that appears to be floating mid-air.

6. Go a different direction. Uplights, like sconces and track lighting, create a soft glow. On the other hand, downlights cast ominous shadows that can really add mystery to a romantic room. Get creative by backlighting wall decor for a play on color and shapes.

7. Take a refresher course in lightbulb basics. The type of bulb is equally important as its fixture. Halogen, fluorescent and LED bulbs have a range of temperatures from warm (or yellow) to cool (or blue) hues. This is a matter of personal preference, but typically yellowish bulbs warm up cool-colored rooms nicely and vice versa. Bluer bulbs also help brighten darker spaces, like basements and windowless bathrooms.

8. Find your favorite shade. Bright colors, playful patterns and funky shapes can bring personality into a stale space. Smoky glass chandeliers intensify intimate vibes in a dining room while big paper lanterns enliven sophisticated home offices. The teal shades on this fixture match the pillows and put an icy sheen on the large dark walnut bookcase.

Note: This ceiling light is reflected in the whimsically shaped mirror that will help spread light further into the room.

9. Try twinkle lights. Not limited to holiday decor, you can use twinkle lights all year round. Drape them over windows for some extra sparkle or fill jars or empty wine bottles with a bundle of battery-operated fairy lights for an illuminated vignette.

10. Open flame. It’s no secret that candles are customary to ambience, but they’re often reserved for after dark. Next time, try starting a fire first thing in the morning and you’ll find that candles are as effective for waking up as they are for winding down. The heat will naturally draw you out of bed and the rising sun will energize you. We’re channeling all the feels from this rustic bedroom. The corner fireplace and candle chandelier are nothing short of mesmerizing.

Romantic Plants for Your Valentine

Surprise your valentine with a thoughtful gift!

Guest post by Katie Kuchta

Valentine’s Day is here, and you could give the traditional gift of roses and candy to your special someone, or you could surprise them with a gift that will stick around past the weekend. Giving a plant or a small container garden as a gift is something which lasts longer than either fresh cut flowers or chocolate. You could even give your beloved the flower of their birth month!

Flowers of the Month

When you present your special one a flower which is the flower of their birth month, it’s an endearing and sentimental way to say, “I love you.” You can order some of these plants from your local florist or garden center.

January: Carnation or Snowdrop
February: Primrose or Violet
March: Daffodil, Narcissus or Jonquil
April: Daisy or Sweet Pea
May: Lily of the Valley
June: Rose
July: Water Lily
August: Gladiolus
September: Aster
October: Marigold
November: Chrysanthemum
December: Narcissus

The Meaning of the Color of a Flower

Another thought to consider is what the color of a flower means. Each color can convey a special meaning for what you want to say on Valentine’s Day. Below are some common flower meanings:

Red: Love
Pink: Sweetness
Yellow: Friendship
Crimson: Respect
White: Purity
Orange: Eternal life
Purple: Modesty

Popular Plants

If you do decide to present your sweetheart with one of these plants, be sure to attach a note explaining what the plant means regarding Valentine’s Day. Here are some plants commonly shared between partners and represent romance:

Orchids

A delicate potted orchid is a perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Orchids come is a multitude of colors such as purple, pink, white, striped and yellow. An orchid conveys beauty, strength, endurance and, most of all, love.

Dwarf Pussy Willow

Since pussy willow trees represent maternity and motherhood, it’s an excellent gift for a mother-to-be or a new mother. If twins are expected, give two plants. A pussy willow tree can remain inside until any danger of frost is gone. Then it can be transplanted outside to represent the birth of the new child or children for years to come.

Lavender

A lavender plant is a luxurious way to show your love. Lavender can be made into sachets, body lotions, and soaps or just planted to enjoy its fragrance. Lavender means purity and feelings of sentiment.

Succulents

If you’d like to give a Valentine’s Day gift to a dear friend, this is an excellent choice. Succulents are native to Texas and most of the south, and have become increasingly popular with urban decor. Being drought tolerant–not only are they easy to maintain and unique looking but they mean endurance and longevity. Isn’t that what friendship is all about?

Match Plants to Your Significant Others Personality

Bold and Beautiful

If your sweetheart is bold and beautiful, you might consider buying a Red Aglaonema. This flower has bold colors and showy leaves for the person who likes to dazzle. It’s streaked with shades of pink and bright red. It’s an easy houseplant to grow and can be grown for years. It can be grown in bright or low light and isn’t fussy about water.

Glamorous and Mysterious

An Anthurium is a gift for your Valentine if they have a taste for the exotic. It has heart-shaped, glossy leaves and tropical-looking flowers. The flowers come in beautiful shades of pink, red, purple, orange, and white. It blooms off and on all year and the flowers last for months if the growing conditions are right. It loves humidity and warmth.

As you can see, you can dare to be different for this Valentine’s Day; your sweetheart will be pleasantly surprised.

 

Katie Kuchta is a marketing guru, gardening and outdoor living expert, and self proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos, follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.

A Beginner’s Guide to Wonderful Wallpaper

Wall coverings serve as a beautiful accent piece in any room and can be as subtle or as fun as you desire. Here’s how to welcome a wonderful wall treatment into your home.

Guest post by Michelle Lee, Houzz

Wallpaper has a longstanding and misunderstood reputation for being obnoxiously bold and a nightmare to apply and remove. However, it has been entirely reinvented with new materials and appropriately renamed as “wall coverings.” You’ll see it popping up again in designs everywhere. Wall coverings serve as a beautiful accent piece in any room and can be as subtle or as fun as you desire. Here’s how to welcome a wonderful wall treatment into your home.

Learn the Basics

Wall coverings come in wide range of patterns, styles and materials. In comparison, paint is uniform and very 2D while wallpaper opens the door to a new dimension to play with. A great first step to deciding if it’s right for you is to browse inspirational home photos and save the ones that appeal to you the most.

Just like paint and fabric, you can order swatches of wallpaper to test on your walls before you commit. Full rolls can cost anywhere between $50 for plain paper versions to $300 for custom made or 3D textured options. It’s highly recommended, even by the most experienced DIYers, to hire an experienced professional for the final installation. And unlike its predecessors, many wall coverings use a safe and easy-to-remove adhesive for painless removal.

Know Your Options

There are thousands of different designs in production for wallpaper, so chances are if you have a particular look in mind, you’ll find it. On the slight chance it doesn’t exist already, you can commission a custom-made pattern or make your own. Traditional paper coverings are still made today, but vinyl wall coverings are also available and are great candidates for high-traffic areas since they’re glossier and can easily be wiped down.

The Williams Morris designs are popular for historic or arts and crafts style homes and floral patterns are a timeless classic. Alternatively, mural-style wallpapers are a great choice for modern art connoisseurs. They can be made to resemble an oversized print or photograph, a landscape or a cityscape of your hometown. Wall paneled paper pays homage to industrial style and can be made to resemble a brick, wood or concrete wall. If you want something more in-the-moment, graphic, geometric and ombre designs are very contemporary.

Textured grasscloth and silk wall coverings have a unique look and bring warmth and a sense of luxury to any space. These coverings are often one uniform color for people wanting a subtler look. Consider the tone and vibe you’re going for and how it looks from different angles, rooms and light when you’re shopping for the perfect fit.

Choose a Location

Wallpaper works great in just about every room of the house, but materials should be thoughtfully chosen. For example, vinyl coverings are a great choice for kitchens and bathroom since they are moisture-resistant and can easily be wiped clean of dirt or food stains. If you want to test treatments in a small area, consider a low-traffic area such as a powder room or laundry room. If you don’t want to line an entire wall from floor-to-ceiling, you can install wallpaper above wainscoting for a half-wall look. Just like paint, wall coverings also make eye-catching accent walls.

Other fun places to try it out include the entry, along the stairwell, on the ceiling or in a nook. Wallpaper disguises wall blemishes, sets spaces apart in an open floor plan and, with the right pattern, enlarges small spaces. Wallpaper can also be applied to items other than walls, such as lining the back of a bookcase or shelving unit, a large cabinet, dresser or armoire for a stunning look.

How to Host Out-of-Town Guests Before Your Wedding

Here are a few ways to prepare your home for your out-of-town guests before your wedding.

,  COLDWELL BANKER LLC

Guest post by Marissa Hermanson

If you have friends or family flying in for your wedding, inviting them to bunk at your house is a thoughtful way to show your thanks and save them the expense of a hotel. Whether you’re hosting your parents or best friends, you want to ensure that your guests are helpful and not a hinderance during your busy wedding weekend. Here are a few ways to prepare your home so your houseguests have a space to retreat to when you’re focused on wedding planning — and a few fun and easy tasks you can delegate to them without feeling too guilty.

Give Them Privacy

During your wedding weekend, the last thing you want to worry about is entertaining your house guests. Set yourself up for success by preparing a comfortable suite where they can get away and relax while you are in the nuptial zone. If you don’t have a guest room, set up an office or finished basement with an air mattress, plenty of cozy blankets and a place to prop up their suitcase and hang up their wedding garments.

 

Provide Amenities

During the final countdown, you want your guests to feel right at home, not like they’re pestering you with special requests. Furnish the guest room with all the accoutrements that your guests will need during their stay, starting with these ideas:

  • Have fresh linens and towels folded nearby.
  • Stock up on plenty of food and beverages.
  • Give them access to a steamer for their formalwear.
  • Print out an itinerary of how the weekend will unfold.
  • Set out movies, books, magazines or games to occupy them during any downtime.

Get Them Out of Your Hair

While your guests will have their own designated area of your home to retreat to, you also many want to get them out of the house during crunch time. Give your guests an extra set of house keys so they can come and go as needed without getting in your way. Schedule a few activities for them, like visits to a nearby museum or brewery so they can get out and about and explore the area, while simultaneously giving you and your beau some breathing room. Emotions will be running high right before the wedding, and you don’t want to stress yourself by feeling like you have a zoo in your house.

 

Put Them to Work

During their stay, your guests may want to lend a hand, so be sure to put them to good use. Here are a few ways to enlist the help of your house guests with your wedding during the final countdown:

  • Give them your car keys and request that they pick up other guests at the airport as they arrive in town.
  • Have them help out with grocery shopping and party setup if you’re planning a bridal shower or farewell brunch at your house.
  • Put their talents to use! Ask them to pen your escort cards, arrange the flowers or hammer together the wedding arbor.
  • Delegate day-of tasks. The morning of the wedding, ask them to drop off decor at the venue and be on call for any last-minute requests that may arise, like paying vendors or picking up dry-cleaning. Or, put them in charge of important reminders, like bringing the wedding rings to the ceremony.

When you’re about to get married, micromanaging your houseguests should be the last thing on your mind. With these tips, you’ll be able to focus on preparing for the wedding and enjoy the company of your family and friends without stress.

 

Marissa Hermanson has written for several lifestyle publications, including The Knot, Southern Living, Cosmopolitan and others. She also provides engagement and wedding planning advice on behalf of Larson Jewelers, an online retailer that carries a wide variety of unique and affordable rings, including titanium wedding bands.

 Spring Selling Checklist

With spring selling season around the corner, it’s time to give your home the boost it needs to meet today’s buyer expectations.

,  COLDWELL BANKER LLC

Guest post by Patti Stern

With the early spring selling season kicking off shortly after the new year, it’s time to give your home the boost it needs to meet today’s buyers’ expectations. Take advantage of being inside during the cold winter months with these quick fixes that will help your property stand out from the competition, boost its value and sell quickly.

Family Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Declutter & Organize

Start tackling one room at a time by packing up anything that will distract buyers from seeing the unique features of your property such as personal collections, family photos, newspapers, books and magazines. Rearrange and remove excessive furniture to simplify and make the room appear larger.

Make Basic Repairs & Updates

Make sure everything is in good working condition. Repair and replace broken light switches, bulbs, ceiling fans, door knobs, leaky faucets, shower heads, windows, thermostats, etc. Update lighting fixtures with contemporary styles and consider replacing older kitchen appliances with sleek, eco-friendly models to capture young buyer interest.

Bedroom Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Refresh and Brighten With Paint

Remove wallpaper and cover bold wall colors with a fresh coat of neutral paint to set the perfect backdrop for simple, updated styling. Give older style kitchen cabinets or wood vanities an instant facelift by covering with bright white or dark espresso paint. Then pair with knobs and drawer handles in brushed nickel or satin brass for an elegant finishing touch.

Fresh Flooring

There is nothing that dates a room more that worn, soiled carpeting. Remove and/or replace carpeting to reveal hardwood flooring underneath to instantly brighten and make the room feel more spacious. There are also many budget-friendly, easy to install options on the market now for replacing damaged flooring such as laminate and vinyl that look and feel just like wood.

Mudroom Remodel by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Add Storage Options

Today’s buyers are looking for plenty of storage. Added storage solutions such as built-in bookshelves, window seats with storage underneath, entry storage units, and extra closet hooks and rods are a practical way to attract immediate buyer attention.

Partner With a Pro

Consult with a professional stager who will have an objective eye and knowledge of what appeals to today’s sophisticated buyers. They will provide a range of solutions for enhancing your home showings by recommending everything from furniture placement to wall color to complementary modern accessories to add clean, welcoming style.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

 

Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Her company has received Houzz 2015, 2016 and 2017 Awards for Customer Service.

Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.  She is a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.”

8 Key Elements for a Productive Workspace

Here are 8 essential elements to integrate into your workspace at home to set the foundation for a great year.

Guest post by Michelle Lee, Houzz

A common New Year’s resolution that almost everyone aims for is to increase productivity in their career, personal craft or both. You’re nearly a month into 2018, so it’s time to get started on your quest for success. Here are eight essential elements to integrate into your workspace to set the foundation for a great year.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Having the right setting for a home office can make or break your progress. Dedicating a full room to work is a great setup, preferably away from the main hustle and bustle of the house to cut down on noise pollution and distractions. For those with smaller spaces, you can integrate a workspace into the bedroom, walk-in closet or basement.

 

Look to the Light

After you find a location for your office, draft your ideal layout. Start by situating the desk in front of an expansive window or door to the outside if possible. Basking in the limited daylight or watching the rain or snowfall outdoors can provide a non-invasive, relaxing break for your eyes when you’re feeling overwhelmed or worn out.

When the sun goes down, make sure you have adequate lighting to reduce eye strain. Desk lamps, floor lamps and wall-mounted sconces all provide great task lighting. Use a blue-tinted bulb, since it has been shown to increase alertness.

 

Customize Your Storage Setup

Another popular resolution is to cut clutter and a home office is a great place to organize first. Install floating shelves above the desk to free up valuable space, use file cabinets to hold papers and keep pens and pencils handy with clear glass jars. If space allows, add a refreshments station nearby to limit the number of times you have to get up and wander about.

 

Switch to a Laptop

Some professions require the use of a large monitor, but if you can do without, go for it. Laptops are great space-saving tools for small offices and pack a punch of power and reliability for whatever you’re working on. They also allow you to move around instead of being kept stationary at your desk and give you the satisfaction of symbolically closing the book at the end of a long workday.

 

Sit Pretty

With typical work days of eight hours, your choice of seating can make a big difference for your well-being. Prioritize comfort over style and invest in a sturdy ergonomic office chair that will last for years to come. Alternatively, add a detachable back or headrest to your existing setup or repurpose a plush armchair to use at your desk instead.

 

Create Visual Interest

Having something to occupy a wandering eye can be beneficial to your productivity. Patterns have been shown to promote creative stimulation at work, so look to wallpaper or artwork for interesting designs. Hang paintings at a comfortable eye level above the desk or mount them on peripheral side walls to reduce possible distractions. For a simplified look, paint an accent wall or the ceiling in your favorite hue.

 

Keep Inspiration Nearby

You’re likely all-too-familiar with battling writer’s block at some point and it’s important to learn how to overcome it in the future. Use an oversized bulletin board to pin inspiring photos, jot down fleeting ideas in a journal and assemble a folder of your previous work to look back on when your bank of ideas is running dry. Seeing what you’ve achieved and done so far can be just the boost you need.

 

Shake up Your Routine

Break yourself out of creative ruts and jumpstart your success by adopting a new hobby this year. If you’re prone to procrastination, set a timer to work less overall but smarter. With less time, you may be motivated to work harder, faster and generally better. You can also try switching your scenery to collaborate with a friend or at a coworking cafe. When you need a break from your screen, take a brisk walk around the block or exercise indoors to give your brain a much-needed reset.

How to Winterize Your Bedroom for Cozy Comfort

Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging.

By Michelle Lee, Houzz

Get ready to cuddle up in bed with your significant other, furry friend or a good book this month. Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging. Stock up on these essentials for the warmest season yet.

Invest in High-Quality Bedding

Your choice of sheets and blankets will really matter in the dead of winter and can dramatically improve your quality of sleep by wrapping you in a warm embrace. Look for ones made of insulating wool, cashmere or flannel to ensure warmth all night long. If your budget allows, splurge on an electric blanket for the room too.

To add even more warmth, shop for a goose down duvet or quilt. This fill provides thermal protection against the cold while also being breathable for ultimate comfort. For those with allergies, cotton and microfiber options are comfortable, budget-friendly alternatives.

Gather a bunch of pillows and throws on top of your bedscape. A stack of fluffy pillows provide back support for reading in bed, while layers of throws make heat control easier. Go for fleece or velvet for an irresistible look and use this opportunity to experiment with color and pattern.

Warm up Your Palette

Swap summer blues and autumn reds for creamy neutrals this winter. White is not only a foolproof choice that pairs well with every color on the spectrum, but it also helps reflect and spread the scarce daylight we have this season. Dip your toes into the timeless Scandinavian style trend by testing out a bright white palette in your bedroom. Spring to life in milky white and soft yellow hues or pair pale blue and gray together for a relaxing look.

Accent a neutral palette with warm wood around the room. As seen in this Montreal bedroom, the paneled ceiling and trim lend a cozy cabin vibe amidst the bleak winter landscape outside. You can replicate the look in smaller doses with a wooden nightstand, stool or headboard.

If you’re willing to venture past your color comfort zone, use a bold hue or two sparingly for a much-needed mood and energy booster. Welcome a bright yellow, pink or teal through accessories like decorative pillows, bedside lamps or overhead artwork.

Light it Up

Since the sun now sets hours earlier than it does on long summer nights, we have to substitute the lost hours of daylight all on our own. Invest in a layered lighting plan to illuminate every dark corner and visually enlarge your space. A great combination is having an overhead fixture, such as a statement chandelier or a cluster of pendants, and adding smaller lights where they’re needed, like lamps or wall sconces. Shop for LED bulbs for energy efficiency or incandescents to mimic the sun’s yellow tint. If you’re still in the holiday spirit, you can also hang string lights above the headboard or along a spare wall for an extra homey feel.

Stash the Nightstand

When you’re too comfy in bed to get up and venture to another cold room, look to your nightstand for one or two of your daily essentials. Choose from a humidifier to combat the dry season or an aromatherapy diffuser to set the mood; succulents or fresh flowers for a welcome burst of nature; a small tea or coffee maker for early mornings; and a journal or good book for inspiration. If your bedside table is looking a little worn out, upgrade it now to one with multiple shelves or drawers for year-round storage.

Say Hello to Mother Nature This Winter

Bring life and light indoors to help combat the winter blues. Here are seven easy ways to get started.

, COLDWELL BANKER LLC

By Michelle Lee, Houzz

Many of our gardens have withered and turned barren for the season. The days are darker and we’ll be cuddling up indoors for the next couple months, but it’s essential to bring life and light indoors to help combat the winter blues. Research has shown that exercising your green thumb this month can help boost your mood and health. Here are seven easy ways to get started.

Add houseplants. Houseplants are incredibly versatile and welcome in every room of the house. Even for the most novice gardener, succulents and cacti are very low-maintenance options to start with. Think about proportion, form and texture when choosing plants to complement your existing style and bring it to life.

Start With These Top 10 Houseplants

Buy freshly cut flowers. If you’re looking for a shorter commitment and a burst of color this winter, look no further than your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Roses, lilies and tulips are beautiful in-season options and add a lovely fragrance indoors. Shop for decorative vases for an even brighter display and don’t forget to water them daily. The entryway, dining table and nightstand are great places to showcase their beauty.

Bring in reclaimed or live-edge wood. Add tree bark indoors for a naturalistic look and rustic vibe. Live-edge wood maintains the natural shape of the tree, which results in one-of-a-kind shelves, tables and even countertops. This New York home takes on a stylish and unique approach by implementing a live-edge sliding barn door. You can also incorporate reclaimed wood in your design with furniture or wall and floor treatments.

How to Bring Reclaimed Wood to the Kitchen

Stock up on firewood. ‘Tis the season of long nights spent cozying up around the fire. Capitalize on your fire feature by keeping wooden logs nearby, stacked up in the corner of a room or stored in baskets. If you have a non-functional fireplace, you can still fill it with firewood to create visual interest.

Paint the walls green. If your walls are in need of a revitalizing refresh, choose Mother Nature’s neutral. We’re not talking about bright lime or neon green here, but rather a soothing shade of pale green or deeper olive hues. These shades exhibit calming properties, making them excellent color candidates for any room in the house. Not sure where to start? A Houzz study shows that green is a popular choice for kitchen walls and backsplashes.

Hang a photograph of nature. You can also welcome the outdoors in with a large-scale photograph of your favorite landscape. Blow up a personal picture from your travels or shop for awe-inspiring professional photos. Customize the mood by choosing a sunny field, a dark and mysterious forest or crashing waves on an ocean shore.

Stylish Ceiling Lights to Illuminate Artwork

Carve out a skylight. Natural light has a plethora of positive effects from improving health to boosting productivity. This tip is especially helpful for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Installing a skylight or solar tube may be an ambitious task but will soon pay off in a wide variety of ways. If your roof doesn’t allow this configuration, expansive wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling windows are great alternatives.


Carve Out a Personal Retreat for Yourself at Home

Having a personal haven at home to unwind and restore your mind, body and soul is key to staying sane and on top of it all.

COLDWELL BANKER LLC

Guest Post by Michelle Lee

The holidays are always a stressful season filled with family and friends and loaded with work and travel obligations. Having a personal haven at home to unwind and restore your mind, body and soul is key to staying sane and on top of it all. Even if you’re renting or moving soon, it’s important to have a space to de-stress on busy days. Make the most of your nooks and crannies at home with these ideas for a rejuvenating retreat.

Set Your Focus and Intentions Upfront

Decide what’s most important to you and what you want to achieve in these personal sessions. It doesn’t have to be an ambitious goal; a simple wish to rest is perfectly valid. Alternatively, you can use this time for spiritual exploration or to work on your craft. Jot down your thoughts in a journal before, during and after the experience, and keep it nearby to reflect on in future sessions.

 

Make it Yours

However nice a personal corner is, it won’t mean much unless you can connect with it on a deeper level. Place special mementos around the area that are extremely significant and meaningful to you. These could be pictures of your loved ones and favorite places, or trinkets you’ve collected throughout your life and travels. Store a couple of your favorite books nearby, light candles, start an aromatherapy diffuser and brew a hot pot of herbal tea to add to the ambience – whatever speaks to your heart.

 

Turn on the Tunes

The right music has the power to immediately energize or stabilize your mood and take you to a place of idyllic tranquility. Before indulging in a personal retreat session, put together a playlist of your personal soundtrack or download a relaxing podcast. Invest in a white noise machine to set the mood if words are too distracting to you.

 

Layer it Up

If the only free space you have left is a spare corner of a room, don’t fret. Turn it into a cozy comfort zone by adding as many pillows and throws as your heart desires. They will immediately warm up any space and serve up a whole lot of style. Winter is the perfect season to snuggle up with lots of layers, especially if your retreat space ends up being your bed, as many are.

 

Practice Meditation or Yoga

Once you’ve set up your space and are all ready to go, you may begin to think “now what?” and you certainly aren’t alone. Having moments of silence are key to self-reflection but can also get boring fast. A wonderful way to combat this is to set up an activity such as meditation or yoga that keeps you focused while also allowing for room to unwind and relax. Lay down a yoga mat and get started with a couple of beginner stretches.

 

Go Outside

If your home is simply too stuffy, step outside for a breath of fresh air. Bonus points if you have a lush garden to retreat to. Hang a hammock or set up camp beneath a shady tree for a place to call your own. Being surrounded by greenery and basking in natural sunlight will immediately elevate your mood and induce relaxation. Furry friends are always welcome too, like the cat seen on this Australian patio.

 

 

If you’re in a highly urbanized neighborhood, you can still reap Mother Nature’s benefits by taking a stroll to a nearby park. If you’d rather keep it all indoors though, pull up a chair near a sunny window and add a few low-maintenance houseplants. Succulents are great for first-timers and come in a variety of eye-catching arrangements. This welcome addition of life amidst the bleak winter landscape will keep you happy and healthy this season.

How to Winterize Your Sunroom

Early winter is the best time to give your sunroom a deep cleaning and set it up for use in the coldest season. Try these tips to turn it into a winter retreat.

 

Guest post by Lea Schneider

If you have a sunroom, take advantage of all the light coming into your house and transform it into a winter-ready haven. After plenty of use from a busy summer and fall, early winter is the best time to give your room a deep cleaning and set it up for use in the coldest season. Try these tips to turn it into a winter retreat.

Clean and Bright

Make the space welcoming with a good scrub. With the windows closed for the winter, you can easily do some deep cleaning without breezes blowing dust around.

  • Start by decluttering. Pack away warm-weather decor like seashells and outdoor toys for use next summer. Relocate any summer and fall plants that are now dormant.
  • Use the top-down cleaning method. Clean ceiling fans and light fixtures with a microfiber duster or your vacuum dust attachment. A window cleaner makes short work of any grime left on glass light covers.
  • Dust the walls with your microfiber duster and polish the windows with window cleaner.
  • Vacuum baseboards, floors, chair cushions, and rugs.

Get Comfortable

In the summer, you may throw yourself on a mesh chaise lounge or Adirondack chair and let the breeze blow through the chair. In the cold months, cushions are a must. Find comfortable cushions for your outdoor furniture that you can snuggle up in.

If you’re in the market for new items, choose furniture that’s cozy enough for winter indoor use but can stand up to moisture and wind during the summer months when you leave the windows open. All-weather wicker, teak, and aluminum are inviting choices.

When it comes to choosing an aesthetic, think of your sunroom as an extension of the decor in your home.

  • Select pieces that are in line with the styles you love in your main living areas so that your design flows from your other rooms into your sunroom.
  • Arrange pieces to create comfortable conversation and easy flow in and out of the space.
  • Find a focal point. In this case, take advantage of the sun streaming through the windows and showcase your view. The combination of snow and big bare trees against the sky is beautiful. Add a rocking chair where you can relax and enjoy the view.

Go for Cozy


The sun should bring in some heat during the day, but you’ll want to include other things that make you feel warmer.

  • Install a space heater or electric fireplace if your sunroom is perpetually chilly.
  • Layer the floor to block the cold. Put down a rug pad followed by an indoor-outdoor rug that you’ll be able to use all year long.
  • Add throw pillows made with outdoor-grade fabric that can be used during winter and summer.
  • Place plush throws over the back of the sofa and chairs so that they are easy to grab.
  • Bring in winter decor. Small potted Norfolk pines, a tray of scented candles, a basket of pine cones, and a stack of books make the room feel welcoming.
  • Finish your space with lighting. Place string lights around the room, then add a table lamp and floor lamp to make it easy to enjoy the space on gloomier days.

Don’t neglect your sunroom during winter. When the days get shorter and colder, take time to transform your home’s bright spaces into a relaxing winter escape.

 

Lea Schneider is a professional organizer who spends her spare time rehabbing her 1950s ranch. Lea writes for The Home Depot and provides advice on topics ranging from organizing your closet to updating your patio with furniture and accessories. Click here to find The Home Depot’s patio furniture options for your sunroom.

This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement