The Dominion Post
Cosy up your home for winter warmth
Load up on cosy colours, soft, tactile cushions and textural throws, and make your lounge a great place to curl up in. Joanna Davis reports.
These days we all know about hygge, the Danish concept of cosiness. As the days close in, that’s what we want in our living spaces. So we asked the experts how you can create a lounge that draws you in and makes you want to spend time there.
‘‘A great family living room gives the impression of not having to be too precious, that you can drop a crumb or two and drink a glass of red wine without too much worry,’’ Christchurch interior designer Becky Lee says.
She says the layout matters. ‘‘Concentrate on creating a seating zone that invites conversation.’’
Chloe Colden, from Wilson & Dorset, says her company’s luxury sheepskin ‘‘shaggy beanbags’’ and rugs are popular because they encourage lounging. ‘‘Our aim is to promote bringing family and friends together in a warm and inviting space,’’ she says.
A fireplace has the same effect, says Lee. ‘‘So if you are lucky enough to have one of those in your home, position your seating area to include the fireplace especially throughout the cooler months.’’
‘‘Group your sofas and chairs strategically, so they feel connected to each other, with a coffee table within reach so you can enjoy sharing food and drink with your friends and family.’’
Rugs work for larger rooms. ‘‘An area rug that flows underneath the pieces within the seating area can help to create a sense of a more intimate
The living room is the perfect place to showcase conversation pieces such as stacks of favourite books, special artworks, vignettes of small items of importance, and treasured family photos.
zone within the larger space, and rugs can also be used to soften and add warmth to rooms with hard floors,’’ Lee says.
Comfortable-looking sofas and chairs set the tone. ‘‘Furniture that looks hard, too upright or sometimes even tailored pieces can be less inviting than soft, upholstered items that invite you to relax on them.
‘‘You can add layers with plump, feather-filled cushions in tactile fabrics and interesting colours and patterns, and lovely textural throws to add comfort and interest to your upholstered furniture.
‘‘Nothing gives the feeling of comfort and homeliness more than a fireplace, so if you are lucky enough to have one of those in your home, position your seating area to include the fireplace, especially throughout the cooler months.’’
The living room is the perfect place to showcase conversation pieces, Lee says, ‘‘such as stacks of favourite books, special artworks, vignettes of small items of importance, and treasured family photos’’.
Wall colour needn’t be stark
Southland interior designer Kylie Greer, from KG Design, says warm, rich wall colours make a living room feel cosy. She recommends Resene Safe Haven or Resene Rolling Stone.
One or two feature walls in a patterned wallpaper also complete a living area.
And she recommends placing sofas and chairs around a central fire, with lots of textured elements: wool carpet, or rugs, sheepskins and cushions in textured fabrics such as linen, hemp or velvet.
She also recommends plants or dried flowers on
the coffee table ‘‘with a good design book’’, lamps and large artwork.
Remember the practical elements
Litsa Jackson, Lower Hutt interior designer at Inside Storey, says actual warmth matters too.
‘‘I’d focus on structural elements – windows and floors, the backbone of the house. Make sure your windows are double-glazed, or use a good-quality window film, such as Solar Gard.’’
Top-quality, heavy-textured lined curtains are ‘‘absolutely worth spending money on’’, she says, adding there are beautiful patterns available, including golds, terracottas and olive greens.
She recommends dense carpet, with an underlay at least 11.5mm thick.
‘‘Wool carpets are making a big comeback – coming in beautiful loop piles, too.’’
The DIY renovators putting it into practice Lighting is the key to a cosy living space, according to Hannah Kang, who has been renovating the 1890s Thorndon, Wellington, villa she shares with Tim Khoo, their 4-year-old son and Kang’s parents.
Kang, who posts about her progress on Instagram @thereddoor.villa, says the
David Trubridge wooden pendant light in their living room complements the three others in different shapes that hang above their dining area.
She says their wooden construction brings a warm feel.
The room is also lit by downlights, and all are dimmable. Kang says spotlights are also used to make the most of artwork on a feature wall.
Lee agrees that lighting matters.
‘‘Having your main lighting on a dimming circuit and adding lamps to a living room allows you to create ambience and mood using light, and also to light up areas of the room that may naturally be darker and less inviting. Favour a warm light quality when selecting bulbs.’’
The wall colour at Kang’s house is Resene Black White, which has pigments of grey in it for a clean look. To warm it up, they have chosen a mix of different textures in the light fittings, carpet, sheer curtains and soft furnishings.
Some of the colours – dusty pink and dark green, for instance – were chosen to go with the palette in Australian artist Kimmy Hogan’s work which sits on the mantelpiece.
‘‘Our previous house was quite black and white and modern but for this I’ve used soft tones and warm colours.’’