It’s cold out there. Now’s the time when home serves as a cozy refuge as we light our fireplaces and wish for springtime.
But what if we took the opposite approach, using the inspiration of frosty winter colors and shimmering, icy textures to create rooms that look gorgeous year-round?
A winter-inspired room can celebrate the beauty of this season, and also provide a cooling refuge perfect for the spring and summer ahead.
“My clients usually think I’ve lost my mind when I suggest using winter as a source of inspiration for a cozy bedroom,” says designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of decordemon.com. But, he said, “when done right, a combination of layered whites, blue-grays and touches of metallic can add a wintry look that’s chic, inviting, surprisingly warm and totally timeless.”
Here, Flynn and two other interior designers — Betsy Burnham of Los Angeles’ Burnham Design and Kyle Schuneman of Live Well Designs — offer advice on using winter as a decorating inspiration.
Start with the reflective sheen of ice as your main inspiration, Flynn said. “He suggests using metallic and mirrored surfaces, including mirrored accent tables, nightstands and lamps.
Flynn and Schuneman both recommend metallic wallpaper. Candice Olsen’s birch bark wallpaper from York Wallcovering is made from white-toned birch bark, and has a metallic backing. “It screams ‘winter chic,’” Flynn said.
If you’d prefer painted walls, Schuneman suggests choosing a shade of pale gray or icy blue and in two different finishes: one with a high sheen that almost looks metallic and the other matte. Paint the walls with alternating stripes of each finish.
Mirrored and metallic items also maximize light, warming a room even in winter.
Burnham suggests mixing mirrors and chrome with warm shades of ivory, rather than stark whites.
A range of colors
“The biggest trick to doing a wintry palette right is to layer, layer, layer,” Flynn said. “I like to stick with an overall white palette, but bring in ultra-white, off-white, cream, blue-white and then add touches of blue-gray. This makes a space soothing and sophisticated, while adding depth.”
Burnham’s favorite wintry wall color right now is a shade called “Silver Spoon” by Dunn-Edwards. “It’s a really, really pale gray-blue,” she said. It contrasts well with white for a modern look or with warm shades of brown for a more “organic and earthy” feel.
Schuneman loves mixing wintry whites, silvers and grays accented with shades of purple. Or he sometimes pairs “a gray that has blue as its base, and a blue that has gray in its base” and brings in “hard edges, like crystal lamps” for a chic, “wintry feeling.”
Balance icy with cozy
Be sure to include soft, cozy accessories: Look for “beautiful cable-knit cashmere throws,” Burnham said,
Layers of soft fabric on furniture and floors bring a welcome feeling of warmth. If you choose a “fluffy, white flokati rug for the floor, you’re still having a kind of wintry moment,” Schuneman said, “but it’s just not hard-edged.”
What not to do
“(J)ust because we’re going wintry, it doesn’t mean we’re going to pop out igloos, snowflakes and polar bears.”
Instead, he says, “we just think of different ways to use whites, grays, metallics and textures in a manner which fits their personal style and makes a room feel airy and open.”