Put some sparkle into your house during the dark months

Minneapolis Star TribuneFebruary 15, 2013 

A cozy winter scene at Gabberts in the Galleria in Edina, Minn. Give your house a new look for the new year by accessorizing your rooms or moving furniture to a new spot.

SHNS — Joel Koyama / Minneapolis StarTribune

The days are gray and dreary, the holidays are history and those festive seasonal decorations that gave our interiors warmth and sparkle last month are now back in storage boxes.

It’s no wonder that we – and our homes – have the winter blahs.

So what to do?

You don’t have to undertake a major makeover to give your decor a big boost, according to interior designers. Fresh colors and a few new or repurposed accessories can go a long way toward perking up winter-weary rooms.

Here are tips from designers on refreshing winter decor:

Picture the possibilities: Take photos of the rooms you want to enhance, then study them to see what’s needed.

Accessorize: Rooms are like outfits and can be greatly enhanced by accessories. How many is a matter of personal taste, but in the view of designer Christine Sutphen, homes tend to be under-accessorized most of the year. “Mantels are so nicely done during the holidays and so neglected the rest of the year,” she said.

A few important pieces are better than a lot of little tchotchkes.

Move things around: Designer Catherine Harrington is a fan of creative rearranging. “Redecorating doesn’t have to be a lot of buying. It can be reusing things you already have,” she said, such as moving your living-room lamps to the bedroom and vice versa, or putting a small bedroom chest in the dining room. “All of a sudden it looks like a brand-new piece,” she said. Sutphen encourages clients to “open up the buffet doors” in search of “new” accessories. “What have you inherited but never known what to do with?” she said. “Maybe it’s Grandma’s plate that has always had the turkey on it. Maybe it’s time to hang it on the wall.”

Illuminate: “January is such a dark month,” Sutphen said. That’s why lighting – task, ambient and decorative – is extra-important during the winter. Try a new chandelier – they’re now popular in just about every room of the house, even over kitchen islands and bathtubs. “It can be a piece of jewelry for the home, and add a little bit of bling,” she said. “And adding a mirror to a room can do a ton to bounce around light.”

Color therapy: A fresh coat of paint makes everything fresh; try fresh spring or lime green on walls.

Rethink artwork: Try hanging a favorite piece of art in a new spot. Or group artwork in a new way, such as taking two prints with complementary colors or patterns and framing them as a pair.

Add shine: Try an iridescent window treatment, a throw with some metallic threads or an antique book with some shiny gold on the spine.

Perk up pillows: New accent pillows can go a long way toward refreshing your interiors. Invest in something new: Perhaps a patterned area rug. To find just the right size, spread a bed sheet on the floor and fold.

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