Local designers offer tips on winter home


During chilly, gray winters, people can create a cozy home that appeals to the senses and make an excellent cold-season retreat.

For comfort’s sake, Marisa Kaski, designer and owner of Rebloom Design in Battle Ground, believes designing a cozy room that appeals to all senses is important. Having a comfortable space makes the winter months more enjoyable.

The definition of cozy varies from person to person, Vancouver-based Cascade Furniture and Mattress designer Jordan Wright said. Some may find comfort and coziness in warm colors, like cream and orange. Others may find a cool-colored room with blues and grays cozy.

Neutral colors are popular and easy to work with, allowing accents of color. Kaski encourages people to consider experimenting with color in their spaces during the winter season.

“You can stick with your neutral colors, woods and metals as your base and incorporate natural elements with muted tones in layers,” Kaski said. “For example, bring in fresh greenery clippings, add them to a vase.”

Judy Cusack-Peterson, owner and designer at Transitional Designs in Washougal, suggests decorators consider using gold, rust and other autumn colors. Even colorful plaid patterns can bring winter coziness to a space.

Adding texture to a space can further develop a sense of coziness and comfort, Wright said. Adding throw blankets and pillows can add texture and warmth to a room. Fuzzy, knitted or other textured textiles can create visual interest, as well.

Including fur, faux or real, can bring texture and visual warmth. Cusack-Peterson recommends adding fluffy sheep skins to the space.

Lighting is also an important aspect of creating a cozy room.

“To have a ‘finished look’ for a space, lighting needs to be done in layers,” Wright said. “I like to bring in different heights for lamps and different textures in lighting. Open spaces scream for a large chandelier, while smaller spaces call for a desk lamp.”

Wright recommends avoiding cool-tone lighting, like bright white bulbs. Instead, choose warm-tone lighting or even candles. Wright enjoys using warm candlelight to add soft light to a room. Candles are very versatile as they come in many colors, sizes and scents.

Kaski recommends opening window shades early in the day for maximum lighting and then switching to interior lights in the late afternoon.

“Lighting is crucial. We need enough light every day for a healthy wellbeing,” Kaski said.

Warm and delicious scents can also make a home feel cozier, Kaski said. However, too strong of a smell can become overwhelming or even sickening. Even a non-offensive candle scent can become too pungent if it’s left to burn long.

“I typically burn a candle for 20 minutes, and then I shut the lid on it,” Kaski said.

Wright likes to use simmer pots, filled with fresh apple slices and cinnamon. The ingredients are combined with water and left to simmer on a stovetop.

“It has the power to fill the whole home,” Wright said.

Decorating with seasonal and holiday items can also add coziness and nostalgia to a room. Seasonal flowers, decorative bowls, handmade baskets and seasonal greenery in wreaths or swags can further improve a room, Cusack-Peterson said.

Keeping the space clean and organized may have the greatest impact on a room’s coziness, Kaski said. Dirt and disorganization can ruin the mood in a room.

“Sometimes what’s bothering somebody is that there isn’t storage in their home,” Kaski said.

Quirky personal items with sentimental value should be an important design aspect of a room. Wright encourages people to keep the special items that make their home personal, even if it requires an adjustment to the room design.

“Sometimes we strive so hard to achieve the picture-perfect image that we forget the feel we want for our own home,” Wright said. “Objects like that have a great opportunity to fit in and create that individualistic comfort. I like to embrace it and include those styles.”

A space should feel welcoming, comfortable and cozy to whoever dwells there. For some, that may align with the latest design trends. Others may have a style all their own.

“Working with a client, I want them to feel at home in their space,” Kaski said. “It’s important for things to look good, but ultimately you want your space to feel good.”