8 Ways to Add Warmth To A Room
A pro stylist uses plants, colour, textures and even greenery to enhance the way a home feels
There are several ways to do this – adding warmth doesn’t necessarily mean only decking out your room in warmer colours, it’s also about infusing your personal style. For me, a room becomes a haven when it successfully reflects the owner’s personality while still staying true their design vision.
Vintage pieces come with inbuilt patina – something that’s difficult to replicate and takes years to acquire. This patina is what gives a space that cosy, lived-in feel. If you like to travel as I do, try allocating a day or two to tracking down the best vintage finds for your home. Nothing beats the unique stories behind vintage finds – these one-of-a-kind pieces are great conversation starters and immediately break away from the showroom feel.
Tip: If second-hand shopping isn’t your thing, look for pre-distressed new pieces or antique replicas.
Remember that you don’t need to go big for major impact; sometimes a collection of distressed silverware or an old camera, for instance, can lend a room undeniable charm.
Living in the tropics doesn’t mean you combat the heat by using only cool colour palettes in your home. Sometimes, nothing makes a room look more inviting than adding contrasting pieces – think vibrant yellows, muted reds, and rich browns.
Tip: For a more convenient no-reno option, select accent pieces in warm hues to offset the cool colours in a room. These pieces add a bright pop of colour that instantly ups your room’s cosy factor. I especially love bringing in the rich browns of leather.
This is one of the easiest and most effective tips for instantly jazzing up a space. Plants can change the look of a room entirely: their dynamic shapes and textures soften harsh lines in a room. Putting greenery in the room is also beneficial to your mental and physical well-being.
There are also great faux options available these days: silk flowers are beautiful but an investment, so look for single, bold leaves if you’re on a budget.
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This is probably one of my most frequently-dispensed tips as adding a rug is such an easy but powerful way to cosy up a space. It breaks the monotony of the flooring, provides soft padding underfoot, and adds texture and dynamism (see next point for more details). Depending on the colour and pattern you choose, rugs can blend in with the different elements in your room, or stand out as a focal point.
Tip: Make sure your area rug is big enough for your furniture, with a minimum breathing space of at least 15 centimetres around the border. One area rug faux pas to choosing a rug too small to accommodate all your furniture. This may make the space look cramped and uncomfortable. A well-placed rug will help your room look open and spacious.
Texture is key to warming up a space, but learning how to layer your textures is an art that requires practice and consideration. Thankfully for all of us, there are a few tricks you can fall back on:
- My natural decorating style tends towards Old Hollywood Glamour, so I like a bit of shine in a space. Using too many metallic or reflective surfaces can make a space feel cold, though, so balance these accents by incorporating softer, higher-pile textures like wool, velvet, and even faux fur.
- Velvet is a big trend in interior decorating these days, but can get gaudy fast. The trick is to use velvet as a statement accent piece: one or two smaller cushions or a larger statement chair or sofa is enough velvet in a space. Velvet in the bedroom is a clever way to make the space feel both luxe and cosy.
- Natural, organic materials lend warmth so easily. Linen, wood, cotton, and of course, plants, are natural materials you can consider using.
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A new wall colour can change the dynamics of a room: energetic colours like reds and oranges invoke feelings of warmth and comfort, while darker hues are great for creating a laid-back ambience.
Tip: Save warm colours for communal spaces, such as your dining room or living room, as these colours tend to excite someone or incite feelings of passion and energy. They don’t work as well in bedrooms, which are supposed to be calm, tranquil spaces. I personally prefer using a neutral colour palette (sand or taupe) or my trusty blues and greys in the bedroom.
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Having a variety of lights in your home is important for setting different moods. Be familiar with colour temperatures –incandescent, warm lighting can range from 2,000K to 3,000K while white lights can be around 4,500K to 6,000K. Stick to the warmer light for more intimate or cosier settings, like your living room, and white light for tasks like studying and reading.
Tip: Using recessed lighting to highlight small areas can recreate the cosy ambience of a hotel lounge. A more versatile fix would be to install dimmer switches, as that means you control the amount of light you want – perfect for switching up the mood of your home.
I believe that good design should engage all five senses, especially the sense of smell. Smells are potent connectors between your mind and your emotions, which is why well-designed homes always incorporate scents to create a mood or evoke a specific feeling. Recall your favourite resort getaway and you’ll often connect it to a particular scent. Using scents in your home is the icing on the cake – when done well, smells can make you and your guests feel at ease instantly.
Tip: You don’t need a diffuser to diffuse your essential oils – a lightbulb will work perfectly. Put a few drops of essential oil on a cold incandescent bulb. When you switch it on, the heat from the bulb will help spread the scent throughout the room.
What kind of warmth do you like in your home? Let us know in the Comments below.