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Decorating for the Season Outside of the Holidays

Oh, winter - it can be a bit grey, the days are short and there’s not a lot of color to be found outdoors. Sometimes it’s challenging to welcome the serenity that winter can provide and find ways to make our homes embrace the season. The Holidays bring with it a whole bunch of décor that livens up our lives and brightens our spaces; but what about November, January and February (and dare I say, March?).

I think we’re very lucky to have winter the way we do: snowy and cold. It is a rest from the busy, bright Spring, Summer and Fall. Winter is the season of reflection and repurposing of intentions. We tend to set goals for the future and take stock of our past. Winter is a great time to remove some of the objects and decorations we have out year-round. Perhaps it’s a chance to finally give in trying to grow that struggling plant. Making our indoor space to be a reflection of the outdoors - calm and serene - can help us be reflective and take those moments to pause and slow down.

Here are a few decorating tricks to help us get through the bleakest of winter days with a cheery disposition:

Mirrors - In the winter, using mirrors to capture and reflect light is a wonderful strategy to brighten up blistery days. Consider replacing a few pictures with a mirror or adding a mirror to a mantle or a shelf. Rather than buying a new frame, you can have mirror glass cut to fit existing frames you have in your house. A mirrored tray is another alternative. You can also look for mirrored accents or shiny metallics for holding candles or candies.

Candles - Not only do they provide light, they provide warmth. Candles are the perfect winter decoration. Create a grouping of candles on your mantle, your shelf or the coffee table. Mixing tall tapered candlesticks with stocky block or pillar candles and perhaps a few tea lights will create the right mix of height and shapes to create an interesting and effective decorating scheme.

Flower bulbs - There are a variety of flower bulbs you can purchase in the winter that can be grown indoors. Flower bulbs are both a beautiful decoration for you and great for your kids to watch and learn about nature. Paperwhites, hyacinths and tulips easily grow indoors. The most popular and classic look are bulbs placed on rocks in a glass cylinder. Cover until water reaches the bottom quarter of the bulb.

Rich textures - Replacing color and going with a neutral scheme of different textures for winter will make your space both cozy and serene. Think of faux furs, velvets and wools. Knits are also a great choice. Pillows, throws and footstools are the perfect places to add these touches. Think about hibernating bears as your inspiration to curl up and snuggle.

Reflecting nature - Observing nature in the winter, we see a lot of bare wood outdoors. Take cues from bark, branches and pinecones. Don’t be afraid to use pieces that highlight the grain and texture of wood. A slice of log can become a placeholder for a candle or perhaps a few bare branches in a vase to add height to a corner of a room. There are lots of wood motifs out for fabrics this year. Pinecones hanging from ribbon make an excellent wall hanging.

Art and photography - This is a great time of year to showcase your favorite black and white prints in your home. There is a sweet sophistication that comes with black and white. Tailored and classic, this is a look most people never tire of. There are multiple art prints available in black and white from geometric to scenery.

Books - I don’t know about you, but I read more books in the winter than any other time of the year. Piles of books can reinforce your color scheme, and are great conversation starters.

Winter activities - Skating, skiing and snowshoeing: All these activities come to mind when I think about winter. A pair of vintage skates would be a fun alternative to a wreath on your front door. Old cross-country skis are another item to stack in a corner of a room, adding height and interest. Winter seems like the perfect season to embrace Canadiana.

For the kids - Snowflakes are the perfect winter décor. A window full of paper snowflakes help add a touch of whimsy. Use paper, doilies or coffee filters to make snowflakes. Penguins and polar bears are also classic winter décor so think about how you can add these interesting animals into your rooms. We have a polar bear bookend that is beautiful to add as decoration but durable enough to use for play.

However you choose to welcome winter in your home, I hope you also take the opportunity to go outside and play! There is nothing better than building a snowman or hitting the toboggan hill. And don’t forget the hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Kourtney is an Interior Decorator who owns The Chipper Nest, a family-focused company. In the winter, she enjoys a friendly snowball fight and creating snow angels with her daughters. She has a great collection of wool socks and loves being able to wear toques on bad hair days. Check out her work at and follow along on Instagram @thechippernest.

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