As winter draws ever nearer, there's nothing more satisfying than creating the perfect haven to retreat to during those long, cold evenings.
The heart of any home is the kitchen and, as such, it's one of the best rooms to focus on when preparing for winter. And reflecting the seasons doesn't necessarily mean ripping out your units and starting again – any room can be adapted for the seasons with some decorative flourishes.
When you think winter kitchens, your mind is immediately drawn to rustic aga stoves, heavy wooden furniture and warm terracotta tiles. While all of these are undoubtedly beautiful and desirable, fitting a new kitchen for winter is not within most people's budgets. So there are a number of things that you can do to dress the materials that you do have.
Wood and other natural materials are warming and inviting. Moveable furniture, such as tables, chairs and units can be selected and added as necessary. If you have more contemporary units, it may be possible to change the door fronts to oak or maple effect items and invest in ceramic tiles with warm tones.
Alternatively, for those with lower budgets, high quality prints can be applied to existing unit doors or stains can be painted to achieve the same effect. Changing the handles on doors and drawers will also completely update the look of the kitchen area.
Even if the main units and furniture cannot be changed, there are many additional items that can warm the existing décor. Heavy wooden chopping blocks sit comfortably on top of counters and can even be fashioned from material found in reclamation yards.
Autumnal colours, such as reds, rusts, deep greens and purples, are ideal for a winter kitchen. These can be added through any number of ways. A new blind can rejuvenate the window area, accompanied by statement utensils made from either wood or suitably coloured man-made materials.
Plates, pots, pans and other cookware can also make a great contribution to the atmosphere of a kitchen. Stacked plates in appropriated coordinated shades create accents, while hanging pans gives the atmosphere of an old farmhouse cooking area. Smaller touches, such as kitchen towels and mugs, provide softer contrasts.
Why not work food into your decoration as well? Large glass vases of pasta have long been used in Mediterranean kitchens and use the natural tones in a superb way. Herbs add beautiful greenery while, for the more adventurous among you, pepper and tomato plants bring colour inside and remind you that winter doesn't last forever!
All of these tips will help you to create a beautiful, warm and cosy environment for winter – what are you waiting for?
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