OFFICE CLOSURE DURING COVID-19
As we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the health and safety of our policy holders and staff is our top priority. Based on recommendations from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as well as the recommendations from the New York State Governor, SEFCU Insurance Agency has made the decision to temporarily close our offices located at 469 State Street, 3rdFloor, Schenectady and 297 Main Street, Schoharie beginning Friday, March 20th until further notice.
This temporary closure affects SEFCU Insurance Agency offices ONLY.
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Create a Cozy Sanctuary With These 7 Winter Home Décor Ideas
by Deb Hipp
Winter officially kicks off with the winter solstice, which takes place in the Northern Hemisphere between December 20 and 23. This year the winter solstice is on Tuesday, December 21 but the exact timing depends on the year. The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. More minutes of daylight are slowly added each day.
While waiting for spring, why not make the most of your time spent indoors by creating a comfy winter haven where you can snuggle under a blanket and take in the beauty of the latest snowfall? Or, if you live in a warmer climate, maybe view the sunset or starry night from a cozy patio.
Whether you look forward to these shorter days or just do your best to endure them, it’s easy and fun to cozy up your home during winter months using textures, pillows, lighting and more.
Ready to get started on making your home a winter sanctuary? Here are seven winter home décor ideas for creating a snuggly and colorful winter abode.
Snuggle Up to Texture
For coziness, add texture to a room by incorporating a mix of area rugs, pillows and throw blankets, suggests Rosa Costanzo, principal at Rosa Costanzo Design in Toronto, Ontario. “Nothing says cozy like sipping a cup of cocoa under a warm, furry throw blanket,” says Costanzo. “Instantly cozy up a room by adding a luxurious throw, choosing faux fur, buttery soft cashmere or wool for optimal comfort.”
Costanzo recommends mixing throw pillows with a variety of fabric textures. Her favorites for winter include velvet with wide wale corduroy and throw pillows with embellishments such as fringe and embroidery. You can even try making your own no-sew pillow covers with fabrics and colors of your choice.
Combine Fire and Wood Elements
If you have a wood or gas fireplace, Costanzo recommends placing fire logs in a basket beside the fireplace to add ambiance. But make sure you keep anything flammable, like wood or matches, at least three feet away. And always have a fire extinguisher available.
Don’t have an existing fireplace? That’s easy to correct with a portable fireplace. You can buy one online or at your local home improvement store, says Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home, an online home and garden resource.
“Even if you can’t have a full-sized one, a portable gas fireplace burns cleanly, is vent-less, and uses ethanol as a fuel source. It produces no fumes or residue, and you can easily move it around your home,” says Stark. Or, maybe you’d rather add an electric fireplace. They are easily installed and use mirrors, Mylar and LED lights to create the appearance of a crackling fire.
If you don’t want to spend money on a fireplace, try your hand at making a DIY faux fireplace. Add seasonal greenery, a battery-operated candle display to the “firebox” and logs to the hearth.
Fashion a DIY Winter Wreath
Want to add a welcoming winter touch to your front door? You can use sprigs from an evergreen tree or outdoor shrubs to create this easy DIY Winter Farmhouse-Style Wreath from Robin Johnson’s Happy at Home YouTube channel.
All you need is:
- A grapevine wreath
- Glue gun (found at crafts stores)
- White chalk paint
- Fresh or artificial greenery
- Pine cones
If flowers are more your style, try this Winter Frost Magnolia Cotton Wreath from home and lifestyle blogger Kim Purvis, founder of Made in a Day blog. Materials you’ll need include:
- A fall magnolia leaves pine cone wreath
- Cotton plant wreath
- Grapevine wreath
- Glitter-frosted pine needle and pine cone sprigs
- Floral wire
- Hot glue and gun
Lighten the Mood
There’s no need to put away all your festive lights once the holidays are over. Leave up cheery multi-colored lights around windows, door frames or along the ceiling. Or change them out for white or blue lights.
Cindy Kreider, a professional organizer at The Tailored Life and design aficionado in Ladera Ranch, California, suggests stringing battery-operated lights in other places, too. These can include inside glass shelves, glass canisters, on banisters and fireplace mantels. You can even add lights to a front door wreath.
Add even more fun to winter lights décor by making these DIY snow-frosted Mason jar decorations from A Piece of Rainbow lifestyle blog. The simple-to-make lighted snowmen use either real votive candles or battery-powered string lights.
Create Your Own Winter Wonderland
Even if you live in a city where it never snows, you can create your own winter wonderland. Use miniature houses, figurines, lights and “snow” with bags of fake snow from the crafts store or even Epsom salts. For a different take on the usual tabletop display, Kreider suggests displaying your winter scene on a shelf or inside a cabinet.
You can find everything you need at your local crafts store, including:
- Artificial snow
- Miniature houses
- People and animal figurines
You can also include palm trees if you’re looking to create a winter scene in Florida or Southern California. Then use battery-powered lights to bring the scene to life. Budget tip: Check out thrift stores for unique mini houses and figurines first.
Photo courtesy of Cindy Kreider
Transform a Mantel with Greens, Hues or Textures
You can create a simple and elegant post-holiday winter display on your mantel using vases holding greenery. Costanzo suggests:
- Ilex berries
- Eucalyptus cinerea
- Magnolia leaves
Or, add warmth with rustic tones, hues and texture by adding a few key accessories to a brick fireplace. It will cozy it up with minimal effort and without breaking the bank, she says.
“Add a textured basket in an earthy tone with a lush and cozy throw and add firewood to a basket to help create a winter ambiance that evokes the feeling of being in a lodge,” says Costanzo. “Using a handful of pine cones is also an easy way to bring nature indoors and add winter charm.”
More mantel decor tips: Add candles grouped in clusters to add a sophisticated touch. Stack a couple of books horizontally to add charm and character.
Add Toasty Touches to Outdoor Spaces
You don’t have to stay inside for winter just because the temperature drops. A toasty outdoor space could be the answer to beating the winter blues and socially distancing with friends.
So, be ready with all the cozy comforts to make hanging out on your patio or deck one of your favorite winter pastimes when weather permits. Even in colder areas, people can still spend time outside on their patios, says Tara L. Paige, founder of The Patio Chic, a website devoted to outdoor living spaces.
Paige recommends heating up outdoor spaces with patio heaters similar to heaters found on restaurant patios that allow customers to dine outside on chilly nights. “You’d be surprised at how large of an area these patio heaters can warm up,” says Paige. “One patio heater can warm up an outdoor space very nicely.”
Also, drape faux fur pelts over furniture, brighten the space with solar lights and lanterns and have plenty of soft blankets on hand. “When you’re outside, you can relax and release,” says Paige. “Spending time outdoors in a space you love is good for your mental health.”
Get Started on Your Own Winter Home Décor Style
Now that you’ve got some winter home décor ideas, it’s time to toss them around like snowballs until you come up with your very own cozy style. Do you have winter home décor suggestions for other readers? Tell us about them in the comments.