Decorate with Crafts
When the weather outside is frightful, it's time to make your indoor environment more delightful. In between holidays, it might seem like a challenge to come up with seasonal decor. But, there's a simple fix for that: Bring out comfy textiles, candles and winter-themed accents to make your rooms suitable for entertaining or engaging in your favorite indoor activities, such as playing games or curling up with a book.
Country Sampler stylists René Haines and Carolynn Geesaman collaborated with homeowner Linda Morehous to give her 200-year-old Portland, Indiana, home a winter warm-up. In 1990, Linda traded city life in Ft. Wayne to return to her rural roots. Her father and grandparents lived in the farmhouse before her, so the space is filled with memories, augmented by the many heirloom pieces and auction finds that furnish the rooms. The home needed only a few cosmetic updates after she took ownership. "It's just such a feeling of comfort being here," she explains.
Linda's fondness for antiques dates back to age 8, when she started attending auctions with her mom, and she's especially attracted to primitives. She likes the way their wood tones make a room feel cozy. "There's such a sense of warmness you get with country and prim," Linda explains.
To learn how René and Carolynn further amped up the comfort quotient throughout Linda's homey living spaces, read on for 20 great decorating tips:
UNDER THE DOME
1. Cloche calls. Use glass cloches on metal stands to highlight small handicrafts and accents, anchoring them with a coordinating runner. "I love cloches," René says. "They make anything look special; it's like a little world of its own under the dome."
2. Glow up. Employ candlelight as an antidote to winter's chill. Dress up a spool-mounted candle lamp with a scrap of lace and faux berries. To give a plain white pillar candle sparkle, coat it with glue and Epsom salt and adorn it with a bit of ribbon and a petite ornament. An old plinth block teams with a paper snowflake and snowflake ornament and a mini mold to fashion a clever candleholder.
3. Wee tree. Slide a stack of seven paper snowflakes in descending sizes onto a rolled kraft paper "trunk" to make a papery pine alternative to a bottle-brush tree.
4. Sweater set. Re-cover a chair cushion by wrapping it with a piece of a thrift-store cable-knit sweater. Pair it with a pillow, wool runner and braided jute rug to bump up the texture in a small space.
5. Lid-lle snowman. Assemble household objects, such as mason and jam jar lids, silver pipe cleaners and buttons, into a whimsical art piece. Cover the frame backing with red burlap and glue on lids and buttons, making a snowman figure. Shape pieces of pipe cleaner into hands and glue in place.
6. Branching out. Arrange glittery twigs in a glass vase, anchoring them in Epsom salt. Trim with burlap and hang small snowflake ornaments on the twigs.
7. Frosty outlook. Exchange everyday art for farmyard prints depicting snowy settings, and fashion a seasonally appropriate wreath on a bushel-basket lid. Glue two sizes of snowflake ornaments around the perimeter of the lid, using the larger ones for the bottom layer. Create lettering for the center out of broken twigs painted white.
8. Child's play. Lend a lighthearted touch with primitive dolls and kid-size furniture, such as Linda's slant-top desk and Sunday-school chair.
9. Lights fantastic. Incorporate more lighting, such as the chairside metal floor lamp, to brighten rooms on dark days. Add some candles for an aromatic pick-me-up.
10. At your service. Trade a traditional serving tray for a reproduction game board and stash extra checkers in a snowman-themed sack.
11. Rakish twist. Prop a vintage rake in the corner and drape it with mini mittens embellished with snowflake cutouts and a garland of jingle bells strung on twine to recall sleigh rides and other winter pastimes.
12. Smart stacks. Build a side table by stacking two small benches, like these made from salvaged barnwood, and top them off with a cheerful snowman runner and similarly themed decorative plate. Stacking provides a "shelf" for stowing vintage board games.
13. Cool containers. Mix birch branches with a bit of greenery and fill large vessels—a ceramic crock or a vintage plaid cooler, for example—to bring in an outdoorsy feel.
14. Dressed in layers. Pile on a few new fabric accents in rich dark colors, such as those found in this quilt, pillow and lamp. "Darker colors seem more warm and cozy, and adding them to a room is perfect to counteract chilly weather," Carolynn shares.
15. Warm sentiments. Express your gratitude for the things you hold dear by bringing in accents emblazoned with warmhearted mottos, such as the sign above the inviting love seat.
16. Flaky fringe. Create a wispy garland from paper snowflakes you make yourself or purchase from a crafts store. Braid three colors of yarn (ours were inspired by the colors in the burlap valance) and hang snowflakes using strings of varying lengths.
17. Snowball effect. To dress up a bare window, string several sizes of white pom-poms on lengths of fishing line, and hang them a few inches apart across a window. "It looks like a cascade of snowballs," René notes.
18. Winter warm-ups. Gather collections, such as new and antique lanterns, to bring a little light to the top of a tall cupboard or a windowsill.
19. Tray sweet. Construct a tabletop tray from an old frame and salvaged barnwood, decorating it with sponged-on snowflake patterns. Pair it with metal canisters fitted with magnetic chalkboards describing the treats inside, including marshmallows, some of which were compressed and cut into star shapes.
20. New dimension. Include black textiles, such as a cabin-themed pillow, braided rug and runner decked with spray-mounted snowflakes, to bring depth to a room and balance the wood tones.