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How to beat the winter doldrums

(ARA) – If you’re simply sick of winter weather – from snow to slush – you’re definitely not alone. With snow storms hitting 49 out of 50 states, and many areas logging record-breaking snowfall and low temperatures, it may be difficult to avoid feeling down.
One way to avoid winter doldrums is to brighten up your home’s interior. Brighter surroundings help keep the blues at bay and make your house warm and inviting. And, don’t worry – you can do it on even the tightest budget. Creating a cozy space doesn’t require major construction or costs. Just a few small changes can make a big difference.
Paint truly is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to brighten a room. Nothing transforms a seemingly dreary space more than a fresh coat of color. A high-quality wall paint also can hide any scuffs and scrapes caused by too much holiday cheer or during the “un-decorating” process.
“The right paint color can make a tired room look cozy and inviting,” says Peggy Van Allen, color specialist for Pratt & Lambert. “It also can serve as the canvas that ties the rest of your decorating scheme together – once you brighten tired walls, you can get inspiration for other design elements throughout the space.”
Consider selecting rich, saturated wall colors to warm up the space. Warm, burnished golds. Succulent reds and cranberries. Smooth mochas and bold French roast browns. Set off dark colors with a creamy, white trim for a soft, stylish effect.
When selecting paint, think about selecting a coating that has low odor and low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) so you can paint indoors, even in the winter – a time when you don’t necessarily want to open all the windows for extra ventilation. Stain resistance is another factor to consider in paint selection, particularly in high-traffic areas, such as kitchens and family rooms.
The Porcelain paint line from Pratt & Lambert offers both of these options, delivering excellent coverage and stain resistance in a low-odor, low-VOC formula that’s available in more than 1,000 colors.
Paint is just the first step, however. Once you have finished warming up your rooms with a fresh canvas, you can add some finishing touches to create a haven from the cold weather outside.
“Think of the month or two after the hectic holiday season as a time of rest, relaxation and recovery,” Van Allen says. “Chances are you’ll spend much of your time indoors during these months, so instead of bemoaning the fact the tree is down and it looks bare, make your rooms as cozy as possible.”
One of the first things you might want to do is rearrange the furniture in your most-used rooms to lessen the feeling of emptiness in the space. You can give your room a new look for free, simply by moving a few key pieces to new locations. Also, by moving furniture closer together, rooms can look particularly cozy on a cold day.
Next, think texture. If your window treatments are sheer and summery, maybe you’ll want to swap them out for some inexpensive velvet drapes or enhance existing blinds with a luxurious valance. Remove light-colored linen or cotton slipcovers and instead use heavier, winter-friendly fabrics in jewel- or fire-inspired tones. Accent them with fluffy throws and embellished decorative pillows for the look of extra warmth. Area rugs can reduce the stark look of a room. Pick rugs with bold colors and patterns that complement, but not necessarily match, your wall color.
In the bedrooms, replace light quilts with heavier comforters and duvets and consider using flannel sheets. Add a few extra pillows to the beds to further enhance the cuddle factor. Hang thick, plush towels in rich colors in the bathrooms and replace existing bathmats with ones that have a thick, luxurious pile. A new, fabric shower curtain also will go a long way toward warming up the space, despite all of that cold porcelain and chrome.
With a few simple and inexpensive changes such as these, there’s no need for you, or your house, to suffer from post-holiday letdown. Rich color, warm textures and clever room arrangements can keep your home looking spectacular and inviting throughout winter’s dreariest months – no holiday decorations needed.

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