Winter Style in White

'Tis the season of good cheer and short days. Here's how to make your home perfectly suited to the winter season.

White fabrics and sparkling accessories are natural choices for winter decor because they add much-needed light to a home's interior. Softer than the bright whites of summer, winter whites come in a variety of pale colors.

Candles -- and lots of them -- cast a warming glow to every corner of a room, especially when company's coming for dinner. Keep a stock of white candles, mirrored and sparkling accessories, and frosted glasses on hand to keep the look fresh and inviting; simply create new groupings from your stash every time you set the table.

Gather 'Round the Hearth

In the winter, rearrange the seating group in your living room so it faces the fireplace. Winter-white lampshades maximize the wattage of every bulb without creating glare. Add a string of votives to the mantel and a group of pillars on the coffee table to multiply the warmth and power of the fire to ward off the chill.

The celebration of the season starts at the front door. Greet family and friends with a setting that suits the whole season: greenery, sparkling ornaments, and the ever-present candles are just as suitable for January as they are for December.

Greenery is always visually appreciated, but choose branches of leaves -- rather than pine boughs -- if you want a look that foretells of spring. Or, put pine boughs out for the holidays and switch to eucalyptus leaves in January for a fresh change of pace.

Winter whites cover a bed's dark shapes the way snow blankets a landscape of trees. Sink into the layers of winter with lavender and white linens, a fluffy featherbed, a winter-weight duvet, and a transparent bedcovering of icy voile.

If you keep colors light in winter, your spirit will maintain its lightness longer during the stretches of time that the sun takes its leave. A sprig of greenery, such as evergreens, on the nightstand is a gentle reminder of nature's cycles.

No decorating rule is universal. For example, not every room should have a white focus for the winter. Instead, if you crave bright colors to remind you of the coming warm months, have some fun creating tie-dyed bed linens.

This guest room has the feel of a Caribbean getaway with its bright aqua- and lime-colored pillowcases.

Tie-dying is a fast and fun way to add a touch of color; just be sure to wear latex gloves when handling the dyes and clean the washing machine by running it through a full hot-wash-cool-rinse cycle to remove dye. Color blotches on you or the next load of laundry could spoil the fun.


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