Making your home a cozy refuge can be a fun,...

Making your home a cozy refuge can be a fun, easy seasonal task that keeps you feeling warmer and brighter all winter long. Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF/TNS/JGI/Jamie Grill

As temperatures outside drop, it's time to bring some warmth back into your home. Making your home a cozy refuge can be a fun, easy seasonal task that keeps you feeling warmer and brighter all winter long.

1. Focus on the hearth.

As temperatures dip lower, bring your focus inward by rearranging your furniture. If you have a fireplace, pull pieces in toward the center of the room and face them toward the hearth to create a cozy gathering spot for winter entertaining. Extra pillows and throws add warmth even without a roaring fire.

2. Color me happy.

Avoid the winter blues by infusing your spaces with pops of cheery color. A bright throw or a boldly patterned pillow will do the trick and will ensure your neutral spaces don't look stark and cold like the space outside your windows. Brightly colored elements can also last into the spring and summer, so you'll get more bang for your decorating bucks.

3. Reflect all available light.

Hanging a large mirror on a blank stretch of wall or above a mantel display will reflect light and maximize daylight hours during the wintertime. Turn the mirror into a decorative display by painting the frame an eye-catching color.

4. Brighten up your kitchen.

Even kitchens need a little TLC during the winter months. Adding bold window treatments to your kitchen windows, like bright red or sunshiny yellow curtains, will keep your workspace feeling cheery and bright. Create your own by purchasing a yard of fabric in the color or pattern of your choice, hemming the raw edges and using clip-style curtain rings over rods.

5. Be seated in style.

Winter decorating is all about layering on the fabrics. Cover your dining room chairs with simple slipcovers to add warmth and style. (Bonus: If they get spilled on during a family meal, you can always take them off to clean.)

6. Layer up in the bedroom.

Give your bedroom a quick style update and prepare it for the season by layering in textured bedding, throws and pillows. A luxurious cashmere or wool throw and soft velvet bed pillows can turn your bedroom into a cozy refuge from those harsh winter winds.

7. Add sheepskin for warmth.

For warmer transitions from bed to floor, place a sheepskin rug beside your bed, creating a cozy greeting to feet on brisk winter mornings. Or toss one over an ottoman or a chaise to provide a toasty spot to tuck chilly toes while reading or relaxing.

8. Dress up your hardwood.

Although wood floors create a sophisticated style statement year-round, you'll need to cozy them up for the cold winter months. A fluffy area rug can set off a living room's main seating area and add warmth and texture underfoot. For a unique style statement, layer one rug on top of another to add more visual interest. If it won't damage the rug material, consider placing hook-and-loop squares on a couple of points on the smaller rug to help it stay in place and prevent tripping.

9. Pile up the throw pillows.

Playful patterns and bold hues give a room color and personality. Choose accent pillows in colors and patterns that match your existing decor to ensure you don't have to make any more decor adjustments. If you have a window seat, bulk it up with fluffy seat cushions. If space permits, use under-seat storage to house blankets for the season.

10. Block drafts with layered window treatments.

Add thick draperies to Roman shades for a pretty, cozy look. You can replace the thick curtains with sheer draperies during warmer months, or simply remove the extra treatments altogether until temperatures plunge again.

11. Give your fireplace a face-lift.

As temperatures dip lower, your focus will naturally shift toward the hearth. Give your fireplace a quick makeover to ensure it's ready for all that extra attention. If you plan to use it to burn wood, have a chimney sweep clean it once yearly.

12. Highlight the scents of the season.

Although decor and accessories can go a long way toward cozying up your home, it's important to fill it with the smells of the season, too. A fragrant bowl of potpourri — in a wintry scent such as cinnamon, pine needles or evergreen — can do the trick and will fill your home with seasonal cheer. Display the arrangement prominently on a mantel or in a casual dining room tablescape.

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