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The leaves are falling off the trees, there’s a crispness in the air, and you have a craving for fattening foods. Yup, winter’s coming. And, while you’re not a bear, you will be hibernating, or at least spending a lot more time at home, for the next few months. So look around. Is your home a cold cave or a cozy den? If it’s already cozy, you don’t have to read any further. Have a great winter. But if you’re like most people and your home could use a few cozy touches, read on. Here are my top ten quick and easy cozy fixes:

1. Let there be light. To me, the fact that it gets dark early in winter is a real downer. In fact, many people suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder, or S.A.D., a type of winter depression due to the lack of sunlight. Scientists have proven that even artificial light actually lightens your mood. So in winter, it’s important to have more light. Increase the bulb wattage in your light fixtures (but don’t exceed what the fixture can safely take) and add additional table and floor lamps. You’ll see better, and you’ll feel better.

2. That’s deep. Winter is a great time to add some deeper, richer colors to your decorating palette. Paint your walls cinnamon or caramel or another warm color, and don’t forget everything I taught you about paint. Or, if you’re not up for such a big project, slipcover a sofa or chair in a deep hue. Earthy colors are very comforting, and that’s what you need after a long day battling the elements.

3. Floor it. Nothing is more jarring than getting out of bed on a winter morning and touching your toes to a cold floor. Add area rugs by the sides of your bed and runners in the hallways. Not only will your home look and feel cozier, it’ll probably also save you a bit on fuel costs because less heat will be lost through the floor.

4. It’s alive! It’s alive! Sure, all the greenery outside has changed to brownery. But you can still enjoy a garden of delights in your home. Plants purify and add oxygen to the air which actually makes us feel better. If you have a black thumb, even a big wooden bowl of oranges and granny apples on your table will bring some life to the room and remind you that spring is around the corner.

5. Light my fire. If you have a fireplace, by all means use it. Before you do, however, make sure the chimney is clean and free from soot buildup, birds’ nests, and anything else that could be a fire hazard. Have a professional take a look, but make sure he checks it out as you learned from the last “Hammer Glamour” [#9]. If you don’t want to go to all that trouble, setting a few candles in the fireplace can give you the same effect. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can set several fragrant candles around your room. But, whatever you do, don’t leave anything burning unattended.

6. Get the chair. What could be cozier on a cold night than curling up in a big overstuffed chair and reading a book or watching a movie? If you don’t already have one, invest in one super comfortable chair. If that’s not feasible, add some soft pillows and a textured throw or lap blanket to your current favorite seat. The important thing is to create a haven for yourself, a spot where you can relax and recharge. Place a side table by the chair where you can put down a cup of tea or hot chocolate, and stand a floor lamp or table lamp nearby so you can read, knit, or do crosswords. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

7. Oh, sheet! Get yourself a set of flannel sheets for your bed. Not only are they soft, warm and comfy cozy, you also will sleep better at night. On top of that, you can turn your thermostat down a degree or two and save energy and money. And that’s about the most fun you can have in bed. Isn’t it?

8. Heaven scent. The smell of an apple pie baking in the oven is bound to give you a feeling of warmth and comfort. So bake one. Just kidding. Who’s got time for that? Luckily, you can buy potpourri and candles in wonderful scents like apple pie, pumpkin, or coffee. You can also fill your home with fragrance by dropping some cinnamon sticks and cloves into a pot and boiling it on the stove for a few minutes.

9. Accessories after the fact. While sleek and simple is a great style choice, it’s not exactly cozy. To warm up your style for a while during the cooler months, there’s no need to go out and buy all new furnishings. You can make any style cozier by bringing in added accessories. Pillows and throws are not only decorative, they’re functional. Pictures, candles, and artwork also add a homey touch.

10. Move in on your territory. Perhaps the simplest, fastest and cheapest way to make your home feel cozier is to move your furniture closer together. Really. It’s as simple as that. Moving chairs and sofas away from the walls and nearer each other creates intimate conversation groupings. Furthermore, you’ll probably find that you’re actually warmer because you’re away from drafts that may come in from around the windows and even through under-insulated walls.

Now, if you want to do a complete insulation project, that’s a whole other story. For now, these ten quick tips can make your home a snug, cozy den, even if this year’s winter turns out to be a bear.

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If you have any home repair questions for Sarit, please e-mail them to postmaster@dishmag.com. To find out more about the wonderful Sarit Catz, visit her website at www.saritcatz.com

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 107 - September 7061
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