How To: Cheer Up Your Home After The Holidays

By early January we're usually ready to pack up the holiday kitsch and get on with the New Year, but returning all the cheery Christmas decorations to their boxes inevitably leaves our home feeling empty and a little cold. So, how to embrace a clean slate home and warm it up?

In general, I love bare simplicity, but about this time every year bare always seems to equal cold and uninviting. This season we're trying these simple cozy-ups to beat the post-holiday chill:

• 1., 2.Introduce texture with throws and pillows. Nubby knit blankets, sheepskin throws, and velvet pillows can add instant warmth to any room. If you don't have these things on hand, look around your home for alternatives. This year, I'm using a scarf/shawl to warm up our dark leather chair.
• 3., 4. Force bulbs indoors. Paper Whites and Amaryllis are generally thought of as Christmas blooms, but they can make great indoor accents throughout the winter. This year, I forced Paper Whites for the first time, and I loved watching the growing process so much that I've decided to force some more. Check out a how to here. Remember: they are the easiest plants to care for if you remember to never let the actual bulb touch water. If the bulb sits in water, it will rot. Fill water just below the bulb, and the roots will sprout and find it. If you're one of the people that can't stand the smell of paperwhites, try tulips or amaryllis instead.
• 5. Group potted plants. During the Christmas season, we grew used to the cozy look of side tables, coffee tables, mantel ledges sprinkled with holiday decor, but now we're digging the simple natural beauty of indoor plants, grouped for impact.
• 6., 7. Use lots of candles. After a month of basking in the glow little white Christmas lights, our home looks a little dark now that we've packed them up. Grouping candles makes for a lovely year-round alternative.
• 8., 9.Rearrange accent pieces. It's easy to get bored with your home when you're used to looking at the same thing in the same pace month after month. January is the perfect time to go shopping from within your home to add a little interest to a spot that's lost its luster. I like to switch mirrors and paintings from different rooms. The capiz shell mirror from Target (pic 9) has been on every wall of our living room, but it always looks fresh whenever it's paired with different accent pieces.
• 10. Introduce a new accent color. Sometimes switching out the pillow covers and blankets is enough to completely change the look of the room. I love the rich green and velvety textures in the room above.

What other tips do you have for warming up your post-holiday decor?

(Images: 1: Bridget Kelly via Kids Today Online, 2: More Ways to Waste Time, 3, 4, 9: Leah Moss, 5: Tom Scheerer, 6: skona hem, 7: Sunset, 8: Thomas O'Brien, 10: Nuevo Estilo)

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