Use organic elements, neutral colors, texture and light to add warmth to your home all winter long, not just during Christmas

Story by Meredith Coopman

Home for the holidays? I like to start with a layer of features I can leave up all winter long. This way, once the Christmas season is over, my mantle will continue to sparkle, and my home will still feel cozy and warm. To me, winter decor is about organic elements, neutral colors, texture, and light.

Winter in Montana is a magical time of year when the world slows down for a bit. It is a season of home, a period when we spend much more time indoors. It’s easy to decorate for winter. The key is to use natural elements, touches of greenery, a bit of shine, and winter white.

Here are a few ways to celebrate winter inside your home:

Fireplace: If you have a fireplace, pull pieces in toward the center of the room and face them near the hearth to create a cozy gathering spot for winter entertaining. If you don’t have a fireplace, create intimate conversation areas within your space.

Slipcovers: Warm up your dining room for the season by covering your chairs with simple slipcovers. Slipcovered chairs add warmth and winter style. Not to mention, they can easily be taken off for a quick cleaning.

Fabrics: Plush fabrics and upholstery add warmth even without a roaring fire. Layer in a few extra throw pillows for an easy winter style update. Choose accent pillows in colors and patterns that match your existing decor. Plaids, wools, sweater fabrics, velvets — anything that feels good and warm to the touch. A fuzzy throw blanket will complete the look.

Texture: Neutralize the colors in your living spaces and introduce texture for interest. The entire winter season doesn’t have to be only green and red. With a neutral palette, you can add any color or keep it super simple and use other colors sparingly. Layer with natural materials to create that texture: burlap, linen, heavy cotton, etc.

Furs and hides: Sheepskin is the epitome of cozy winter home decor. It instantly brings warmth to any room. Throw a sheepskin over the sofa, lounge chairs or dining chairs. Place a cow hide under your coffee table or at the foot of your bed. Bring warmth and texture to your home in unexpected ways.

Rugs: A fluffy area rug adds warmth and texture. Although wood floors create a year-round sophisticated style statement, you’ll need to warm them up through the cold winter months. Layer one rug on top of another to add more visual interest and create an even greater sense of warmth.

White: Bring white into the home during the winter months. It’s fresh, calming and reminiscent of a winter wonderland. White is basic, classic and never goes out of style.

Candles and lights: Candlelight creates an instant feeling of warmth, comfort and light. Use candles and lanterns to instill a warm ambiance. Votives are always a good idea, especially if they’re made of mercury glass. Add a simple strand of white twinkle lights to any scene for festive flair. Use white lights outside and you won’t have to take them down as early as the colored lights.

Wood: Whether it’s cut logs, tiny branches or a stack of firewood, wood brings a nice, warm natural element to your home. Place branches or sprigs of evergreen in glass vases or metal canisters to liven up a room and add natural texture and element.

Greenery: Simple green wreaths and garland are OK to leave up as long as they don’t become a fire hazard. When it’s time, switch out your Christmas wreath with a rustic or woodland-inspired wreath for your front door. Boxwood wreaths are another great idea. They’re not nearly as messy as garland. If you have empty planters, create an arrangement with branches and greens and use them to spruce up your front porch or back deck.

Reflective surfaces: Hang mirrors on a wall or a larger mirror above a mantel display, and it will reflect light throughout your space. With the shorter days, it’s nice to maximize the natural light while it is still available. Metallics, gold, silver, brass and basically anything that sparkles can add instant winter cheer. In Montana, we can go days without seeing the sunshine, so introducing these elements to a living space to reflect the light and glisten is a welcome winter addition.

As a busy mom, it’s nice (and easy) to have much of my Christmas décor serve a double role as winter décor, too. Try bringing little hints of the outdoors into your home, and add cozy touches for warmth. By using Christmas decorations that are white, woodland-inspired or made of organic materials, you can leave them out until the snow thaws. Think snowy branches, garland, pinecones and other natural ornaments, as well as hanging lanterns, birds nests and mercury glass in all shapes and sizes.

Meredith Coopman has over 25 years of experience in architecture and interior design. She is currently the Design Director at InnSpace in Kalispell. You can reach her at