Most Curated is a monthly series in which one editor, team member or friend of Livingetc will share the top 12 items on their current wish list.
I'm at the point in a three year long renovation that I'm looking at how to add warmth to a room. I've done the rewiring, added in a new heating system, and chosen most of the paint colors. But I know that it's the smaller touches that make a big difference, the layering of textiles and decor that soften a space and make it more welcoming, friendlier, more warm.
And I'll be starting from the ground up, choosing from the best rugs so as to have a warming base layer. 'Rugs are a great way to add texture and warmth to a space, especially when the room is more neutral in colour,' says the designer Montana Labelle. 'Similar to wall art, the floor is an important element to consider as it grounds the room and really bring everything together.'
The designer Tiffany Leigh agrees that rugs are the perfect place to start. 'We often use the rug as the jumping off point for the palette of the room, selecting accent pillows and accessories that pick up a tone in the rug,' she says.
How to build a warming palette
Livingetc knows design.
For warmth, Tiffany suggests that you don't need to go for overtly fiery colors like red or orange, and there is a more subtle approach available. 'We tend to lean into more muted, muddy tones with neutrals, browns and smokey blues or greens,' she says. 'And lean towards vintage or a vintage look in most spaces.'
The British designer Russell Sage once gave me the best advice that I think about often, and have used in this renovation. 'If a color is to feel like home then it should have a touch of the earth to it," he said. 'So instead of going with, say, a banana yellow, opt for one with a hint of brown in it.'
And in fact, to achieve an earthy and warm color scheme, it seems brighter isn't better. Step away from the sunshine yellow you might think was a shorthand for warmth. 'I’m drawn to cognac leather tones,' Russell said. 'These are palettes that look good in any light. Essentially, you don't want anything so bright it smacks you between the eyes when you're trying to relax.'
What's in my Cart to add warmth to my rooms
Starting with rugs, as the Montana suggested, here's what I'm pulling from the best home decor stores to make my home feel softer, more welcoming and, yes, more warm.
Price: from $35.10
Not forgetting Tiffany Leigh's point about how vintage-style pieces lend their own warmth - all that character in the fade - this blue patterned rug does just that.
Price: from $250
Checkerboard is a big interior design trend at the momet - it is part of a luxe playfulness that makes homes really cheerful. This soft rust-colored take on the trend gives this washable rug extra warmth.
A lot to spend on a piece of decor? Perhaps. But oh, this is pretty. The shape of a piece of pottery found in the Med, the colors of a sun-baked earth, the pattern's modernity of a contemporary piece of art. The perfect blend.
More vintage-style decor here, the 1970s glaze and irregular edges looking like something your mom made in the pottery phase of her youth. And it's all the more charming because of that family-esque feel, all the more characterful.
West Elm has a whole line of ceramics by the stylist Colin King, who specializes in elegantly warm interiors. I also like these bowls a lot, which have the same sensibility and careworn texture.
I have a dark blue sofa and this toasted orange pillow will help bring light into it. Its the color of a caramel latte, and all the warmer for it.
I found this in the kid's section of Saks but bear with me! If the Anthro pillow has the warmth of the sun then this has the dreaminess of a summer sky, a playfulness and wit that really makes any living room look more friendly. Plus the tactile fabric is extra inviting.
Completing the triptych of pillows is this bolster which elevates even the most dog-weathered of couches (yes, we allow our pups on the sofa, and yes, it shows). The fun cloud shape, the sun-baked brown pillow and now this - a dream combination.
This isn't just in my cart, it's already in my home - I just couldn't resist. It looks so inviting folded over the arm of my couch and feels really soft and luxe wrapped around me to watch Netflix.
At the top of this article, designer Tiffany Leigh talked about using greens to warm up rooms, and this elegant sage green would catch the flicker of candlelight so warmly. Its silhouette is just as fascinating, and this would look good without a candle, as a hero piece on a mantle or shelf.
Look at the way the light is softly angled out of the triangular shade, at how the gleam of the brass arm gives way to the luxe brown marble base. This beautiful table lamp is warm light at it's very finest
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The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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