How to make your home ready for the winter and festivities in the Covid era

The pandemic is prompting everyone to make “seasonal changes” in home decor which is no longer for keeps

Namrata Kohli  |  New Delhi

Charpoi with velvet upholstery. Picture Courtesy: Inhabit Store

So, you thought those carpets would last you a lifetime and even be passed on to the next generation. Covid-19 has pushed even timeless and the classic pieces into the lofts and bed boxes as people want to infuse a dose of freshness into their abodes. And winters have provided a legit excuse to renovate with a brand-new carpet, double-layered curtains, a new bedside runner, throw cushions, intimate lighting, outdoor furniture and the works.

“If what you have to see is the four walls of the house 24×7, then you need to recreate some drama in there, lest you go nuts seeing the same thing over and over again,“ says Sanju Narang, a 45-year-old work-from-home professional, who stays with her kids and husband in South Delhi.

Set-up for winters

When its damp, cold and dark outside, with temperatures freezing and Corona compounding gloom, there are always ways to lift your spirits and make your abode both pleasant and inviting. People also want to get their homes ready to ring in the New Year and Christmas cheer.

Certain materials and textures bring instant warmth to a space. Says Neeta Kumar, founder and designer Inhabit store, “It’s a good idea to get a velvet sofa as it goes really well with winters. Throw in a lot of cushions. Buy a bedside runner if you haven’t bought it so far as it will help you avoid the cold marble on floor when you get down the bed in the morning. If you can rethink flooring, then opt for wooden flooring which brings lot of warmth. I am also in love with leather flooring which I have in my bedroom- leather on the floor versus sofa has a totally different connection with the body.”

Define the undefined

One of the best ways to bring intimacy and warmth to a place is to define the undefined spaces, be it on the floor, walls, ceiling, windows.

Wall sculptures and art lend character to wall, which otherwise has no personality. But if you put, say, a Navagraha sculpture, it can get the walls talking.

Carpets bring an instant feeling of balminess to any space. Pair your carpets with some throw cushions, floor seating, nice warmers to snuggle. That will create the perfect ambience to watch your next Netflix series. As for colours, while the neutral, saturated colour palette is preferred in winters, summer is all about cool, bright, pastel and fresh hues. Says Angelique Dhama, Chief Marketing Officer, Obeetee, “Wool and wool-blended are the more preferred materials in winters, and silk, cotton, viscose and jute in summers. Flat weaves are not recommended for winters.” A carpet’s pricing is defined by the quality, density and pile composition. Tufted types come at a flat price of 650/sq ft while hand-knotted ones start at Rs 900/sq ft and go up to Rs 9,000/sq ft depending on quality and composition. At Jagdish Store, carpets are available in sizes such as 4 feet by 6 feet, 5 feet by 7 feet, 6.5 feet by 9.5 feet, in a price band of Rs 12,000-2,50,000.

Renovating with curtains and carpets is a big trend during Covid times. Obeetee’s Dhama shares some quick tips for customers to bear in mind while buying carpets. “Customers should first analyse the place, colour and interiors for which the carpet needs to be sourced and accordingly select the carpet. But for winters, colours should be in warmer tones, patterns should be classic, and materials should be warm enough,” she says.

The cost of the curtains depends on factors such as material, weight of the fabric in grams per square meter (GSM), weave, value additions like embroidery or printing, customisation, kind of pleats, kind of lining and finishing of the product. It is advisable to get curtains one shade darker than the walls. But there is also a trend to have wall-blended curtains. Says architect Aparna Kaushik, “Curtains that match your wall colours provide camouflaged richness and allow the furniture to take centre stage. While flax occupies the top position, bamboo curtains are also in trend. The idea is to get voluminous curtains- with billowing and airiness, you can make the room lighter and more spacious.”

Some places are simply wasted as they are not defined. Partition is another way to make your space look intimate. Experts advise dropping in a partition between living and dining spaces to make your rooms look cosy. Recently, Inhabit store launched living room charpoi and sofa sets with a mesh design inspired from honeycomb “let it bee” series. Says Inhabit’s Neeta Kumar: “Although some people regard bees as pests, Albert Einstein famously said: ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.’ The global honey bee population is plummeting. The effects of the demise of this tiny creature extend far beyond the shortage of a few jars of honey. It could have a devastating impact on global food security; since it has been estimated that honey bees are responsible for pollinating over 90 of our food crops worldwide. So just a small tribute for this wonderful creature.”

Lighting accents

Dramatic light accents are the easiest way to add instant magic to your living spaces. In vogue are bigger fixtures that attract instant attention and soft finishes veering towards soft gold, matte black or muted metallic tones. Take a look at Good Earth’s latest range of lanterns and candle stands, which feature vintage jewelled pendants. Their collection of handcrafted glass vases made by hand blowing technique can also hold sweet-smelling candles for evening soirees and a bunch of multicolored flowers during the day. A poppy candle stand with stone base from Arttd’inox (Rs 7,995) is a showstopper and available at DesignOne online, an initiative by Sahachari Foundation’ just launched ‘The All Seasons Edit’.

Rich textures

Festive winter decorations are all about incorporating rich, textural layers and seasonal colours that reflect the season. Trying out a dark colour theme in rooms will help create a cosy, soothing environment. Says Nitin Jain, Founder & MD, Home4U, “Generating a monochromatic look would help in adding warmth to the space. The decor for winter should warm up your rooms and you can use soft lighting and rich colours for the same. It is imperative that the fabrics used for sofas or curtains are given special focus keeping winters in mind. The best fabric to go for is Velvet–it looks elegant and is perfect for the upcoming season. To complete the whole cosy look, one can also add rugs on the floor.”

As evenings get cooler, create snug corners by adding elements which brighten up the living spaces. Says a Good Earth spokesperson, “The most effortless way to add a burst of colour to your homes is by having an assortment of cushions that not only provide comfort but also bring warmth to your living spaces. For example, our festive collection, Pusp.añjali, features a range of jewel-toned cushions in lush winter fabrics such as silk velvet and brocade with delicate sequin and authentic zari work are perfect statement pieces to enhance the night-time festive splendour.” Silver and gold cushions are trending – take a look at brand Rearrange collection with Fionna (Rs 2,950) and Agnes (Rs 2,750) cushion cover, available at DesignOne online.

Fireplaces & barbecue

Fireplaces have traditionally been the heart or hearth of the home and the centrepiece, with the family gathered around on cold winter nights. However, the modern digital age has, in some way, relegated the fireplace more to a feature and design statement with modern gas and electric fireplaces. Hence manufacturers have introduced the outdoor fireplace where entertaining is done with a barbecue as part of that outdoor living room/kitchen. Says Daniel Belnick, Director, Master Fireplaces: “In Sunny South Africa, the land of the Braai (Afrikaans for Barbecue), Jetmaster from SA have taken the outdoor wood BBQ to a new level with their contractor series which is an open wood fire, a barbecue and Pizza oven all rolled into one. Outdoor Barbecue and fireplace or the outdoor living room need not be that large -the cosier the better. Probably around 250 sq ft approx.”

What are the recent trends and innovations in fireplace as well as barbecue? In the case of wooden fireplaces, companies have been striving to improve efficiency and working towards cleaner emission outputs. This is largely owing to the government’s stricter environmental standards. Says Belnick: “Wood fireplaces have also gone from the traditional fire to suspended fires, landscape linear designs and multi sided options and some very cool free-standing wood fireplace designs. The new blue tooth technologies and digital operation are some of the innovations.”

A good fireplace will cost you Rs 2 lakh or so. Says Belnick: “One can buy a cheap Chinese or super fake electric fireplace from Amazon for Rs 15,000, but you get what you pay for. A decent fireplace starts at a lakh, with the average quality built in fireplace at around Rs 2 lakh installed with imported ones such as European or Australian made suspended wood fireplace around 8 lacs plus.

The barbeque range in charcoal at Rs 22,500, whereas the built-in-gas BBQs can go up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Getting the outdoors Christmas- & winter-ready

Winter is also time for sunbathing and sunbrellas. The terraces, balconies, front lawns, front yards – whatever you have- need to be revisited for creating an inviting atmosphere. Get the right outdoor furniture with weather-proof material such as wicker, bamboo, concrete, wrought iron and stone work, resin, polyurethane.

Planters, water bodies, interesting stone artefacts like sculptures help to create an interesting outdoor ambience. There are a host of things you can get depending on how much time and money you want to spend. Falgun Shroff, Partner, Sources Unlimited, enlists the accessories to create the perfect outdoor ambience. “A sunbrella, planters, ceramic or concrete material artefact, outdoor foldable shade or free-standing parasol, fireplaces, bars, daybeds, a ceiling mounted swing or on the floor base one and vertical gardens,” he says.

Outdoor lighting is another whole project in itself. According to Ashok Basoya, Founder, Ottimo, “When choosing lights for outdoors, remember the adage “less is more” and choose a few aspects to highlight. Mood lighting using spot lights and concealed lights helps to draw attention to interesting aspects of your outdoor landscape.”

Table: Key brands, trends and prices in home decor

Items Trends Brands Price range (Rs)
Carpets Layered (area rugs over carpeted floors, maximalist (pops of colour and bold patterns), and eco-friendly & natural (made from natural fibres like jute and sisal) Jaipur Rugs, Hands, Flooring India Company, The Weaver, Rugberry, Plush Weaves

Intermediate range: 13,500-50,000

Luxury range: 70,000-1,50,000


Natural materials such as flax (most popular), bamboo; Voluminous: billowing and airy, Wall-blended

Nina Campbell, Missoni, Swayam, Bombay Dyeing, Red Hot

Intermediate Range: 5,500–10,000

Luxury Range: 45,000–80,000

Throws and Cushions

Contrasting Materials: Fabrics and textures that contrast with furniture to bring plushness; Colour Blocking: Mixing and matching colours and prints to brighten up the room

Zoco Home; Cottons and Silks, Tulip, Shades of India, Manglam Arts

Intermediate range: 8,000– 15,000

Luxury range: 15,000–40,000

Intimate lighting Bigger fixtures: Designed to create a “Wow” factor and become centerpieces, Soft Finishes: Veering towards soft gold, matte black or muted metallic tones. Ivanka Lumeire, Sans Souci, Jade Design House

Intermediate range: 50,000–75,000

Luxury Range: 2,00,000–5,50,000

Outdoor Furniture Mid-century Style: vintage furniture with whimsical curves and filigrees for the garden; Lounge Furniture: Comfy daybeds and chaise lounges are looking to become the most popular items for backyard decor. Sprech, Maison Du Luxe, Gebe

Intermediate range: 15,000–1,00,000

Luxury Range: 2,50,000–20,00,000

Fireplace Two-way: Offer double the warmth, work best for open plan spaces; Ultra-modern: Suspended and futuristic shaped, offer a sleek style Stone Art

Intermediate Range: 1,00,000–2,00,000

Luxury Range: 4,00,000–25,00,000

Barbeque Metallic Finish Fire Bowls: Open basin cast iron or hammered copper fire bowls; Sculptural Stone: Stone worked fire pits Evo, DCS

Intermediate Range: 25,000–50,000

Luxury Range: 1,00,000–15,00,000

Source: architect Aparna Kaushik

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