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Let winter inspire your rooms

Use the inspiration of frosty winter colors and shimmering, icy textures to create rooms that look gorgeous year-round.
MELISSA RAYWORTH Modified: February 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm •  Published: February 25, 2013

Burnham's favorite wintry wall color right now is a shade called “Silver Spoon” by Dunn-Edwards. “It's a really, really pale gray-blue, and I cannot tell you how many rooms I've used it in,” she said. It contrasts well with white for a modern look or with warm shades of brown for a more “organic and earthy” feel.

Schuneman loves mixing wintry whites, silvers and grays accented with shades of purple. Or he sometimes pairs “a gray that has blue as its base, and a blue that has gray in its base” and brings in “hard edges, like crystal lamps” for a chic, “wintry feeling.”

It works anywhere

Winter-inspired design can work in any climate, from a Vermont ski house to a California beach condo.

“I did a bedroom in the Hollywood Hills with icy blue walls, and the headboard wall was all metal ceiling tiles,” Schuneman said. For the bedside tables, he chose pale blue glass lamps that resemble melting chunks of ice.

“You can really go for it” and do a full-on winter-inspired style, Schuneman said, or use just touches of it as “the thing that gives a room an edge.”

In Southern California or other warm locations, Burnham said, it may work best to mix winter-inspired items with something more reminiscent of the local weather.

“Think of a beautiful driftwood table with something sparkly on it. That brings it back to the sand and the beach, and keeps it relatable” to your warm-weather location, but also includes a bit of icy beauty, she said.

Balance icy with cozy

Along with shimmery, mirrored surfaces, be sure to include soft, cozy ones: Look for “beautiful cable-knit cashmere throws,” Burnham said, or “a big faux-fur coyote blanket on a bed. It's wintry, but it's also so luxe, so high-end hunting lodge, and that works at the beach, too.”

Layers of soft fabric on furniture and floors bring a welcome feeling of warmth. If you choose a “fluffy, white flokati rug for the floor, you're still having a kind of wintry moment,” Schuneman said, “but it's just not hard-edged.”

What not to do

Just don't get silly, Flynn said. “First and foremost, I let my client know that just because we're going wintry, it doesn't mean we're going to pop out igloos, snowflakes and polar bears. In other words, we completely avoid themes and cliches altogether.”

Instead, he said, “we just think of different ways to use whites, grays, metallics and textures in a manner which fits their personal style and makes a room feel airy and open. That's usually my trick to getting winter-inspired design right.”

Melissa Rayworth writes the Ask a Designer column monthly for The Associated Press.