Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

January 19, 2011

How about a little dose of touchy-feely, tactile imagery today? Few do cold weather better than the Scandinavians, don’t you agree? From an outsider’s perspective anyway, it seems they fully embrace it and take whatever northern light they have and use it to their advantage. When I read Danish design magazine, BoligLiv, I am aware of just how lovely interiors can be when you let a little winter in. These images are from the home of designer Kim Samson from a recent issue. Samson graduated from the Danish Design School in 1991 and went on to work for IKEA and to form the design firm Harrit-Sørensen + Samson and now she designs lighting as a freelancer for Le Klint in Copenhagen.Anyway, these photos below are from her gorgeous home. (Don’t tell her that I want to kick her out and move right in, okay?)

When it comes to lousy weather, I adore this attitude of, “Let’s make this work!” as so many “hate winter”, “wish it would end” and “dread this time of year”. I understand why, and I complain like everyone else, but let’s try to be more positive about it and create our own winter mood at home, in our yards, with our families that is filled with twinkle lights, comfort food, mugs of hot cocoa and really cute mittens and hats to keep us warm.

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

Maybe you can try to create a welcoming winter vibe in your home by bringing in more tactile objects — knitted pillows, leather, wool throws, velvet drapes, a handsome throw rug to add texture, a branch collected from a walk that you’ve placed in your favorite vase — decorate it with small artwork from your children or something you make by hand — your jolly old tree may have been taken away after xmas but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate a branch to give you good cheer. I’m in the mood for this kind of thinking… Why be miserable until March? It’s been so dark for the past few days and after a dose of warm weather and sunshine last week I feel a bit fooled by mother nature! Instead of feeling annoyed and down, I’ve decided to embrace these dreary days and enjoy the pause that a gray day can bring. Looking at gorgeous rooms from homeowners who embrace winter give us clues as how they’re using winter as inspiration in their decor.

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

Earlier today, I asked some of my twitter friends what they do on dreary days and here is some of the advice that I received…

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

Now back to beautiful things that make gray days good. Sometimes all you need is great lighting, a little warmth, and a cozy spot to curl up with your favorite book, person, pet – or all three if you are lucky!

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

What is your recipe for joy on an otherwise dreary day?

(images: kristian septimius krogh via kool and kreativ.)


  • Reply sandra lund January 19, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Even though I’m Scandinavian, I really need warmth. So when the days are grey I cuddle up with tea, lamp fleece and sometimes my electrical warming blanket I know very granny-like, but I don’t care!). Then I read blogs :-)

    • Reply decor8 January 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      @Sandra – right on, I read blogs too! :)

  • Reply Anke January 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    So true. I always take winter as the best opportunity to get lots of work done. When the weather is nice it can be sad to be stuck inside working, but in winter it’s cozy. (And I enjoy the fact that winter means no migraines, because I get them in hot weather.)

  • Reply Cassie January 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I’m a fan on sitting on the couch with either a book or a good TV series and drinking some Chai tea.

  • Reply Ludmila {} January 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I read blogs too! Under a warm blanket, with a lighted candle right next to me. And warm tea or coffee. Dreamy, no? :)

  • Reply mrs.m January 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    bad weather, good blogs, no problem

  • Reply laura January 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    having fun on grey days is one of my favourite topics to write about in my blog (unfortunately, all of these posts are in german only). (: thanks for the great tips & inspiration!

    have a great winter!

  • Reply Casa e Cose January 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    …but i love winter! I love the cold and the snow. That means I can go snowboarding or just play in the snow with my son. I adore comming home to Stockholm and find that freshness. And yes there isnt much light but that is just so cozy. After being out you come in and do some warm chocolate and watch or movie or something. Super!

  • Reply Benedicte January 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I really agree with the idea of embracing the season and making the most of it, even though I sometimes get tired of the long winters here in the cold north. There’s something to be said for being able to stay in the moment and not always be wishing for what’s to come (in this case spring, summer, warmer weather).
    In the winter months I fill my home with wool and fur throws, pillows, light candles both mornings and afternoons, cook slow meals, watch movies, and read books (and blogs!).

  • Reply Jes January 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I live in the desert where it’s warm and comfortable in the winter, but everything is a different shade of brown. I often crave cold, blustery days just to stay home and relax with a blanket and a magazine.. of course you always want what you don’t have!

  • Reply kitchen-dreams January 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    make something warm to drink and turn on a few extra lights.

  • Reply SchoolhouseKat January 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Paint! I haven’t posted the pix yet but last weekend I stenciled a stairway and painted the basement in light, bright colors. Music is also really key for dreary days, preferably something you can sing along to like the Bee Gees or Abba.

  • Reply Elissa January 19, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    If it’s really a foggy dreary day I’ll either watch Twin Peaks or some other gloomy feeling show/movie with a cup of tea. Some days just can’t be cheered up, so sometimes just enjoy the gloominess.

  • Reply Dagmarette January 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Living in Southern California, I thankfully don’t have to deal with much dreary days. Although when the occasional one comes along I usually whip out my spatula and bake something. It brings warmth and comfort on those cold days!

  • Reply Michael Hampton January 20, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Paint with my watercolors in bright cheery hues!

  • Reply Sarah January 20, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Definitely a cup of tea, my cat sleeping on my lap keeping my legs warm :) and guilty pleasure TV like the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ or ‘Tabatha’s Salon Takeover!’ love those shows!! I do have a big plant in my kitchen adorned with green Christmas lights and I leave Christmas lights around my kitchen windows all year – they are on greenery and since the windows are large, it looks good with something there. I always have white lights around the window at my kitchen sink too. I love turning off all the lights except those – its just a warm glow.

  • Reply Tracy Kunzler January 20, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Plants can really do it for me. We have a nursery nearby with a greenhouse full of gorgeous houseplants that pipes in classical music as you browse. I usually treat myself to a new houseplant in January when the tree and all the holiday decorations have been put away. Cutting pussy willow, curly willow and forsythia branches and putting them in water inside to force blooms also cheers me, as does forcing other bulbs. Our local Trader Joe’s always has a terrific selection of fresh flowers and small houseplants at reasonable prices!
    Thanks to all for the good ideas.

  • Reply Rocio Rincon January 20, 2011 at 3:35 am

    For the winter blues, I make myself some hot cocoa, watch a comedy movie, and I grab as many blankets as I can. I also love to draw and paint with bright colors. Xoxo

  • Reply erin January 20, 2011 at 3:46 am

    well i guess it depends on whether or not the dreariness is too brutal to be able to go outside! we like to go pack a picnic & go snowshoeing when we can.

    if i’m home alone, i’ve usually got my brain wrapped around a project so the outdoor weather doesn’t bother me much- it’s kind of pretty to look at (if your favorite color is grey!) & it’s nice to enjoy it from indoors.

  • Reply Lucia January 20, 2011 at 4:03 am

    fly to Italy :) LOL

  • Reply janis - pinecone camp January 20, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Perfect for a cold day – baking something delicious, then pairing that with a coffee and a pile of magazines.
    I love the last shot of the dining room….it’s so inviting, warm and welcoming.

  • Reply Jen January 20, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Well…I make sure my home is colourful to begin with. Not crazy children’s toys colours, but there are colours on the walls and in my accessories. Having a plant or two around helps as well.

    Having prepped my environment this way, when the dreary days come (and they do around here, boy oh boy…), I make myself an extra-special hot cocoa or tea, put my head down, and keep going. I find getting a little extra exercise—usually throwing snowballs for our collie or playing with t he cats (is that exercise?) helps, too; not just the movement, but those crazy critter antics help me laugh and perk up.

  • Reply Katie Truelove January 20, 2011 at 5:22 am

    The streets of NYC were completely grey and slushy today- ick! I took some pretty pictures of bright orange clementines in the morning light- simple beauty but it was great to focus on something creative and colorful.

  • Reply diana strinati baur January 20, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I am very lucky to have my own little pottery studio in an old barn at my B&B in Italy, and when it’s grey, I go in there and whip up some new pieces. Right now I am working on a set of chargers, large soup bowls, espresso cups, tea cups and simple vases, all to be glazed in single, silky matt colors of butter and celadon and siena. I make the glazes myself, which requires concentration. But for the rest I have great music on (right now Buddah Bar and Milano Fashion Week selections), brew some tea and get down to business. After that it’s yoga and a long walk with my labrador. Perfect way to spend a winter day.

  • Reply ARTiculateART January 20, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Chocolate fondue with marshmallows or hot chocolate with marshmallows, or rose tea with a little honey is always good.

  • Reply Kiti January 20, 2011 at 9:10 am

    hahaha, yes me too, i read blogs too,but if not, a good book or film always is a pleasure:)

  • Reply Enna January 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I love how cold a winter can be while the sun is shining very bright and the beautiful pale skies. They only look grey, but there are so many different shades.

    Recipe: A winters walk, hot chocolate/coffee/milk/tea, apple pie, movies, magazines, books, games…

  • Reply nathalie January 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

    am I the only one ??? I LOVE winter ! on darker days i bring lots of little lights in the house (candles and small lamps), at the moment, there are dark pink tulips in the living room bringing warmth and joy … and I totally agree with Elissa when she says “Some days just can’t be cheered up, so sometimes just enjoy the gloominess” … and on these days, i am extra loving towards myself :) sending you lots of sunshine and crisp blue sky from Bordeaux !!

  • Reply Emily Smith Pearce January 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Thanks for this post. The change of light in the last week has been hard. In general I think I’m beginning to really appreciate gray—-it’s got its own charms, but today is a little harder than most. I think I’ll go light the candelabra I got at the Flohmarkt :)

  • Reply Emily Smith Pearce January 20, 2011 at 11:13 am

    p.s. Read Moomin Midwinter not long ago, a Finnish children’s book about a creature who wakes up in the middle of a seemingly endless winter. It’s a great midwinter read.

  • Reply Ariana January 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    A pot of tea and my journal have been my go-to when it’s all looking a bit drab. I think winter is a great time to do more inward reflection– mimic the trees, let our internal roots grow a bit deeper. That said, fresh flowers go a long way too!

  • Reply Vanessa January 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    “From an outsider’s perspective anyway, it seems they fully embrace it and take whatever northern light they have and use it to their advantage.”

    As a Brazilian having lived in Denmark, I think that comment is spot on!

    Thanks for a great blog :)

  • Reply giardino January 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    A cat on your lap is very cozy at the keyboard!
    I love snowy days, I feel like crawling under a quilt and watching movies…particularly old ones or maybe a Masterpiece Theater marathon:)

  • Reply Melissa- Miss Sew & So January 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    an endless pot of tea….following the sunshine round my house as it moves rooms so do i….being an australian living in england can be tricky by this time of year…my kiddos are outside racing around as though they are on the beach in sydney…whilst i am rugged up ridiculously and handing them out warm snacks!!
    love your blog…& looking forward to buying your book!!

    melissa x

  • Reply Traveling Mama January 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I was dreading the winter because last year’s was so cold and snowy, but I’ve actually enjoyed it. We love the candlelight, the soft shadows, and the excuse to cuddle! And we know that spring is never far away!

  • Reply Rachel January 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I take more Vitamin D. :-) Being crafty helps me and baking- the one good thing about winter- it warms the house!

  • Reply Radish January 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I love January. There is my own time in January and I love doing my projects. There is no guilt and nothing like working in the yard interferes. It is the drearies of March that are hard.

  • Reply Jenny January 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for the post! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about winter and just embracing the moment as well.
    Some of my favorite things are a good cup of tea and a great book- preferably one like ‘the secret garden’ or ‘winter solstice’ which help me appreciate winter and anticipate spring! This year I also made new flannel plaid covers for my living room throw pillows~ coziness helps! :)

  • Reply samantha hahn January 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    inspiring post. I deal with seasonal affective disorder big time. I need to just try and perk up and enjoy the cozy indoors. I do miss the light though. Maybe I need to get some better furniture to cuddle up on.

  • Reply Jen Ramos January 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    A nice warm coat and a hot cappuccino… Love that.

  • Reply monica of hola!design January 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    great post, I try not to complain too much, I live in NJ and after living all my life in Mexico and Miami, this was a big change. I still see snow as a magical phenomenon and when it’s dreary I go ice skating and then for hot chocolate. If there’s a blizzard, of course I stay home with my blanket.

  • Reply shari January 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    It’s cold & a bit dreary here… about every other the day the sun shines, though… so I do crafts that help brighten up the place. This weekend was paper flower garlands for the mantle and translucent wax hearts for the windows…. and I also wear warm socks, cuddly sweaters, and have nice cups of tea/coffee, depending on the time of day.

    Lovely post… it’s good to read what other people do on cold, gray days. In California, I would even feel a bit sad in winter, but here in Pennsylvania… it’s a tad bit colder! I don’t even want to go outside! Still, it’s lovely to see snowfall. That’s a mood brightener for me… :-)

  • Reply MichelleP January 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    If it’s really cold & grey (& on the weekend), we make a huge pot of soup that simmers on the stove-top all day. It makes the house smell so delicious & cozy, & it’s something special – just for Winter.

  • Reply MelanieM January 20, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    i live in houston tx, so a cold gray day is a treat to me, especially if i can stay inside, make a fire, read. i love soft gray winter light. my studio has lots of windows, so when i do work on gray days i enjoy the soft silvery light in my studio. if it is too cold i can’t work–i have tried everything and i can’t get my studio warm enough.

  • Reply the fabled needle (jen) January 21, 2011 at 4:56 am

    well sheesh, seems like winter has come and gone already! (not sure if i’m happy about this or not.)

    i love decorating with white and off-white and lots of silver and gold (vintage-y line mercury glass or something). they’re pretty in the winter light. i also find it helps to bring some greenery indoors – i was so sad to say good-bye to out tiny christmas tree!

    i also drink A LOT of hot chocolate. more than is healthy but it helps me cope. ;)

    my cat helps me deal too. in fact, i can hear him snoring in the wardrobe right now.

    hope all is well with you!

  • Reply T January 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    a cup of tea and a furry rug to rest my feet on while reading or writing.

  • Reply Mary Jackson January 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    On a cold wet day, I light a fire and watch the flames, make soup and read or watch a film or study/resarch an interesting subject online. Candles and lamps warm the greyness of the day. Fur and wool throws, cushions and colourful accessories add comfort to winter days/nights. When I have to go out onsite I run a bath after I return and thaw out my frozen, damp bones.
    Then I put on my cozy pyjamas and close the curtains to keep all the heat in. Snow brightens the winter light and turns the landscape into a magical place which I love but we dont get much snow in Ireland.

  • Reply Julie the Alkaline Sister January 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Gosh, I need to stop complaining about the dismal, wet, dull, grey, miserable, cold weather here, don’t I? It’s tricky when it’s day after day. But your post today had made me realize that I don’t embrace these days cuz my house isn’t where I want it to be-cozy wise. So I am taking your cue and fluffing today and making it feel yummy to be in so that it doesn’t matter what’s happening outside. Thanks for waking me up out of my weather depressed state! Now I’m excited about decorating, in betweeen blogging of course:)

    • Reply decor8 January 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      @Julie – Hi honey! Your weather in Canada is dreary, eh? Yeah, here as well though the temps are great, high 30s low 40s so there is this “hint” of Spring in the air. They are already selling tulips, daffodils and lilac in a local shop which makes things “feel” better somehow — even though they are most likely grown over the border in some Dutch greenhouse!! xo

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