How to cozy up your home for winter
This time of year, as it gets colder and colder outside, many of us get the instinct to make our homes feel as cozy and inviting as possible. It’s the perfect opportunity to rethink your winter décor to give yourself a nice, warm sanctuary for the next few months.
The challenge sometimes lies in how to make your home feel cozy—for many people, it’s easier said than done! To make your job a little bit easier, we’ve put together a list of seven ways to turn your space into a winter retreat. Pick one or two items on the list if you just need a few pops of warmth, or try them all if you want a complete overhaul. Up first: it’s all about the fabrics.
Use Warm, Soft Fabrics
Arguably the easiest step you can take to make your space feel more inviting is to use soft, warm fabrics wherever possible. Many home décor styles involve pieces that use harsh materials like metal, glass, or plastic. And while these items may look beautiful in your home, they may be responsible for the feeling that you’re not quite at home in your own space.
If your setup prominently features these harsher materials, you might want to actually swap some of them out for softer counterparts during the winter months when cozy-ness comes at a premium. As an example, you could swap a wood or metal bench for our beautiful Monty Storage Bench. Both of our current fabric options—sherpa and velvet—will immediately bring some warmth to your living space.
You can also choose to keep your existing focal points and just add warm décor instead, like placing a table runner on top of a glass coffee table or a throw blanket on a metal chair. Throw pillows are another easy addition—just make sure to pick soft fabrics like knits to create the right feel.
Add Extra Rugs
In the same vein, rugs go a long way towards establishing a softness in your space.
Rugs are the unsung heroes of the design world. If you’ve ever been in a room and just felt like it wasn’t quite “finished,” chances are, it was missing a rug. And while you may not pay too much attention to the rugs that are in a space, you’ll definitely notice when they’re not in a space.
Rugs come in every shape, size, color, and aesthetic you could possibly want, so don’t be afraid to do some searching to find the right style for your home. But if your aim is specifically to make your rooms feel cozier, opt for rugs with a higher pile height. If you’re not familiar, pile height measures the length of the fibers that stick out of the rug. They typically fall into three categories: low, medium, and high. Low pile rugs are the kind that feel “flat” when you step on them, while medium and high pile rugs will have a bit more of a texture under your feet.
While a low pile rug will still add some warmth to your space, the additional bit of fabric and texture from a high pile rug will make a much more noticeable impact right away. Some people even choose to swap out low pile rugs during the summer for high pile rugs during the winter. And if you already have rugs in every room of your home, you can even try layering rugs on top of each other (typically with different textures or patterns) to play with the additional depth.
Use Soft Lighting
Next on our list is incorporating soft lighting throughout your home. This tip is especially important if your home has bright, harsh overhead lights in every room.
You have a few options for softening up the light in your space. First, if your bulbs are all bright white, swapping for a softer color like a yellow/white can help. You can even get creative with colorful bulbs that will completely transform the feel of your space, like red bulbs for a moody, darker vibe.
Another popular option is to upgrade your overhead lights to include a dimming function, giving you the option to soften your lighting anytime you please while still maintaining the default brightness as needed.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of incorporating softer lighting options like lamps and candles throughout your home. Whenever you don’t need the full overhead light, turn on your lamps instead. The best part of this tip is that there are tons of lamp options on the market, so you’re sure to find something that fits your style. Neon signs, traditional floor lamps, Christmas-style twinkly lights, and even LED light strips can all serve the same ultimate purpose: softening your space.
Pick Inviting Scents
Now that we’ve covered lighting, it’s time to talk about scents. If you’ve ever stepped into a fancy hotel, an upscale clothing store, or a spa, you know how the right scent can make you feel immediately at home. The same principle works in your own home, and the trick is to find a scent (or collection of scents) that feels like home to you. Your choices won’t be exactly the same as anyone else’s, but that’s what will make your space feel custom-made for you.
The most common scents people associate with “cozy” are warm scents like vanilla or cinnamon, nature scents like pine or wood, and seasonal scents like pumpkin or peppermint. These cozy scents also help to bring the holidays into your home.
Add these scents to your home with candles, potpourri, essential oils, and fresh greenery. Find a tutorial from Simplistically Living on how to make your own potpourri here.
In general, scents that feel heavier in the air are more likely to give an inviting feel than lighter scents like citrus or cotton. But again, pick whatever feels good to you!
Light a FireIf you have a fireplace, lighting a fire is the #1 quickest way to make your home feel more inviting. Make sure there is seating close to the fire so your family and guests can enjoy the warmth and ambiance. We suggest keeping a basket of blankets nearby, for yourself and guests to easily grab one to curl up by the fire. Add some holiday cheer to your fireplace by decorating your mantel with fresh greenery and seasonal accessories.
If you don’t have a working fireplace, don’t worry! If your fireplace is faux, you can decorate it by stacking up wood or adding a cluster of candles. If you don’t have a fireplace at all, technology is in your favor. On most of today’s TVs, you can play a fireplace video on a loop for a surprisingly convincing replacement. While it won’t quite have the same look and feel as a real fire, something about the experience does still liven up the home and make it feel more inviting. You can even combine this option with a fire-mimicking candle scent to maximize the impact.
Feature Personal Knick-Knacks
Oftentimes, the homes that feel the coziest and most put together are also the ones that feature personal memories in the design. Why? These little items remind us that actual people live in the spaces we’re visiting, which immediately makes the space feel more welcoming. During the winter, especially throughout the holiday season, having personal memories on display will give your space a warm feeling.
If your home is lacking in personal details, that may be one of the factors contributing to the “cold” feeling you’re trying to avoid. Instead, try hanging family photos, pulling out family heirlooms, and displaying the little knick-knacks and trinkets that you’ve accumulated over the years. The more guests get the sense that they know your personality from the items you’ve chosen to display, the more inviting your home will feel over time.
Decorate for the Holidays
For a quick fix that doubles as a festive celebration, bring out all your holiday decorations! Your decorations don’t need to feel “soft” to work for this purpose—anything that fits the spirit of the holiday season will work. You may have noticed that even outdoor spaces start to feel a lot warmer when they’re dressed in holiday lights, wreaths, and bows. Something about the spirit of celebration makes everything feel more inviting, and the same goes for every room in your home!
If you don’t have many holiday decorations on hand, you’ll have a choice to make. You can either center the ones you do have all in one room to make that space feel extra cozy, or disburse them more evenly to give a little boost of warmth to every space in your home. Some of our favorite items are garlands, lights, and throw pillows that give the nod to your holiday(s) of choice.And if you really want to get ahead for the future, shop the clearance aisle of your favorite home goods store after the holidays are over. You’ll get the lowest prices on whatever is left since the stores don’t want to hold useless inventory all year, and you can pack it up with your current pieces to store until next year. Plus, it’ll feel like a fun surprise when you get to unbox decorations you’ve never used before next year!
Final ThoughtsYou’re not alone if you’re feeling the winter cold and hoping to transform your space into your warm, cozy safe haven. As you can tell from these tips, it’s easier than you might think to completely swap out the feeling your space evokes when you walk through the door. Whether you’re working with a sprawling mansion or a small apartment or studio, you deserve a space that feels like it welcomes you home each and every day. We hope you were inspired by these seven tips and enjoy putting them to the test in your home!