Not too long ago your home was probably brimming with the warmth and cheeriness of the holiday season. But now that the Christmas tree and decorations are gone, how do you make that cozy feeling last through the winter?
We asked home decorating experts for some easy, practical and budget-friendly tips to extend that welcoming ambiance, especially when it’s fiercely frigid outside.
The elements that make a room feel cozy and inviting are often things that bring back fond memories, said Marie Vetter, co-owner with Jessie Thebeau of Red Door Designs in Cavalier, N.D.
“Anything that makes you feel nostalgic makes you feel comfortable,” Vetter said, noting repurposed furniture, updated antiques and items made from reclaimed wood can bring warmth and coziness to your home.
Blending the old and new creates a homey feeling, Thebeau said, noting that a pure white couch may be pretty to look at but not necessarily inviting.
“If the room doesn’t look welcoming, it’ll never be cozy,” she said.
Scented candles boost the coziness quotient considerably, because scent “makes you feel sentimental,” Vetter said. “It can definitely change your mood.”
Although some people embellish each room with a different scent, Vetter favors using one throughout the home. In the wintertime she prefers nature-inspired scents, such as Very Snowy Spruce by Scentsy.
Lisa Johnson, who co-owns Living Sage home boutique with her son Dalton Lilley, said, “People want things with a warm feeling in winter.”
Living Sage, in Grand Forks, N.D., is teeming with accessories and decorative items that evoke a sense of warmth, including sweater pillows and repurposed furnishings. Many items in the store are handmade by local artists, which her customers appreciate, she said.
“Whenever we can get things made locally, we try to do that,” Johnson said.
It aligns with the reason she and her son opened the store in July 2014.
“We wanted artists to be able to display their items, whether it’s jewelry, lotion or barn doors,” she said. “There are a lot of talented people in the area.”
When choosing things to add a cozy feeling to your home, “I tell people not to be afraid to mix textures — like metals, woods and prints,” Johnson said. “The trend is to use pieces with different wood stains. It’s not so matchy-matchy anymore.”
She also encourages customers not to be afraid of color and in winter to choose accessories in “deep muted tones, such as burgundy, brown, olive green and grays.”
“It’s easy to put colors together (by incorporating) the perfect accessory,” she said.
Here are more tips to make your home a warm, inviting haven this winter:
▪ Add pillows. Choices include quilted fabrics, faux fur, cashmere, velvet and sweater-knit. You could even sew up a pillow from a pretty pastel chenille or bright fake fur for the little girl in your life. In your living room or family room, you can’t go wrong with the decorative textural knit, a cheery bright and a handsome dark.
▪ Toss a throw. Plaid woven blankets are popular this season. What says “come and snuggle” more than a classic red or green plaid blanket or a striped Hudson Bay blanket? For a rustic cabin look, opt for a lot of plaid and tartans in your space. Your family and guests will feel warm and toasty all evening.
▪ Light a scented candle. Coping with winter can be hard, so soften the lighting in your home by turning artificial lights down (or off) and light a candle. Scents play a big role in creating a cozy atmosphere in your home. In scented candles, look for woodsy aromas such as fir, cypress and hearth. To gain the same relaxing effects, you also can opt for diffusers and room sprays.
▪ Cover cold floors. There’s nothing worse than rolling out of bed on a wintry day and heading to the kitchen to make coffee, only to feel your feet freeze on the tiles beneath you. For rooms with tile or stone flooring, toss down a shag or sheepskin rug, carpet runners and bold area rugs to keep your home warm underfoot.
▪ Toast your towels. Treat yourself to the ultimate in winter luxuries. A towel warmer keeps your bath towels toasty so you don’t feel a chill after hopping out of the shower.
▪ Make a warm bed. Add a quilt to the bottom of the beds in your home, ready to just pull up if the night gets chilly. A quilt is really one of the winter bedroom essentials. Flannel sheets and heated mattress pads and blankets also will turn your bed into a cozy nighttime cocoon.