It’s the time of year when the crisp evening air gives way to frosted morning windowpanes. It’s a season of get-togethers, hopefulness, wonder and warmth. At least it should be. If you’re not feeling the whole warm winter mood, perhaps you need a little change to your environment. From piles of pillows to extra softness underfoot, here are six easy ways to add a cozy, calm feeling of winter to your home.
1. Surround yourself in softness. Something as simple as a sheepskin rug casually draped over a sofa begs you to close your eyes and nap awhile. Whether real or faux, rich-textured sheepskin evokes coziness and plays a big role in Nordic homes during winter.
Using sheepskin in unexpected places, such as on your dining chairs, is both luxurious and enveloping. It adds just enough luxury to feel special and inviting — two important aspects of creating warmth.
Blankets, obviously, are another source of instant softness, offering security that connects to some of our earliest memories. A casually tossed throw blanket is an opportunity to wrap yourself in physical warmth, nestle down and cancel your plans.
Leaving throws on your sofa and chairs is a simple but nurturing gesture. Because a throw signifies comfort, it’s a good way to add visual warmth.
2. Add some velvet. Fabrics have a lot to do with the mood of a room. A leather chair has a much different “feel” in a space than a chair upholstered in velvet. Once a material reserved for royalty, modern-day velvet is both extravagant and relaxed.
A velvet sofa is an opulent way to add comforting texture to a room, but you don’t have to splurge on full-scale furnishings to get the same ambiance.
Try velvet slipcovers for a low-commitment approach to warming up your bigger pieces during the winter months.
Good to know: Performance velvet works well for families with children because it’s a long-wearing textile with a soft, plush pile.
3. Pile on the pillows. While it’s true that a sofa or a bed doesn’t need a ton of pillows, piling them on for movie nights, small gatherings or a long stretch of rainy days creates a pillow-fort kind of vibe.
Related: Pile Up the Throw Pillows
When it comes to pillows, employ a maximalist approach. Use enough to sit against, hug tightly, put behind your head and stuff around yourself for an instant nest.
4. Set up a hot beverage station. Pull out a pretty tray, set our your favorite mugs, and fill jars, bowls or tins with treats such as tiny marshmallows, chocolate-dipped biscotti, peppermint candies and cinnamon sticks. Boil some hot water and put it in an insulated carafe next to an assortment of calming teas like chamomile, lavender and peppermint and you’ve got an instant welcome home.
5. Cluster your candles. Candles have long been used to set the scene for everything from formal dinners to romantic interludes. When scented, they can provide a powerful sense of place, reminding you of special memories every time you enter the room.
Clustering multiple candles together in varying heights creates a dramatic and magical glow. Try dimming the lights and allowing candles to illuminate the room.
Soaking in a hot bath is already an amazing way to let go of your cares, but adding candles to the mix enhances the aura, helps clear your head and eases you into a calm state of mind.
Group tealight or votive candles together on a plate, along a ledge or in holders near enough that you can watch them flicker.
Good to know: Make sure that whatever you’re using as a candle holder is sturdy, safe and unlikely to tip over.
Although there’s no real substitute for a roaring fire in the fireplace, clustering candles together is a quick and smoke-free way to create a similar feel. Don’t use special occasions as the only reason to light them — do it for yourself as a means to lift your spirits on a gloomy, overcast day.
Important note: If you live in a home with curious pets or small children, battery-operated LED candles are the best choice to avoid accidents and injuries.
6. Swap in some shag. In warmer weather, a bare floor or a low-pile carpet can keep a room cooler both physically and visually. When the temperature drops, swapping out the floor covering for a shaggy rug adds cloud-like softness underfoot. A shag area rug can completely change the aesthetic of a room and immediately makes it feel cozier.
A lighter-toned shag has added seasonal appeal. It’s evocative of a cozy lodge or snow-covered ground.
Swapping out your floor coverings is a great time to get the previous rugs professionally cleaned and rolled (if possible). They can be stored is thick plastic for when warmer weather returns.
Good to know: When vacuuming a shag or tufted rug, you want to turn off the roller brush and use only the suction feature. The roller brush will snag individual pieces of the rug and pull them out. This is especially true of fringed edges.