As the weather turns colder, it’s time to start thinking about ways to keep your home feeling warm and cozy despite plummeting temperatures outside. From small decor tweaks to more involved home improvement projects, there are plenty of ways to make your home a sanctuary from chilly weather. Here are 11 tips for cozying up your home when it’s cold out.
Keep the Heat In
One of the best ways to stay cozy at home is to prevent precious heat from escaping in the first place. Here are some ideas for keeping warm air inside and cold drafts outside:
Seal Windows and Doors
Cold air can sneak into your home through tiny cracks and gaps around windows and doors. Seal these up by applying weatherstripping around movable joints and caulking around fixed joints. Consider plastic film window insulation kits that create an additional barrier over glass.
Insulate Walls and Attic
Proper insulation in walls and attic spaces acts as a barrier to stop heat transfer in and out of your home. If your insulation is old or subpar, investing in an insulation upgrade can really boost your home’s energy efficiency.
Use Thick Curtains
Hang thick, thermal curtains over windows and sliding glass doors to add another layer of insulation. For maximum effectiveness, make sure curtains are long enough to touch the floor and completely cover the window pane when closed.
Strategize Space Heater Use
Portable space heaters can be an affordable way to heat small areas without cranking up the thermostat. Place them only in rooms you are actively using to avoid wasting energy. Turn heaters off before leaving a room or going to sleep.
The beauty of layering is that you can add or subtract items as needed to maintain comfort as temperatures fluctuate. Use layers to trap heat without overheating:
Warm Socks and Slippers
Don’t underestimate the power of cozy socks and slippers to keep feet warm. Look for wool styles or ones made with insulating synthetic fabrics. And slip waterproof soles over slippers when venturing outside to block cold from the ground.
Wicking long underwear creates an extra layer of insulation under clothing. For especially cold climates, look for thermal underwear made from moisture-wicking merino wool or synthetic fabrics.
Throw a soft fleece jacket, hoodie or zip-up over your base layers for lightweight warmth without bulk. Fleece makes a comfortable house layering piece since it’s so soft and flexible.
Robes and Wraps
When you’re relaxing at home, nothing beats the comfort of a plush robe or wrap. The right lounge wear makes it feel like you’re wrapped in a blanket.
Adjust the Lighting
The right lighting can make a space feel warmer and more inviting. Consider tweaking lighting elements for maximum coziness:
Trade stark overhead lighting for glowing table and floor lamps. Position lamps in corners to soften shadows and create a comforting ambiance. Dimmer switches allow you to control brightness.
Nothing sets a cozier mood than flickering candlelight. Group candles together for a greater visual impact. Just take proper safety precautions like keeping them away from drafts and using heat-safe candle holders.
Dimmer switches allow you to set lighting at a lower, warmer level. Dimmers work with standard incandescent and LED bulbs, instantly transforming bright spaces into warmer, cozier rooms.
Limit Overhead Light
Overhead fixtures can create harsh, cold light. Turn off overhead lighting and rely more on lamps, sconces and natural light from windows. Reflect lamp light off walls and ceilings for a diffuse glow.
Incorporate Warm Textiles
Natural fabrics like wool, cotton and cashmere feel pleasantly cozy against skin. Work more of these tactile textiles into your decor for literal warmth and a general sense of hominess.
Few fabrics insulate like wool. Dress sofas and chairs with wool-blend blankets you can snuggle under. Keep extra folded throws around to ward off chills.
Plush Area Rugs
Covering bare floors with plush, soft area rugs instantly makes rooms feel more welcoming. Rugs also provide insulation. Opt for natural fibers like wool.
While a full cashmere outfit may be impractical for home, a cashmere sweater, scarf, socks or blanket elegantly elevates coziness. Even a cashmere throw pillow feels like a luxury.
Slipping between flannel sheets is like being wrapped in a soft blanket. Look for sheets made with lightweight cotton flannel to prevent overheating.
Adjust Room Temperature Strategically
Not every room needs to be equally toasty. Conserve energy by heating occupied spaces more while letting unused rooms stay cooler:
Use Programmable Thermostats
Programmable thermostats allow you to customize temperatures according to your daily routine. Set occupied rooms warmer during waking hours, then dial them back at bedtime or when away.
Shut doors to unused rooms so you’re not heating empty spaces. Close bedroom doors at night so you can lower the thermostat without compromising comfort.
Use Space Heaters
Supplement central heating with space heaters to selectively raise temperatures only in rooms you are using. Turn them off when leaving to avoid wasting heat.
Warm Up Before Bed
Crank up the heat right before bedtime so you can fall asleep comfortably in a warm room. Then lower the thermostat for overnight savings once you’re cozy under blankets.
Sip on Warm Drinks
Curling up with a steaming mug instantly makes everything feel more warm and peaceful. Here are some cozy drink ideas:
Nothing complements wintry weather like a cup of hot tea. Explore herbal teas, black teas, green teas and more to discover new favorites. Experiment with add-ins like milk, honey or lemon.
For the ultimate nostalgic winter drink, nothing beats homemade hot chocolate topped with marshmallows or whipped cream. Spike it with coffee liqueur or peppermint schnapps for an adult twist.
Sip on warm apple cider spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. For a grown-up cider, add a splash of bourbon, rum or brandy. Garnish with orange slices or a cinnamon stick.
Simmer red wine with orange, spices and either brandy or rum for an aromatic wintry sipper. Ladle into mugs and top with sliced oranges or cinnamon sticks.
Cook and Bake Comfort Foods
Cold weather instantly makes us crave hearty, nostalgic comfort foods. Whip up some of these warming recipes:
Roast Chicken or Turkey
Nothing nourishes like a home-cooked roast chicken or turkey breast. Make sandwiches and soups from the leftovers. The oven heat warms up the kitchen as it cooks.
Beef Stew or Pot Roast
Transform cheaper beef cuts into fork-tender stew or pot roast. The savory aroma and rich flavor make this dish feel like a warm blanket. Serve with bread for dipping.
Mac and Cheese
Creamy, cheesy macaroni & cheese satisfies cravings for a nostalgic comfort food. Make it more indulgent with bacon, broccoli or chili. Add crispy breadcrumbs on top for texture.
Chili or Hearty Soup
Chili, potato soup, split pea soup, minestrone…all simmering pots of hearty soup fill the kitchen with cozy aromas. They make inexpensive yet satisfying meals too.
Burn Cozy Scents
Warm, comforting scents like cinnamon and vanilla can make your environment feel more snug. Here are cozy ways to fill your home with good smells:
Look for candles with notes like baked goods, coffee, cinnamon and wood smoke. Group a few together in safe holders and light before guests arrive.
Diffusers with Essential Oils
Essential oil diffusers humidify air while dispersing lovely aromas like cinnamon orange, clove, juniper berry or woodsy scents. Automated versions turn off safely when empty.
Rehydrate dried potpourri in water and essential oils. Simmer on the stovetop to infuse your whole home with scent. Or use simmer pots made specifically for potpourri.
Bake Fresh Treats
The smells of baked goods like apple pie, pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies make a home smell warmer and happier. Burn a candle after eating to prolong the cozy effect.
Stay Cozy While Entertaining Guests
Don’t let hosting guests keep you from staying toasty this winter. Use these tips to remain cozy while still being an inviting host:
- Provide slippers and wraps. Have a basket of warm slippers so guests’ feet stay warm. Offer wraps and blankets so everyone stays comfortable.
- Make hot drinks. Have an array of warm beverages like tea, cider and cocoa ready for chilled guests. Set up a DIY cocoa bar with mixings and toppings.
- Make hearty appetizers. Warm guests from the inside out with hot appetizers like stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped anything, empanadas, or spinach-artichoke dip.
- Heat throw blankets. Warm up any blankets or throws you provide by tossing them in the dryer before guests use them. The heat lasts for a while and feels great.
- Set out hand warmers. Supply single-use hand warmer packets for when folks need to step outside or just need to thaw their fingers.
- Build a fire. If you have a fireplace, let guests gather around its warmth and enjoy the comforting ambiance. Provide firewood and all necessary supplies.
- Adjust room temperatures. Make any rooms you’ll primarily use hotter before the party. Lower it in unused areas to conserve energy.
Have Cozy Loungewear and PJs Ready
Few things feel better after a long, chilly day than changing into warm, soft loungewear and pajamas. Here’s how to maximize your relaxation:
- Invest in loungewear made from soft, insulating fabrics like fleece, flannel and jersey.
- Look for loose, lightweight styles you can layer together for customizable warmth.
- Footed pants, hoodies, cardigans and robes all maximize coziness.
- Choose natural fabrics like breathable cotton, temperature-regulating silk or wool.
- Look for long sleeves and pant legs to cover arms and legs fully.
- Sock slippers or booties are perfect for colder climates to keep feet extra warm.
Make it a Ritual
- Play calming music and dim the lights to set a relaxing mood.
- Brew a cup of herbal tea or take a warm bath.
- Light candles or use an essential oil diffuser.
- Read a book or do relaxing stretches before bed.
Don’t let wintry weather prevent you from feeling warm, peaceful and content at home. Small upgrades like sealing drafts, lighting candles, sipping warm drinks, and cooking comfort foods make a home feel like a cozy sanctuary. With this list of tips, you can not only survive the cold season, but actively thrive in it. Focus on whichever ideas resonate with you most to craft a customized cozy experience. With a little planning and creativity, your home can be the ultimate refuge from chilly weather.