Transitioning the home from summer to fall is more about aesthetic color, mood and theme. Between fall and winter, climate comes more noticeably into play – grayer skies, rainy (or snowy) weather, truly c-o-l-d temperatures that make you shiver – – those require more than just visual changes.
True winter weather requires extra steps to make the home – and its occupants – warm, welcome and cozy
9 Cozy Steps For a Winter-Ready Interior
Yes, I’m an interior designer – but home design is not just about looks. It’s very much about structure- so you’ll notice that some of the tips below have to do with weather-prepping the home, as much as they are about deco or cozy textiles.
- Seal the envelope. This step always tops the charts for home improvement websites and now you’re going to read it on this interior design site. If your home leaks, it’s impossible to stay warm. There will always be a draft and we won’t even talk about the cost of heating a home with air leaks. If you’re a DIYer – a little caulking and weather stripping is all you need. Read 8 Easy Ways to Seal Your Home… from houselogic.com. Otherwise, contact your HVAC contractor to ask if they perform the service, or request a recommendation for a licensed professional who does.
- Invest in throws. In a perfect world, throw blankets would adorn every chair, sofa and bed in your home. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of reading, watching TV, napping or curling up under a throw, you always feel a bit chilly without one. They are also a wonderful way to warm up a leather couch, which can feel cold to the touch on a cold winter’s morning.
- Install heated floors in the bathroom. If you feel up to it, add heated flooring throughout your home. It’s an energy-efficient way to maintain a constant, interior temperature – although it’s best left for when you’re ready to commence a larger home renovation project. In the meantime, installing heated floors in the bathroom(s) is a fairly straightforward task (not to mention a good excuse to install new flooring…) and you will be amazed at how warm and cozy it keeps your bathroom spaces – no more cold, hard-surface flooring on warm bare feet in the morning, middle of the night or after a steamy, shower or bath.
- Use essential oils and a diffuser. There are a myriad of diffusers on the market. A simple Amazon.com search turns up hundreds of results with a seemingly infinite array of styles. In the wintertime, the added humidity is a welcome change to dry air, especially for those who use their wood burning stove or fireplace as a heat source. Blending cinnamon, clove and a little vanilla or putting together a wintergreen mix will infuse traditional seasonal spices and scents into your living spaces whether something’s cooking or not. Make sure to use 100% pure essential oils to keep your home free of unwanted chemicals and overpowering scents.
- Set up a winter tea station. High-quality carafes are sold at virtually any restaurant supply and high-end kitchen store. Purchase one and keep it filled with steaming hot water. If you’re a coffee drinker, fill one with coffee. Set it up on a serving cart and put out a basket filled with a variety of teas, cider and hot chocolate. It’s fun to have easy access to some of your favorite winter beverages while working from home, online holiday shopping or enjoying a rainy weekend movie (or reading) day. Do it up coffee shop style and you’ll wow guests when they realize this is how you cozy up every winter day.
- Think about color. For those with homes that have stunning exterior views, monochromatic color palettes work well because the landscape outside is so vibrant. However, at this time of year, Mother Nature herself decorates with a more monochromatic palette so you might find bringing a little color indoors helps to lift your mood a bit. Rich reds and chocolatey browns are always a good choice. Or, if you’re someone who craves the sun, try using vibrant yellows and oranges. An energetic color boost inside can make up for the lower-energy hibernation that occurs naturally this time of year.
- Add a terrarium or nature-inspired art. Speaking of things we miss from nature, adding indoor plants, a terrarium or nature-inspired art can be another way to soothe the soul when everything outdoors look lifeless. Terrariums are a fabulous rainy day project to do with your kids or you can have a terrarium tea party with a group of friends. All you need is a clear vessel of your choice, a little potting soil/moss and either small terrarium-friendly plants or succulents. An occasional mist will keep your mini-ecosystem thriving through the winter and beyond. Of course, nature-inspired art is another way to bring life into your home on a more permanent basis, and it’s always nice to support your local artists.
- Eliminate the clutter. Part of what makes for a cozy home has nothing to do with a specific style or the interior temperature – it has to do with the energy of a space. Cozy homes make us take a deep breath and sigh, “aaaaah” when we walk in the door, even if we don’t exactly know why. Clutter is one of the most prohibitive factors to coziness. It is cramped, busy and stressful – rather than open, clear and spacious. Do what you can to eliminate clutter…especially before you add holiday décor to the mix. I remember one busy year when I waited longer than normal to replace the items I put away to make room for traditional holiday décor. By the time I got them out again, I realized how much I didn’t “need” most of them after all. That year, I donated a rash of items that no longer served my living spaces the way the spaciousness created by their absence did.
- Shag up those area rugs. Often, homeowners choose low-profile area rugs for a more sleek and modern look. This time a year, I say add a shaggy and textured area rug or two into the mix. It will literally provide more insulation between the floor and your air space, and will feel great on your feet to boot. Plus, the aesthetics are warm and comfie, which is the current goal after all.
Need a little help cozying up your Bay Area home this winter? Schedule a consultation with the nearest interiort designer and work with what you have or come up with something new, depending on what your goals and budget call for.