Snuggle Season: 5 Ways to Warm up Your Home this Winter

January 2024

article by meggie shaw | photos by yardly daigneau

Winter is upon us, which means pulling out all the warm gear, preparing ourselves for floors that are constantly wet and dirty and overflowing closets with the aforementioned winter gear. In the midst of all this, you might even find yourself saying, “I am not a cold weather person,” more often than you mean to. It’s not necessarily because we don’t like winter; the season does have some perks... 

Winter is beautiful and crisp, but the grind of the cold and lack of sun can have us feeling blue. With some preparation, we can set ourselves up for mental contentment during the cold months by warming up our homes. I like to ensure the place where I spend the most time has warm elements to make me feel comfortable and peaceful. It’s the joy you get when you have that perfect blanket, your favorite mug, and you’re watching one of your favorite movies or are nose deep into a good book.  

5 Key Elements to Create a Warm & Inviting Environment  

1. Blankets  

Think of your favorite sitting spot in the house; this is where your blanket should live. Stop putting it away because you’re just going to pull it back out. If you’re like me, it will be tied around your waist like a towel. Pick a color that you love, but try to get a darker shade of that color to give it a warmer vibe. Colors like maroon, dark green, mustard yellow, and navy are great to add a pop of color to the space. 

Pro tip: When choosing a blanket, purchase one with some texture, not just fleece. Woven, waffle knit, and crochet are best for design. They look better when left thrown over your chair or couch. I guarantee you’ll enjoy your blanket more if it’s also meaningful. That may mean spending extra money to get exactly what you want, not just a random one. Etsy is always a great place to find handmade things!  

2. Candles 

There is something about a candle; it just does the trick. I recently read that the soothing effect of candles is based on how the brain processes smells. The smell of scented candles stimulates our limbic system, the part of the brain that is home to our memory and emotions or nostalgia. When lighting a candle, hormones like serotonin and dopamine can be produced to help regulate mood. We need all the serotonin we can get with winter’s lack of vitamin D.   

Pro Tip: Generic candles have toxins in them, so be careful! Instead, try this… make your own! You can do it right at home. Pick out a unique jar; this is the fun part! Get creative. You could grab something you already have or go hunting. Goodwill, Marketplace 3301, and Yesteryears all have a great selection. Pick an essential oil you love and follow the instructions on this DIY! It's such a fun girl's night activity.  

3. Lighting

In addition to candles, nothing says warmth and cozy more than the perfect lamp. Each room should have a lamp in it. To set the mood, turn out the main bright lights and use only your lamps. The game changer is to ensure you have incandescent or LED light bulbs that produce warm yellow light. You don't want a bright white light in your face, so changing these will make all the difference. If you don’t have the wiring for a new light fixture, you can always get away with a battery-operated wall sconce to create ambiance!  

Pro Tip: Lighting makes a statement in the room. Decide what style you’re going for in your home and pick something along those lines. Just bite the bullet and spend the extra bill on lighting! World Market has a great selection of unique lighting options. Again, you can add vintage light to a more modern home; it gives the house a fun uniqueness. We don’t want the same basic Target lamp as everyone has. The perfect lamp could be one you find at an estate sale that’s ALMOST perfect. Another easy DIY is to grab a can of textured spray paint and update it. 

4. Texture 

The more texture, the more warmth. Don't be scared to mix and match textures. Ensure you have a balanced mix of wood, metal, wicker, stone, and other textured design elements. The easy things to add to warm it up are wooden elements. Some ideas would be cutting boards, coasters, and accent chairs. Another item that adds warmth is baskets. These can store your blankets, toys, books, and shoes; they are a catch-all. The last idea is adding some unique stone around the home. This could be your favorite mug, a vase, or a jar on your kitchen counter. Mixing these in will surely bring warmth.  

Pro Tip: Choose one space and scan it over. Do you have at least 3-5 elements? If you have all wood or all metal, consider adding a decorative accent of a different element.  You can try playing the fun game of can this go on my wall? The most unexpected things can make stunning wall art. The trending basket wall is always a great way to add texture. Do you have a book you love? What if you ripped some pages out and framed them? Do you have a collection of something? Display it on your wall.  

5. Greenery

We need to bring the outside in with most of the trees bare and grass covered with snow. Every room should have a lamp and some greenery in it. It just makes the space feel like it has some life in it. I know it's hard to keep plants alive, but trust me, get the real thing. You won't regret it. My go-to plant is pathos; they are pretty and easy to keep alive. Another easy option is dried flowers. Put some dried flowers in a vase and call it good. Plants and flowers are also an easy way to add a pop of color and remind us that spring is coming!!  

Pro Tip: Pick out your plant and go hunting again! Hit the local antique shops and look for anything that could hold a plant! You might find something super unique and creative. Be open to all ideas. My friend has a plant in a vintage tin oil container, and it’s perfection! 

These five ideas should help you add some unique warmth to your home this winter. You probably already have most of these things lying around. When in doubt about what to choose or what to put where get what you love. If it makes you happy and feels good, do it! If you are having trouble with putting what where, keep moving things and playing around with it. It's also best to take things home and try them out in real life; you can always return things. Create a space that feels authentic to you.  

Originally printed in the January 2024 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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