Winter can seem like a never-ending season dampened by drizzly weather, cold temperatures and dark nights that can leave you in a miserable mood to match. Combat the seasonal blues by creating a cosy home that can be your sanctuary while winter rages on outside. In fact, the act of taking pleasure and contentment from a cosy environment is known as ‘hygge’ – a term coined by the Danes. Hygge is a central part of Danish culture, which perhaps explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.
In the quest for creating a more cosy, hygge home, where do you start? Our advice: hunker down with a hot cup of cocoa and read on for our tips on how to create a cosy home this winter.
Alongside rain, sleet and wind, winter is known for its long nights and dark mornings that can leave you with a less than sunny disposition. While it might be dark and cold outside, you can banish misery by using the magic of light to create a warm, cosy haven in your home.
Soft, diffused light works best in creating a cosy warm atmosphere so opt for globe lamps to cast a diffused light in your space. As well as being on trend (did someone say circular silhouettes?) the globe shape evenly disperses light and produces a soft light and a warm ambience – perfect for creating a cosy living room or adding warmth to a bedroom. Choosing lamps or pendant lights with brushed brass or gold accents helps reflect the warm metallic hue around the room making it feel doubly cosy. Materials like beech, birch and other light wood will create a similar cosy feel.
Avoiding harsh overhead or strip lighting is key in creating a cosy mood, but unfortunately not all of us are blessed with installed light fixtures that cast a cosy glow. Our advice? Turn off the harsh lights and invest in table lamps that you can move about the room. Depending on the size of the room or space, place table or side lamps in each corner of the room so the warm glow is spread out and you have enough light for your activities, whether that’s reading a gripping novel or watching that new true crime documentary on Netflix.
If your existing lights are dimmable, then an easy fix is to dim the lights low for instant cosiness.
2. Snug rugs
Don’t be fooled into thinking that rugs only belong on wooden or uncarpeted floors. Of course, rugs on uncarpeted floors really help a space feel more cosy, but layering up rugs on top of carpet adds new texture and depth – the shaggier and softer the rugs are, the cosier they’ll make your home feel. Adding softness under foot in the form of layers of rugs not only keeps in the heat, but also means you can sidestep your slippers, although who can resist slipping their feet into a pair of cosy sheepskin slippers?
Cushions, throws, blankets are the ultimate way to crank up the cosy factor in your home. When it comes to cushions, we say more is more. Pile them high on your sofa, chairs and even invest in larger, floor cushions to place round your coffee table. The more mismatched the better, experiment with different textures, fabrics and designs for maximum cosy impact. Fabrics like velvet and chenille add a touch of opulence while sheepskin and wool are the ultimate cosy fabrics, adding texture and warmth.
If we were to suggest just one item to make your home cosier this winter it would be warm blankets or throws. Wrap it round yourself as you curl up with a book and it provides actual warmth, or spread across your bed or sofa and it adds interest and different depths of texture. Depending on the size of your room, don’t just opt for a single throw or blanket; adding more than one means that you can spread it across the sofa and keep the other two or three to be used as blankets by any guests you have. While a pure cashmere blanket might seem like an investment, you’ll get the most cosiness and warmth for your buck. For those with more modest budgets, consider wool, mohair and velvet as inexpensive alternatives.
Candles are essential for anyone looking to bring more cosiness into their space. The benefits of candles are two fold: they cast a cosy glow to warm up a space, and, if you opt for scented candles, then you can also add scenting a room onto the list of benefits.
Dotting clusters of church or column candles around a room will spread out the light and warmth and add a bit of drama to your room. Just remember to blow them out before you go to bed!
5. The scent of cosy
On the theme of scents, smell is one of our most powerful senses which has the capacity to conjure up vivid memories and feelings. Don’t underestimate the power of scent in creating a cosy home environment this winter. We recommend woody aromas that recall a crisp alpine forest or warm, exotic scents that will transport you away from cold, miserable winter to sunnier climes and exotic lands.
Lavender based scents will help create a create a cosy, relaxed environment thanks to its de-stressing, calming qualities. A spritz of lavender room spray will help you unwind and recharge after a long day at work or battling the harsh winter weather. If you’re after a sweeter, more hygge smell then consider Skandinavisk’s aptly named ‘Hygge’ scent with echoes of brewed tea, baked strawberry cake, rose petals and wild mint.
While scented candles are an obvious choice in creating cosy homes in winter, there are a plethora of ways to scent a space to suit every taste, style and preference. While the obvious choice might be candles for their warming qualities, consider simpler, safer formats like scent diffusers and room sprays which work especially well for anyone with young children.
The more adventurous scent explorers might want to think about smudge sticks, palo santo and incense. For a sagey, natural scent then burning smudge sticks and palo santo will not only leave a lingering scent, but also cleanse spaces of negative and lethargic energy – perfect for anyone suffering from seasonal cabin fever. Anyone looking for purification power from their cosy scents should consider burning incense which comes in cone, stick or sachet format. Rich in pure essential oils, incense has powerful properties depending on the ingredients, for example purified lemon balm extracts have been found to be effective in the relief of stress, producing increased calmness.
6. A cosy colour palette
The psychology of colour and the effect that certain colours can have on the mood and energy of a certain space has been well-documented. Generally cool, calm colours are recommended for bedrooms to aid relaxation, while warm, reddish hues work best for spaces like the dining room to encourage and stimulate conversation.
In search of cosiness at home, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cool versus warm toned wall colours. When choosing wall colours for optimum cosiness, consider the depth and richness of the colour rather than the tone. For example Farrow & Ball’s famous Hague Blue is a deep, rich blue that provides a perfect backdrop for cosiness. The depth and richness of the colour creates a cocoon-like effect that works perfectly during cold winter months when you want to feel as far away from the outside world as possible.
In terms of accessorising your home for peak cosiness at home, it’s best to choose warm tones for this. If you’ve opted for Hague Blue walls, then offset the blue with gold or mustard home accessories like contemporary gold lamps, or soft, warm blankets in a cosy mustard colour. If this combination seems too bold for your style then warm natural colours like beige, cream and spiced honey (Dulux’s 2019 colour of the year) are a failsafe option to help create a cosy environment as they’re naturally subdued but still lend warmth to the space.
Winter is not a time to be spending excessive amounts of time outside but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring a touch of nature indoors. Flowers and plants will help bring the outside in at a time when the thought of going outside seems unbearable. Cultivate your own mini jungle by adding flowers and plants which will freshen up the space and add a welcome jolt of colour and greenery.
Lack of light can be plants’ worst enemy and unfortunately winter means long nights, dark days and drawn curtains, so opt for plants that flourish in darkness like monstera, peace lilies, succulents and sansevieria. These indoor plants require little maintenance: no need for direct sunlight and just a drink of water every now and then. Those who can’t commit to plant maintenance should consider faux plants as an alternative to the real deal. Opting for fake plants means you don’t have to be limited to choosing indoor plants that thrive during winter and can build out a mini jungle with any plants or flowers that take your fancy. Advances in production and materials mean that this new wave of faux plants are extremely realistic so it’s likely that passing guests won’t even know the difference.
Air plants are another botanic alternative, that are renowned for their air purifying qualities. Clearing the air of toxins and impurities, they’re very low maintenance and need just a light mist of water every week.
If florals are more your speed then a fresh bunch of flowers or stems every week will add some welcome colour and liven up mantelpieces, coffee tables and dining tables.
Art and prints might not seem like an obvious step in creating a cosy home but we recommend two different ways to use art and prints to make your home cosy at winter.
We’ve recently seen artists and designers turning to figurative, line drawings in their work, producing an array of stunning prints that focus on the human form. Rendered in muted colour palettes and curved lines, these prints work perfectly in cosy homes as they’re both striking and soft in equal measure – they work especially well in homes where natural colours are prevalent.
If you prefer your art and prints in a photographic style, then choosing outdoor or landscape photography can really help create a cosy home. Tranquil alpine scenes or lush winter forests help set the scene and amplify the feeling that it’s cold outside, but cosy and warm in your home.
9. Cosy clothing
While it can be tempting to crank up the thermostat during winter, save your money and the environment by filling your wardrobe with cosy clothing. A pair of sheepskin, wool or shearling slippers are an essential for truly cosy living, keeping toes toasty during sub-zero climates. Alongside slippers, another cosy essential is a thick knitted jumper. From pure wool fisherman jumpers, cashmere cardigans or cable knit sweaters, we recommend doing your research and finding the warmest jumper your budget will afford. Not only will you have it for life but you’ll be grateful for it during the next cold snap.
Everyone’s favourite winter activity is lounging indoors. With the elements raging outside there’s no better time to hunker down in your cosiest loungewear and indulge in a book or film. Cashmere loungewear (think cashmere joggers and a jumper) is the ultimate accompaniment to your next Netflix binge or podcast marathon. While a full cashmere set might not be a feasible option for everyone, shop around to find the perfect loungewear set that suits your budget. Trust us, it’ll make you feel 100% more cosy at home.
Want to know the true secret of creating a cosy home? Refer to Cosy: The British Art of Comfort by queen of cosy, Laura Weir, which focuses on how to turn a house into a home which is the ultimate way to create cosiness in the home. In order to make your home perfectly cosy, it must feel like your own and that can be achieved by decorating and designing it exactly as you want. Whether that’s filling your mantelpiece with your favourite collection of vases and ornaments, piling your coffee table with the coffee table books that inspire you, or stacking your sofa with cushions and soft furnishings that spark joy, make your home your own, and then the cosiness will come.
Our journey through the world of cosy homes has come to an end – we’ve covered everything from soft furnishings to hygge aromas, hopefully equipping you with the tips to make your home a sanctuary of cosy and calm, but what next? Time to explore and shop our cosy home essentials and start living your cosiest life.