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How to Create a Cozy Home in Cold Weather

November 22, 2021
Woman layering a blanket onto a couch

When the temperatures start to drop, there’s nothing better than coming into a home that feels like a nice warm hug. A cozy home plays off the senses – whether it’s a warm vanilla scent, soft inviting fabrics, or heat radiating from the fireplace, it’s a place that makes you want to snuggle up with the ones you love. Instead of cranking up the heat and balking at an expensive bill later, there are easier ways to give your home a warm, welcoming ambiance.

We’ll walk you through simple steps to create a cozy home in cold weather.

1. Play with textures

Think about when you go shopping: do you touch the things you feel most drawn to? Often, “touchable” items will have interesting textures. Incorporating soft, enticing materials is an easy way to make your home feel cozy. Think fabrics you’d want to snuggle into - fuzzy sheepskin, faux fur, rich velvet, fleece, a chunky knit, or nubby bouclé. The best part is that you can incorporate these textures in a variety of applications from bedding to pillows to rugs and more to create a cozy feeling throughout your entire home.

Fuzzy rug, knitted poufs, and a gray couch in the great room in the Condos at Regatta in Auburn Bay, AB

2. Pick the right palette

The colors we surround ourselves with may seem like a small detail, but they can have a huge impact on our mood and feelings. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors – think rusty red, burnt orange, even rustic brown – and tend to evoke feelings of warmth and comfort. Hunter or olive green is often associated with lush greenery found in nature and is a refreshing and tranquil color. Be careful not to go too color heavy, you want to balance anything you use with a warm white to avoid an overly saturated look. Infuse your preferred color into patterns associated with cold weather such as buffalo check plaids or tartan. Try an unexpected take on warm colors by using metallics such as gold, copper, or brass. The kitchen is a natural location for these materials whether it’s accent pieces like a canister set, cutlery used during the holiday season, or fully commit with your cabinet pulls.

Happy family with little son having fun at home

3. Layer, layer, layer

Adding an extra pair of socks or a sweater to your outfit can make a huge difference in cold weather. That same difference can be felt in your home when you add layered rugs, blankets, and even décor! Bedding is a great place to start. We all know it’s better to sleep in a bedroom kept on the cooler side, but that doesn’t mean we need to be ice cold. Swap out your lightweight summer sheets for some with a warmer fabric such as flannel or fleece, add a blanket, or throw on a heavier down-filled comforter. Once you’re awake and ready to start the day, the last thing you want to do is swing out of bed and place your bare feet on a cold floor – what an unwelcome surprise! Place rugs in well-traveled spots in the home including bedside, hallways, entryways, living areas, and even the kitchen.

Fuzzy rugs used on a dining bench and in a bathroom in Brookfield Residential homes in Calgary, AB

If you use curtains for your window coverings, opt for a thicker fabric that will not only help keep out the drafts, but makes the room feel more plush and elegant. Think about your bare surfaces like the coffee or dining table. Bare tables feel light and free during the summer, but can feel stark and blank for fall and winter. Add a tablecloth or runner to help warm them up. It doesn’t need to be too formal, use something as simple as a long scarf. When all else fails, add a blanket or pile on the pillows. Blankets can be draped over couches, across dining benches, at the foot of the bed – pretty much anywhere! When you’re finally ready to relax, the last thing you want to do is get up to find a blanket. You want to be able to pull one over for easy snuggling wherever you may be. Pillows are the lifeblood of seasonal décor – they can easily be swapped to reflect the change in weather, reflect your personality and style, and we can all agree there’s something inviting and cozy about a couch with plenty of pillows, it makes you want to sink right in!

4. Let there be light!

If you close your eyes and picture a cozy home scene, chances are it includes a fireplace. If your home has one, make it the focal point by adding smaller stools and chairs that can easily be pulled up closer to the warm hearth. Make sure your larger furniture is centered around the fireplace so that guests can easily gather and enjoy conversation. If your space doesn’t have a fireplace, try small clusters of candles to create that same warm effect.

Living room with fireplace and cozy seating at The Village at Castle Pines in Denver CO

In that cozy home scene, the lighting is probably soft and glowing. Nothing kills a relaxing vibe faster than harsh lighting, but that doesn’t mean you need to be fumbling around in the dark either! With cold weather months come fewer hours of daylight so it’s important your home is still bright while remaining inviting. Swap out your lightswitch for a dimmer so you can enjoy the best of both – bright lighting when you need to perform tasks and softer lighting when it’s time to relax and unwind. You can also add small table lamps that emit a warm glow and use those in lieu of your larger overhead lighting. If you don’t have side tables or extra lamps would cramp your space, try using smart bulbs in your existing fixtures. They let you adjust the color and ambiance all from your smartphone allowing you to transform the mood of your room in an instant.

Knitted blankets on a wooden ladder

5. Bring in the outdoors and embrace organic

If the colder weather is keeping you inside, bring in the outdoors. The key to bringing life to a space, other than filling it with friends and family, is incorporating nature. Place small plants and succulents throughout your home, create a fresh floral arrangement, or go faux if your thumb isn’t quite as green. A simple garland adds vibrancy and can be used throughout each season. Use elements such as pine cones, chestnuts or acorns in your holiday tablescape. Embrace organic elements for your home pieces by going more wooden and rustic – think warm cocoa in a cozy cabin, but with a modern twist. Go for a live edge coffee table or rustic wooden blanket ladder (remember, having blankets that are easily accessible is always great). Even a material like leather has a natural feeling that can be used in a variety of ways such as a pouf ottoman.

Wooden tray of coffee and candles on bed

6. Elevate with scents and sounds

Feeling warm and cozy goes beyond what you see and can touch. Music has been shown to help reduce stress hormones and boost levels of feel-good dopamine. Either curate your own personalized playlist or check out the ones designed by Spotify. They have an entire genre of cozy playlists designed to enhance and elevate your ambiance without being overbearing.

Scent is one of the most powerful memory and emotion triggers. Warm vanilla may bring back fond memories of holiday baking. Pumpkin spice may remind you of walking through those crunchy fall leaves. Use scented candles or potpourri with your favorite wintry or autumn fragrances to help you and your guests feel relaxed and happy.

Woman hands with cup of hot chocolate close up image

When all of these elements are layered together, the end result is a cozy home that is not only inviting and beautiful, but a lovely backdrop for all the memories you’ll create with family and friends. If you’re looking for more design advice, homebuying insights, or moving tips and tricks, the Brookfield Residential blog covers it all. Be sure to follow along for more!