With winter on the way, we often start counting down to brighter, warmer spring days – but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Winter can also be a time to embrace duvet coats, warm drinks, comfort food, and nights snuggled up indoors. And what better way to make the most of hibernation season, than to explore ways to make your home cosier?
An increasing number of people in the UK are adopting a hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’) lifestyle during the winter months. Hygge is a Danish word that encompasses the idea of cosiness, contentment, and surrounding ourselves with good things and good people.
Interestingly, The World Happiness Report always sees Denmark listed in the top three happiness countries – and it’s believed that their cosy lifestyle has a lot to do with this!
So, to help you maximise your cosiness and comfort and experience some hygge of your own, we’ve put together this list of eight ways to make any home feel warmer and more inviting during the colder months.
From beautifully scented candles to warm, plushy throws – who knows? You might even start welcoming winter with open arms…
1. Light some candles
Candles are known for creating a soothing, cosy atmosphere – whether you’re curled up on the sofa, enjoying a bubble bath, or reading a book in bed. Because they produce a gentle, mesmerising light and a lovely scent, they’re also great at tapping into the senses and keeping our minds focused on the present moment.
If you’re in the market for a new candle or two, then some of our favourites that you might want to try are this White Jasmine Jar Candle from M&S, this Winter Signature Candle from The White Company (which smells like spicy cinnamon, fresh zesty orange, and rich warming clove), or this Yankee Candle that smells like fresh, fluffy towels.
Alternatively, you could consider making your own candles – which can be fun and relaxing. Plus, you’ll get to experiment with different colours and scents, so you’ll end up with the ideal candle for you. Check out this helpful guide from Hobbycraft to find out more.
2. Update your bedding
Your bedding can also have a significant impact on how cosy you feel at home during the winter months – especially when the urge to hibernate is so strong! So if your sheets are looking a bit old and tired, or your duvet or pillows have lost their lustre, it could be time to invest in some new bedding.
Our article, 7 tips to help you choose the right pillow, explores the link between pillow quality, sleep, and health – and is worth a read before you update your pillows. It includes information on how to choose the best pillow for you, based on factors like sleeping position.
When choosing a duvet, it’s best to first consider how warm you’d like it to be – and whether you’d prefer a year-round duvet or one that you swap for a lighter one in the summer.
Summer duvets are usually 1-7 tog, while 7-9 tog duvets are often described as ‘autumn’ or ‘spring’ duvets. 10.5 tog duvets are seen as the best year-round duvets, and anything above 10.5 is only usually suitable for winter, and may be too warm throughout the rest of the year.
Down and feather-filled duvets are usually the warmest – though synthetic duvets can be best if you suffer from allergies.
For more tips and advice on choosing the right duvet, have a read of this article from the Independent.
Alternatively, if your pillows and duvet are in good condition but you fancy giving your bedroom a fresh look, you could simply update your sheets. Wayfair has some luxurious duvet covers and sets, as do Next.
If you usually go for neutral-coloured bedding, you might want to consider introducing some warmer tones by adding coloured or patterned cushions and throws (which we’ll cover in more detail below).
3. Add plants to your home
Plants might not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about how to make your home cosier. But the fact that they bring colour, texture, and positivity, and have numerous health benefits, makes them a perfect addition to a hygge lifestyle.
The best way to use plants to add warmth to a sterile space is to choose ones that are different textures, sizes, and shapes – and to get creative with how you display them. For example, perhaps a small, spiky cactus can be tucked next to a tall cheese plant and a mid-size spider plant for maximum cosiness. This article on creative ways to display indoor plants from Ideal Home has plenty more tips.
And the good news is that even people who aren’t particularly green-fingered can enjoy houseplants. Just have a read of our article, 10 low maintenance plants that can add life to your home, for some ideas.
4. Add colour and texture with throw blankets and cushions
Throw blankets have the potential to warm up any space by adding texture and depth, and by giving it more personality. Plus, curling up in a throw blanket will keep you physically warm and cosy too!
There are plenty of different ways you can style throw blankets; for example, layered on beds, draped over a foot stall, or neatly folded over the back of the sofa. For more styling inspiration, check out this article on 7 different ways to style a throw from The Design Edit.
Throw blankets also come in various sizes, textures, and colours – so choosing one can sometimes be tricky. To help you decide what sort of throw blanket is best for you, it can help to consider things like… Will the blanket be decorative or functional? If it needs to be functional, does it need to be warm? And if it’s mainly for decorative purposes, do you want it to complement or contrast other colours in the room? Where will the throw be placed (as a throw for a bed will often be larger than one for a sofa)?
For example, this Catherine Lansfield Cosy Diamond Throw from Next has more of a boho vibe, and its pattern makes it a great contrasting statement piece to layer up over plain white bedding.
Or if you want a really warm blanket that has soothing and comforting vibes, this Dreamscene faux fur fleece throw blanket is ideal – and comes in 10 different colours, from cream ivory to purple grape.
Cushions also have a similar effect to throw blankets, in that they draw you into a room and get you in the mood to snuggle. And this is true whether they’re arranged on the bed, sofa, or your favourite armchair.
There are all sorts of cushions to pick from, and choosing and arranging them can be fun. Even if you want to stick with more neutral colours, you could go for cushions in different shades of grey, cream, or brown – or in different shapes and textures – to add depth.
Alternatively, if you wanted something a bit more eclectic, you could choose some cushions in bolder colours or patterns that complement existing colours in the room; such as shades from your sofa, wallpaper, throws, or curtains.
If you like to be more daring, you might want to choose colours that contrast. For example, salmon, yellow, or green cushions will really make a neutral-coloured sofa pop.
Check out this article from The English Home on how to choose and arrange cushions for more ideas and inspiration.
5. Create warmth through lighting
The lighting in your home can have a significant impact on how warm and inviting it feels. Harsh, overhead lights can make a room feel larger and colder, while dimmed lighting can create a cosy, more intimate atmosphere. The latter can be ideal if you’re entertaining guests or relaxing after a long day.
Lamps, fairy lights, and dimmer switches
A quick and easy way to create a more gentle glow can be to get some cosy lamps and position them on low tables in the corners of rooms to create shadowy textures. If you enjoy reading, you could also create a little reading nook by placing a nice lamp next to your favourite chair or spot on the sofa.
Fairy lights, fireplaces, and candles can also add ambience to a room and act as ‘supporting lights’ for lamps if you want a bit more light without it becoming too glaring. They’re also great to have on while you’re doing things like watching TV, where minimal light is required.
Dimmer switches are another option for creating warm lighting. They offer great versatility, as you can easily turn the light up or down whenever you need to.
For more lighting ideas, you might want to check out this article from Real Homes, which includes tips on things like wall lighting, statement lights, and spotlights.
As well as what type of lighting you have at home, it’s also worth thinking about the bulbs you use and whether these emit warm or cold light.
The higher the kelvin (K), the colder the lights – so it can help to choose bulbs that are 3000k or less (candles are roughly 1850k!) if you prefer warm, soft lighting.
Bulbs between 5000k and 10,000k are much cooler and can make a room feel more like an interrogation room than somewhere to relax.
6. Add a cosy rug
Hardwood, tiled, and laminate flooring are common features of modern homes – and while they can look elegant and are easier to clean and maintain, they can also make a space feel cold and sterile.
Adding rugs, however, can instantly bring warmth to a room – and not just underfoot. Rugs can add colour, texture, and depth, and help to accentuate existing furniture. They can also bring a room together by uniting separate elements. Many people add rugs to carpeted rooms too or layer them up, for even more cosiness.
Rug choices will usually depend on what aesthetics you have in place already, how much foot traffic will pass through the area where the rug will sit (nylon rugs, for example, can be easier to clean), and what sort of vibe you want the rug to bring to the room.
To get some ideas, why not check out this article on 20 of the most joyful rugs to ground a room from House & Garden?
7. Display your photos
Many of us have photographs stored in boxes or on our phones. But framing them, or creating photo collages, can be a great way to make empty walls look less stark.
Photographs can also boost the mood of a room by reminding you of good times and/or people you care about. Holiday snaps are a classic example of photos that can transport our minds to warmer, sunnier climates, and increase feelings of warmth.
There are many different ways you can organise photos; from creating boho wall hangings with tassels to putting together an eclectic gallery with mismatching frames. So, if you have lots of photos, then it’s the perfect excuse to get creative.
Check out DigDig’s list of 75 creative ways to display your photos on the wall to get inspired.
8. Don’t forget fragrance
Cosiness isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s about contentment too – and few of us don’t appreciate a nice smelling home.
Although scent will usually come down to personal preference, some are considered more autumnal or wintery, and are therefore cosier than others. For example, notes such as sandalwood, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cranberry, orange, and apple.
If you’re not into candles, there are plenty of other ways you can add scent; from reed diffusers to automatic air fresheners.
A couple of our favourite fragrances are this Molton Brown Orange and Bergamot reed diffuser, which has top notes of Sevillian orange and neroli – as well as this sandalwood and jasmine automatic spray air freshener from Glade.
Whether or not winter is your favourite season, there are few other times of year when we can find an excuse to get quite so cosy!
Whether your home is large, small, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to add some hygge to your winter decor. And you might even find a newfound appreciation for the chillier months in the process.
Have you added some cosy touches to your home this winter? Do you practise hygge? Or do you have any additional tips for creating a cosy home? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.