Photo: Fuzzy blankets and rugs may make your room cozy! Freepik
6. Celebrate with your place settings!
Due to, ahem, global circumstances, we may all be celebrating on smaller scales. Even if that is the case, you don’t have to downscale your glamor! Coordinated place settings, plates, linens, flatware, and decor can truly elevate any meal. If that sounds too “matchy-matchy,” try blending both formal and informal materials like candlesticks with striped linens and wooden plates and a mason jar for a vase, for instance. Of course, look beyond the table and make sure the rest of the room pulls in threads that complement the rest of the table’s decor and vice versa; you don’t want a clash on your hands.
If all of this still sounds like too much, let some fresh flowers do the work for you. Go with greenery and white blooms for a simple, minimalistic yet elegant take, or go bold with big reds and pinks for a statement table. If you find yourself falling somewhere in between, pick some flowers out, then decorate your table with neutral elements that enhance your style without going overboard. Don’t forget to use string lights and candles to your advantage – those are easy to place and will elevate the ambiance without much effort on your part.
Smells are linked to our hippocampus, which is where we process feelings and reactions. That is why scents can affect our mood. Furthermore, it is why good smells make us happy and bad smells, well, make us unhappy. Fragrances are also strongly linked to our memories, which is why a fir-scented candle might always make us think of the winter time, for example. That memory is continuously reinforced, so it is a hard connection to break, especially if you light a fir-scented candle every Christmas.
To spread these lovely scents through your home, try steam diffusers, reed oil diffusers, candles, or electric plug-ins. Different scents can have other effects on you: some can be energizing, some can help with relaxation, and some can soothe you to sleep. Change your scent arrangements through the day depending on what effect you are looking for, and make sure you do not leave any flames unattended! Some scents commonly thought of as “winter” themed are spiced scents like cinnamon and nutmeg, vanilla, and lavender.
We are well aware that we no longer live in the ’70s. That doesn’t mean a cute little accent shag rug won’t add warmth and coziness to a room, so just try it out and see! Your pets will love it. Another option is getting a fuzzy blanket (or two or three) for your space. If you are not familiar with the Danish concept of Hygge, it essentially refers to the comfort and coziness in your home. Fuzzy, oversized blankets are the ultimate hygge accessory, and the Danes know what they’re talking about.
If shaggy, fuzzy things are not your style and you will not have it, no way, no how, then let’s consider some other options to make your home cozier. Try layering a patterned rug over a jute or natural fiber rug if that’s what you have. It’ll change the look of the room without needing to rip anything out. Make sure it coordinates with what you already have in the room because you don’t want to have too many things going on in the room. Keep reading to discover more ways to keep your home cozy even after winter is over.
Like we discussed with the bedroom redecorating, you can bring in new textures and textiles without putting in much effort. In this case, all you have to do is pick the right table runner! For a casual chic look, go with a black and white checkered table runner and an antique lamp, plus a little greenery on the table. Voila! The table decor has been upgraded. If you prefer bolder colors, choose a red and black checked table runner, or you may pick greens or more neutrals – there are no rules!
Table runners are great because you can choose to keep your table visible without worrying about staining your table cloth. It also serves to protect your table from warm dishes when serving up, and hopefully, it won’t get stained from any spills! If you choose to elevate your table’s decor another step, you can add napkins, though it is not a necessary element in this case. Don’t worry about the length of your table runner; it can be longer than your table, as long as your table, or shorter than your table – the etiquette on that varies, and it is not “tacky” no matter how you place it – it’s a matter of taste.
Fresh baked cookies are pretty darn exciting, right? I mean, who doesn’t love them? Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, or gingerbread men to fill the house with a gorgeously yummy smell of sugary treats, and more importantly – a treat for later. You can even do it with your family as a fun activity or maybe an ongoing tradition! If you are watching your waistline (which you shouldn’t be because you should be living your best life), then you can still bake something that smells delicious without worrying about calories: stovetop potpourri.
To make a stovetop potpourri, combine dried cranberries, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, whole cloves, candied ginger, a vanilla bean pod, a rosemary sprig, and a candied orange peel in a pot with simmering water. Keep adding water, so it does not get too low. That is different from boring, stale potpourri in that the scent is released when it is simmering, so it doesn’t sit in a bowl collecting dust! Your home will smell absolutely wonderful – and you might catch yourself making it year-round.
To make your home feel ultra-cozy for the long winter nights, you might want to take another look at your lighting situation. Softer lighting creates a warmer environment at home, which is where you escape from work to relax. Fluorescent lights emit strong UV and can even lead to some eye disease, so why not give yourself a break from them? If changing the bulbs to a different temperature is not an option, maybe you can add a dimmer switch to the outlets you do have, though that does require specific bulbs as well.
If you aren’t familiar with the different light temperatures, let’s briefly go over them. Color temperature describes the light’s appearance and is measured in degrees from one thousand to ten thousand. Typically, the colors are represented as warm white, cool white, or daylight. Warm white is the coziest and inviting of them all and is best for living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. You can use warm white bulbs in lamps and chandeliers. The brightness of the light then can increase to daylight bulbs, which is typically described as “invigorating,” so you can tell that’s not exactly the ‘relaxing’ scene you would try to set after a long day at work.