Photo: Fuzzy blankets and rugs may make your room cozy! Freepik
12. Pretty string lights make everything better.
String lights can bring a beautiful warmth to anything they’re added to. They come in electric or battery-operated options, so take your pick. Weave them around garlands, wreaths, or furniture – whatever you want for an extra twinkly, romantic mood. Put them in vases, add winter-themed vase fillers for an extra dose of soft lighting, or scatter LED candles throughout the room. Lanterns are gorgeous, too, though they can get expensive and take up space, so proceed with caution!
If you have a specific area in a room that you gather around, then you can highlight that space with string lights and candlelight instead of lamplight or overhead ceiling lights. Group some LED or regular candles on a coffee table, or hang string lights over your favorite seating area for maximum coziness. The ambiance of a candle or warm bulb is so much more intimate and allows for real relaxation and connection so that usual lights may not. If you want to go the extra mile, choose some scented candles to set the tone.
Mix up the mediums of stars – paper, metal, fabric, or whatever else catches your eye – and change up the sizes, then hang them up around your space to create your very own planetarium (sort of). The great thing about stars is that they aren’t specific to winter, so you can keep them up long into the new year and not feel like a slacker. If you want to stargaze, even during the day, buy a blackout curtain panel and cut out small star shapes, then hang it up against a window panel. Ta-da! Instant star-studded galaxy!
Try crafting your stars. You could cut out 2D stars and create your own garlands. Even create 3D stars with that nifty origami paper we mentioned earlier. If you don’t have any of that around, there are so many tutorials online on how to make star cutouts from paper bags and coffee filters – just let your inner DIYer free! Use twine or yarn for an extra rustic touch, or wrap a string of lights around a star-shaped frame for a double-whammy of extra rustic goodness.
As we have already established, garlands can be made out of pretty much anything. The same applies to wreaths. Why not step back and revert to basics for a moment? We’ve seen pine used in basically everything, so why not use a different type of evergreen: eucalyptus? This earthy, minty tree has beautiful, oval-shaped leaves and can withstand some serious manhandling, so it’s perfect for projects like this. It is a simple, subtle touch with a fragrant scent – a great touch just where you need it.
You are not limited to using it in a wreath or garland, of course. This lovely leaf is as versatile as its other evergreen friends. You could add some sprigs in a jar with some string lights for an easy DIY centerpiece. Another option is to hang some sprigs upside down, tie them with twine or bright yarn, and create an alternative mistletoe ornament! To dress up your plain pillar candles, decorate them with fresh bunches of eucalyptus and some berries or other accessories.
We are accustomed to seeing red plants like amaryllis blooms or poinsettias around winter time, but we do not need to limit ourselves to a single color! It is so worth mixing up colors and introducing lighter palettes. The great thing about potted plants is that they tend to last longer, too, so you can carry your winter spirit well into the spring if you care for them properly. Vary the colors and sizes of your plants as well as their placement for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement.
For an even bigger impact, wrap the plant’s pot in birch-bark, or repot them into a more decorative planting pot that fits into the theme of your home. Either way, it could be a great way to allow the roots to re-establish themselves and grow, but make sure you do your research if you choose to go that route. Once you have situated (and decorated) all your plants, scatter pinecones, votive candles (or LED tealights), and any other winter-y accessories you have in the empty spaces to make it look perfect.
8. Repurpose wine bottles for a cheap and easy container.
Do you know how you rolled your eyes every time your mom or grandma told you not to throw out that bottle or container? Mostly because they said it would make good use as something else, right? Moreover, you thought that it was just a piece of garbage. Well, here is what they were talking about. Now, it is your turn. Raid the recycling bin for a new set of interesting candlesticks. Replace the labels with wrapping paper of any kind and shiny ribbon, or leave the bottles bare for a minimalistic look. Just make sure you get all the sticky label adhesive off.
Once you have prepped the wine bottles, you can use them as candle holders, vases, string light containers – the possibilities are endless. If you have a specific color palette you are aiming for, then you can paint them with spray paint or a paintbrush (depending on the look you are going for). For a dazzling display, paint a few bottles white, then add silver and white glitter – ta-da! You’ll have sparkle for days. Add tea light candles in votives (LED or regular) and watch that flame bounce off the glitter – you’ll be mesmerized.
7. Use fruit and herbs in your decor. Psst – you can fake this too!
There is something luscious about the image of snow dusting the vibrant colors of fruits and herbs. Maybe it is because we subconsciously associate the freshness of snow and water with the nutrition of fruits, but that’s not the point. The point is that you could replicate that delicious image in your home very easily! Coat whichever faux fruits you’d like – berries, apples, pears – in a dusting of fake snow or glitter for a unique centerpiece. If you need a “glitter” recipe for a realistic snow appearance, try three parts white glitter to one part silver glitter, and thank us later.
If faux fruit is not your style, why not try drying real fruit? Thinly slice lemons and oranges and allow them to sit in a sunny spot for a while – they shouldn’t take more than a day or two. Their liquid should evaporate and leave their oil, which contains their scent. Yummy! They’ll smell great without getting sticky. Use them as a decor accessory on a wreath, make a garland out of them, or use them for ornaments! If you still aren’t into that, why not try using fresh herbs? That’s right. Wrap fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme around a pillar candle’s votive. The warmth from the lit candle will release its scent slowly and will probably make you super hungry.
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.