If there were ever a time to cosy-up your home ahead of the chilly season it’s now (well, actually, it would’ve been about a week ago, before many of us experienced the impromptu snowfall a few days ago). Dark nights and crisp, frosty mornings call for a home environment that’s as snug as can be – your personal retreat from the elements.
Of course, cosy looks different to each of us – we all have our own unique ideas of what’s homely and comforting. However, there are a few elements that we, as a collective, commonly find to be cosy in home environments – and all of which are linked with the sensory experiences we have with them.
My book, The Sensory Home ® (which is available to purchase now) teaches you how to use your senses to create a home environment that works for your family’s unique needs – including neurodiverse individuals. It’s full of styling tips to help every room feel warm, inviting, safe, and fit for purpose – in winter and beyond.
Keep reading for a flavour of what to expect from the book, and to learn how to create a cosy home for winter.
3 ways to create a cosy home for winter
1. Go big on texture
Texture is a surefire way to step up the cosiness in your home – and it often requires little time, effort and financial investment too.
Whilst your mind may skip straight to cushions and throws when you think of interior textures (and I absolutely encourage you to fill your sofas and beds with soft and snuggly soft furnishings such as these), I’d recommend considering the bigger picture, too. What’s your flooring like, for instance – could a plush rug add another textural element that will help to soften the room and add warmth? And, what window dressings do you currently have? Introducing a drape – even a delicate one – will help you to create a cosy space.
Elsewhere, look at the textures in your home that you wouldn’t usually associate with cosiness, such as those used for furniture, as they do, in fact, influence the feel of a space. Metal and glass, for instance, can have a cooling or hardening effect on a room, whilst wood tends to have the opposite effect, increasing the warmth of a space.
2. Pay mind to lighting
Lighting plays an instrumental role in setting the tone for a room. It’s primarily important for practicality, of course (meal prepping in a room without lighting in winter would be a nightmare), but it also does the extremely important job of creating the ambiance and determining how you experience a space. Bright, white lighting, for example, makes us feel alert and task-ready, which is why it’s a great choice in an office, for instance. Warm lighting with yellow undertones, however, almost mimics sunset, and signals to our brains that it’s time to wind-down, meaning this style of lighting is great in a lounge. An easy way to quickly readjust the feel of a room is to change the lightbulbs. I also recommend what’s called layering lighting, too.
Layered lighting is simply multiple light sources in one space. So, sunlight would count as a single source, then you may have a main light too, and a couple of lamps – perhaps task lighting too, in the kitchen, for instance. I like to incorporate a few different types of lighting in every scheme, and the types I choose depend on how I intend to use the space. In my living room – an area I want to feel especially cosy in winter – I have multiple lamps, and also a fireplace. You could incorporate wall lights into your design (if you’re starting from scratch with your lighting plan), string lights, dimmable overhead lighting, and even candles.
3. Don’t forget to factor in scent
There are certain smells that trigger huge emotional responses from us. Fresh bread, for instance, is associated with feelings of comfort, whilst freshly cut grass commonly conjures up feelings of anticipation for long summer evenings with loved ones. You don’t have to bake or garden every day to give your home a cosy scent, though.
Candles, incense, and essential oil diffusers are great ways to fragrance your home. I recommend lavender, bergamot and cedarwood for increasing feelings of calm and relaxation and, if you want to really embrace the winter season, perhaps some orange, pine, and cinnamon notes for extra cosiness.
Elsewhere, keep an eye (nose?) out for unpleasant smells that may hamper the comfort levels of a room. Damp laundry, bins overdue emptying, and harsh laundry detergents, for example, can interfere with how you experience a space, and may leave you feeling less cosy than you’d like.