cover image: @edwardian_vignette/
December in the UK is the darkest month of the year. The sun doesn’t rise until after eight in the morning and sets well before four pm. With so many hours of darkness, our homes become our sanctuary. And this year that’s more true than ever.
So if we’re confined to home, let’s make it a cosy haven where we’re happy to snuggle up every evening. Here are some great ways to make sure your home is as comfortable and luxurious as possible this winter.
1. Cosiness from the front door
Walking into a warm home from the cold outdoors is one of winter’s pleasures. The sight that greets you on arriving home is the first step in relaxing for the evening ahead. So make sure your entryway is clear and uncluttered. Does your hallway have a focal point? A large mirror or a piece of art that you love can really bring your hall to life and welcome you home.
2. Darken your decor
So many interiors experts tell us to aim for white walls to create a sense of light and space. But in winter we want our walls to embrace us and keep us snug. Adopting darker shades for our walls has an amazing effect on the visual warmth of a space, so it’s a great choice for a living room, bedroom or anywhere that you want to feel relaxing and comforting.
Take a look at dark yet warm shades like deep reds, velvety greens, or a blue colour such as navy or peacock. Another option is black - while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, black is an amazingly opulent and luxurious option for your walls, especially when teamed with gold accents and rich fabrics.
While you could turn to paint shades to create that warming, cosy glow, it’s worth considering wallpaper for an extra dimension to your decor. There are many wallpaper options that will really enhance the feeling of comfort in your home.
Feather wallpaper, for example, creates a wonderfully textured effect. What could be more luxurious than sinking into a bed of feathers? Other ‘trompe l'oeil’ designs can have a similar effect. Bookshelf wallpaper, for example, could give you a sense of relaxing into a reading corner or a library in a country mansion, complete with roaring fire.
Or perhaps you might like ‘padded effect’ wallpaper, designed to look like a squashy leather sofa or armchair. Perfect!
4. Fluffy fabrics
Textiles and fabrics are essential to creating a cosy, comfy sensation. The richer and the more tactile the better! Faux fur, velvet, deep pile and velour are the go-to choices here, and there are lots of options - from curtains to cushions, rugs to throws.
Flat surfaces with corners are the enemy of the cosy home, so hide them with rugs and carpets, faux sheepskin, blankets and pillows. A good rug can become a real focal point of your room too, and a real comfort to chilly toes.
5. Squashy furniture
What can be cosier than sinking into a soft armchair and putting your feet up in front of the fire? Winter is not a time for hard chairs and firm seats, it’s all about slouching, lounging and sprawling. If your furniture is a bit on the formal side, soften it with cushions - you can never have too many. Or maybe it’s time to invest in a sofa that’s more yielding and snooze-worthy.
It’s also good to be able to stretch out. Footstools and pouffes are essential in a cosy living room to keep those tootsies up and away from any draughts.
6. Cosy kitchen
Many of us have an open plan, living kitchen which acts as the heart of the home. But kitchens are more challenging when it comes to cosiness, not least from all those hard edges and empty surfaces.
The secret to a cosy kitchen is to create a comfy zone - perhaps around your dining table or a seating area. Choose a warm piece of artwork or create a feature wall, and soften it further with a rug, curtains, upholstered chairs or a sheepskin. The acoustics in a kitchen can often be harsh and echoey, and these soft touches will help absorb soundwaves. You might also want to seek out softer lighting for your chosen corner as an alternative to bright kitchen spotlights.
Lighting is crucial in creating a cosy home. Always choose ‘warm white’ for your lightbulbs, as blue-white shades instantly make a room feel cooler. Table lamps and floor lamps are always better than overhead lighting for creating an intimate, warm feeling. Plus, you can make a strong style statement in your choice of lamp or lampshade, especially if they have a tactile design. Feather lamps create both a welcoming glow and multi-sensory appeal.
Candles of course are also an instant win in creating cosiness - and that goes for any room in your home. Any dining table instantly has a more relaxed atmosphere once the candles are lit, and anyone who has ever had a candlelit bath will tell you what a luxury that is.
In your living room your candles create a soft ambience - place them on a coffee table, around your fireplace or on the mantelpiece for a gentle, pleasing glow.
8. Nurture some nature
Bringing greenery inside is part of most Christmas festivities - the tree, table decorations, a mantel dressing, a wreath for the front door. It’s because the rich leafy greens of nature are pleasing to the eye and soften the hard edges in our homes.
Plants are a great addition to a cosy home. Not only do they bring us natural beauty, they purify our air and are a focus for our care and attention.
Get cosy and enjoy
While many of us are missing the chance to spend time with friends and family, with a little attention we can make sure that home is still a good place to be. So light the fire, settle down with a hot chocolate and a book, and you’ll soon embrace these long winter nights.