Appeal to the Five Senses
Winter may be perceived as cold and dark in some home environments, while in others it feels magical, cozy, and luminous. What differentiates one experience from the other? We navigate the world through a complex variety of sensory input. Because of this, our physical environments have an enormous impact on the way we experience and perceive life. Today, we’ll look at how to create a cozy winter home through the lens of the five senses.
When you think of the word “ambiance,” perhaps you picture a candle-lit dinner with warm mood lighting. Why? Light has the power to totally and instantly transform any space with very little effort and a low cost. Whether you use candles, table lamps, string lights, or twinkle lights, you’ll be adding an inviting and welcoming touch of brightness, cheeriness, and warmth into your home.
Books and Puzzles
Another way to create a cozy winter home is by celebrating the activities that the season is best suited for, whether that be curling up with a book or assembling a puzzle depicting a winter scene. Keeping favorite activities out on coffee tables and other central locations will help remind you of what’s great about winter and encourage you to enjoy your favorite mellow activities.
As the seasons change, you may notice neighbors and friends changing out small pieces of decor in their home to mark the change in nature. It might be a seasonal wreath on the front door, a wintery welcome mat, a poinsettia in a pot, or a painting depicting a snow-covered village - no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, all of these elements serve as visual celebrations of winter.
Just as you would do when deciding on paint colors and furniture styles for the rest of your house, begin designing your kids’ room by choosing a theme. Brightly colored toys and frequently-used belongings will inevitably add a bit of variety and flare to the scheme you choose, and that’s ok - fun is what a kids’ room is for. At the same time, however, setting a general direction for the theme and colors of your kids’ playroom, like shown here in The Grant Model, will add a feeling of calmness and congruity to the space that will entice both you and your children to spend more time there. Remember, kids love beauty too!
Enjoy the Sound of Silence
When we think of seasonal sounds, we often imagine a speaker playing Christmas carols or favorite composers and bands. Music certainly gladdens the heart, but if you think about what makes winter unique in the world of nature, it offers a quiet and calming restfulness rather than a flurry of activity; the sounds of winter are often subtle if not totally silent. Just as nature rests, so can we. Take a moment to consciously appreciate the stillness and peacefulness unique to winter by enjoying the sound of silence.
Outdoor Wind Chime
Another magical way to hear nature is to hang a wind chime. Take a trip to a local outdoor store and test the chimes until you find a sound that resonates with you. Then, hang it outside your door and enjoy hearing nature whispering in the wind.
By the same token, that doesn’t mean that your kids’ room needs to fall in line with the adult color schemes you have in the rest of your house. Your kids’ room is the perfect place to be playful and creative. Paints are easy to change as your children mature, so have fun experimenting with bright blues, jungle themes, removable ocean creature wall decals, or anything else that tickles your fancy. If your kids are old enough, you can even involve them at select stages in the design process so that they can help make the room their own!
Scented Candles and Essential Oils
What does winter smell like to you? To some, it smells like eggnog or pine-scented Christmas candles. To others, it smells like cinnamon or orange citrus essential oils. No matter which scents you associate with the winter season, take a moment to enjoy some in-home aromatherapy by diffusing essential oils or lighting scented candles.
Fresh Greenery and Flower Bouquets
For those who have evergreens in their yard, one easy and natural way to smell the season is to gather a few clippings from a nearby pine tree and use them as decorative centerpieces on the dining room table, the living room coffee table, or the mantle piece. Nothing beats the smell of fresh pine! If you don't have greenery nearby, don’t fret: a simple bouquet of roses or winter flowers from the grocery store can add a subtle perfume to your home and go a long way to lift your spirits.
Fresh Air When It’s Not Too Cold
Don’t forget to take advantage of days when you do have clement weather to open your windows and introduce fresh air. The lazy days of summer and the crisp days of fall may be behind us, but winter sometimes offers its own unexpected delights with an unseasonably warm day.
In some homes, winter smells like freshly baked cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, or croissants. Nothing says comfort like a warm, buttery baked good, whether baked in your own home or purchased from a nearby eatery. Fill your home with the scent of deliciousness this winter as you learn to bake a new delicacy or support a local shop.
Many people sleep better at night when their environment is cool but their bed is piled with warm blankets. If you don’t have seasonal sheets, it may be time to invest in a set of high-quality flannels to make your winter cozier. (Bonus points: keeping the house cool at night can help you save on heating costs.)
Blankets and Pillows
Another easy way to make your home instantly cozy this winter is to bring out extra pillows and small blankets, draping them over sofas and armchairs. You may even want to keep a basket of throws on hand to keep your house both orderly and welcoming.
Rugs and Carpets
Adding extra rugs is another great way to extend the cozy celebration all the way down to your feet! This will help your house both look and feel warmer and softer.
Because winter weather has its own wardrobe, it’s smart to make space in your entryway closet for winter attire. Hang a coat rack on the wall or add cubbies suited for hats, gloves, scarves, and coats.
Compile Soup and Stew Recipes
Winter has its own tastes, too. Just as we associate a mai tai with the beach in summer, comforting soups and stews are hallmark winter dishes. Celebrate the season by compiling a mini recipe library with your favorite chilis, chowders, broths, bisques, and stews. If you want to expand your horizons, ask your friends and neighbors to exchange their seasonal favorites!
Set up a Hot Drink Station
An easy way to banish the winter chill from your bones is to set up a hot drink station that’s always accessible. Designate a corner of a kitchen counter or a tea trolley and equip it with a special tablecloth, a hot water kettle, mugs, sugars, and a variety of teas, coffees, hot cocoas, and hot ciders.
Dried Fruits and Nuts Bowl
Winter cakes often feature fruits and nuts, so having a bowl of mixed nuts and dried fruit is a healthy way to celebrate the winter season. Place it in a special dish on your coffee table or pair it with your drink station to create a full winter snack bar.