10 Comfort Tips for a Cold Winter’s Night

February 23rd, 2016 Winter decorating

People in Denmark celebrate the concept of “hygge.”

As the country’s official tourism website explains, the term — pronounced “hooga” — roughly translates to “coziness,” but there’s more to it than that: “Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too.”

We think the Danes have the right idea. This can be a bleak time of year. The sun goes down while most of us are still at work, and the world outside can seem like a white and grey desert for weeks at a time.

Winter County Decorating

It’s why we all need some hygge in our lives this time of year. Here are 10 ways to make your home more comfortable this winter.

1. Add some color to your life

Fall’s reds and golds are long gone, and the green of spring is still months away. That leaves things outdoors pretty colorless, which means it’s more important than ever to brighten your indoors.

You can add color by splashing a new coat of paint on your walls, or do something less permanent, such as adding some throw pillows, a new rug or a slipcover.

2. Try new textures

Fabrics like flannel bedding can add a feeling of softness, comfort and warmth. Realtor.com’s winter comfort guide quotes designer Jim Rascoe, who recommends adding a variety of texture to your home. He gives the example of a throw blanket with an open weave, such as chenille, on a twill sofa with a tight, smooth weave.

“The contrast provides richness and warmth,” Rascoe says.

3. Light up the things you like

You’ll want more light in your home during the winter anyway, so why not illuminate the things you love? Shed some light on artwork or knick-knacks that remind you of warmer weather.

4. Bring the outdoors inside

There may be snow, bare trees or brown grass outside your window, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have plants in your life. Keep fresh flowers and other plants indoors to offset the barren winter landscape outside.

5. Keep your friends close

We don’t just mean “a phone call away.” Rascoe recommends a set-up that allows you to see, talk to and reach your guests. That means moving your furnishings closer together. “A guest needing to rise to place a mug on a coffee table is a no-no,” Realtor.com says.

6. Give yourself somewhere comfy to sit

The wind is howling outside. Forecasters are telling people to stay off the roads. But you’re safe inside, nestled in your favorite chair. A nice, comfy chair is essential for a sense of hygge at home.

“Choose one with a high back and an inherent sense of softness about the upholstery for visual warmth and comfortable seating,” Rascoe recommends.

7. Throw down a rug

A rug can go a long way toward warming a bare floor, especially if you choose one with brighter, warmer colors to contrast the colder world outside.

8. Light a candle

Remember what the Danish tourism organization said at the beginning of this post? “The warm glow of candlelight is hygge.”

Candles work in any room, and at any time of day. In the winter, when you can’t open a window for fresh air, a scented candle can add new fragrances to your space.

9. Embrace other scents

If you want to go beyond candles, consider using potpourri — a blend of scented, preserved leaves, fruits, nuts and seeds — to give your home a warm, inviting scent. You can also use fresh flowers to remind yourself that warmer times are ahead.

10. Christmas decorations after Christmas.

We’re not saying you should keep lights on your house until April or anything, but some of the trappings of Christmas can also double as wintry decorations. Bells, greenery and candles in the window can still convey “hygge” long after the tree comes down.

We opened this piece by saying “hygge” was something celebrated in Denmark, but that’s only part of the story. The Danes were wise enough to create a word for something we all cherish: the idea that there’s a warm place for us in the long, cold winter. Piper Classics hopes you find your hygge this season.