With the arrival of autumn, our habits start to change. Shorter days and dwindling temperatures mean we tend to venture out less than we did in the summer, spending more time in our homes.
A big reason for that is, of course, our desire to keep warm and snug. This alone triggers various changes. We dress differently, swapping out the shorts and t-shirts for thick jumpers. We put the heating on again after several months. And we look for ways to make our homes that little bit cozier and inviting, ready for the semi-hibernation of the winter months.
It’s not practical to completely change the decor of our homes from season to season. But there’s no doubt that our priorities change. During the hottest months of the summer, we want the interiors of our homes to be a cool retreat from the heat of the day. Uncovered hardwood or tile floors, minimalist upholstery, and open windows are the order of the day.
But come winter, that flips on its head. We want warm carpets or rugs under our feet, good insulation to keep the drafts out and the warmth in, and soft, thick fabrics to keep us warm and comfortable.
Readying the interior of your home for the winter months needn’t be a major chore. Here are five quick and easy hacks that will make all the difference.
As welcome as cool hardwood or tiled floors in summer, the exact opposite is true when temperatures start to dip. The last thing you want in winter is cold feet, and even if you wrap yourself up in thick socks and slippers, exposed hard floors just don’t lend themselves to a cozy, snug environment when temperatures are at their lowest.
The easiest solution is to invest in some nice thick pile rugs to roll out when the cooler weather comes around. This means you can bet the best of both worlds, enjoying the benefits hard floors bring (including easier cleaning) without compromising on comfort. You don’t even have to cover floors with single large rugs, which can be expensive and awkward to move. Multiple smaller rugs strategically placed over a floor can be very effective.
As with hardwood floors, people like wooden home furniture for its pleasing aesthetic effect. Premium quality hardwood timber can even contribute in its own way to a cozy indoor environment. Dark varnished hues in particular add to a cocooned, earthy ambiance which contrasts nicely with bleak weather outdoors.
But at the same time, fabrics add a different kind of warm appeal, and also play a role in insulating against chilly draughts. So winter is the time to consider covering even a prized dining table with a thick weave linen tablecloth. And it is certainly the time to dress your sofas and chairs in warm woolen throws and blankets, to crank up the comfort factor and also to give you something to cover yourself with when the temperatures really are low.
Allied to draping cloths and blankets over your furniture, some people swear by hanging different curtains in the summer and winter – light cotton drapes in the warmer months and plush heavier alternatives when it is colder.
As well as adding to the cozy ambiance, thicker curtains arguably more than any other measure contribute to keeping the inside of your home warmer by blocking off daughters from windows and holding warmer air inside. Certain fabrics like velvet or flannel are particularly well suited to this task due to their natural insulating properties.
It’s also a good idea to hang longer curtains in the winter to stop draughts sneaking under the bottom or curtains. And you could also consider hanging full-length drapes on the inside of external doors.
Nothing says cozy like a roaring open fire. You can get yourself ready for dark winter’s nights relishing the crackle and glow of the flames by giving your fireplace a good brush down and clean, which will help make everything sparkle that much more brightly when you do come to lighting a fire.
At the same time, check on the state of your fireplace accessories, such as fire screen, tools and kindling container. If there is anything that could be in a better state of repair, now is a great time to replace them.
Finally, there’s no doubt that lighting can have a big impact on how cozy we feel. Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve been programmed over millennia to associate the low amber glow of an open fire with warmth and comfort, but it’s certainly true that when it comes to hunkering down indoors on a cold winter’s evening, most people want an alternative to the hard glare of bright electric lights.
Sure, you can go for dimmer switches and lamps fitted with amber bulbs. But for that authentic comforting glow, you can’t beat the real thing – candles, lanterns, oil lamps, and so on.