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Create a Cozy, Comfortable Home for Winter

Use these tips and tricks to create a warm, welcoming and cozy home that kicks winter's chill to the curb.

| January/February 2012

  • Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell
  • Make your bedroom your winter haven—a calming, soothing place where you can rest and recharge. Start by clearing all clutter, then decorate with only the art you love most. Pile the bed with your favorite blankets and linens, and install a romantic chandelier on a dimmable switch.
  • Just looking at a big pile of blankets, pillows and throws can make us feel warmer, and guests will feel like part of the family when they can grab their favorite woolly blanket and settle in for movie night. A stack of pretty folded blankets in a basket can go just about anywhere. Choose high-quality blankets and throws you’ll keep for a lifetime—wool and organic cotton are good bets.

In the depths of winter, we rely on our homes to provide us with winter comfort and entertainment. Chilly temperatures keep many of us cooped up indoors more than we’d like, and when we do brave the winter weather, we want to come home to the comfort of a warm oven, a hot cup of tea and a cuddly throw. Here we’ve compiled some of our favorite winter-comfort tips and tricks—many suggested by you, our readers—for creating a cozy home that welcomes your friends and family and makes a long winter speed by.

Create a Cozy Home for Winter Comfort

Huddle Together: Save on heating bills by rearranging your furniture so you sit near interior walls rather than exterior walls, which can be drafty in older homes. Create a more intimate seating area for winter by pulling all the furniture in toward the center of the room.

Light Right: We’re more reliant on artificial lights during winter’s long nights. You can create a warm atmosphere and keep the electric bill down by choosing highly efficient, dimmable LED bulbs. Give yourself many lighting options—for example, a bright lamp near a favorite reading spot might eliminate the need to use overhead lights. For warm nighttime light, look at a bulb’s Kelvin temperature, which measures its warmth or coolness, and aim for temperatures between 2500 and 3000.

Window Winterizing: Heavy drapes made of thick material help provide an extra layer of nighttime insulation. In the day, open all shades so sunshine can pour into your home and help warm it.

Gear Up: Organize your entry to make bundling up easier and to avoid tracking slush and mud through the house. Put an absorbent welcome mat and proper storage in your entryway, mud room or just inside the door, including a coat rack or hooks, shelves or cubbies for shoes, and baskets for hats, gloves and scarves. If you want to take off your coat and boots and immediately put on your fuzzy sweater and house slippers, keep those near the door, too.

Dress the Part: It's winter, so dress like it, even indoors. Every degree you drop your thermostat can lower your heating bill by up to 2 percent—meaning it’s cheaper to wear a wool sweater than a T-shirt around the house! (If you’ll be away for a weekend or more, turn down the temperature to 55 degrees—the lowest you can go without the risk of freezing your water pipes.)

11/20/2014 3:30:09 PM

ABSOLUTELY WRONG about fireplaces!! A fireplace's job is to turn fuel into carbon and hot gases - some toxic - which mostly go up the chimney, and to suck air OUT of the house. Along with wastefully contributing to global warming. For a fireplace to be even a minimally useful source of heat it *has to* have a closable metal insert with extends into the room, and an air cirulating fan topush the warm air away from the fireplace. Better yet, a wood stove!Best of all a rocket stove or an actual wood burning furnace. Watchung pretty flames is a very expensive and counterproductive form of entertainment.

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