22 ways to make the cool season cozier
Warm up with these ideas for making the cooler months even more comfy-cozy, from your home to your travel destinations
Light a fire
Of course, one sure way to make a room feel cozy is to literally turn up the heat. Something about a fire crackling signals it’s time to settle in for a while. If you don’t have a fireplace, group candles in several places in a room and light them for a similar glow.
Fill your home with the heady aroma of Zinfandel and pomegranate juice warming with spices. When guests walk in the door, they'll feel instantly welcome.
Set your garden aglow
Brighten beds with fiery flowers for a warm look all season. Plant torch lily beside a red cordyline to make its orange flower clusters really pop. Fill in around both with low mounding grasses, such as Carex glauca, and perennials like Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. Add a row of Stipa gigantea, like the ones behind the wall, as a backdrop; if possible, position these grasses where the sun can backlight them for part of the day.
Toss in some (faux) sheepskin
The luxurious high pile of faux sheepskin is a cold-weather must. Place small skins on dining room chairs, larger ones one the floor, and either size as a throw over sofa arms. IKEA is an inexpensive source.
Break out the dutch oven and get ready to slowly simmer an inexpensive cut of meat until a fork slides right in.
Recipe: Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder
Arrange some amaranth
Amaranth's velvety flowers come in richly saturated harvest hues, and they hold their colors and shapes even when dry. Snag some from your garden, florist, or local farmers’ market to add a dash of passion to a seasonal bouquet.
Snuggle up amid the snow
Two-story cabins with stone fireplaces, hazelnut risotto, a fire-side pool game—there’s lots of coziness to savor at the Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, B.C. Tucked onto a 13-acre peninsula jutting out into its eponymous lake, the lodge is refreshingly wifi-and-TV-free, leaving you lots of time to soak in the Candian Rockies after a day of playing (or skiing) in the deep, soft snow.
More: 12 cozy winter lodges
As temperatures dip, trade cotton sheets for jersey ones—it’s like turning your bed into your comfiest pair of sweatpants—and throw a heavy blanket on top. (Pendleton is always a favorite.)
Serve spiked coffee
Warm and creamy with a brandy or Kahlúa kick, this drink tastes special enough for dessert. But since it comes together in only five minutes, you can treat yourself on a rainy afternoon, too.
Recipe: Keoke Coffee
Plant a pot of gold
Orange-striped blades of grass, apricot-tinged leaves with purple undersides, and matching gold containers add a burst of warmth to an entryway, garden, or an indoor living space.
More: Harvest gold containers
Work those wooden accessories
If you have any secret stash of wooden candlesticks, objets, or bowls, now is the time to pepper them throughout your home. Their natural tones and organic grain will bring an instant warm-up.
Make macaroni and cheese
A bubbling dish of toasted cheese and pasta, with the sophisticated flavors of fondue—what's not to love?
Recipe: Ultimate Mac 'n' Cheese
Add white lights
For a soft glow at night, wrap tree trunks and branches with strands of white lights. It's the ultimate wintertime look that transcends holiday hues.
Scavenge the outdoors
If it’s in your garden or the yard, it’s fair game to use as accents in your decorating. Try branches in a vase, pumpkins marching down the table, and pinecones scattered around.
Bake an apple pie
The best answer to the apple vs. mincemeat debate? Both. Made with freshly harvested apples, this pie is one of our all-time favorites.
Use throws elsewhere
Throw blankets are a given on sofas, but try layering one over a headboard or a railing for even more texture.
Simmer a big pot of chili
Chili tends to taste even better the next day, and it freezes well, too.
More: 17 best stews & chilis
Warm up at your own backyard campfire
A built-in firepit is the hub of any outdoor gatherings, or simply sets the mood for a romantic evening in your yard.
More: 38 ideas for firepits
Go shaggy underfoot
Just like with sheepskin, the more texture a rug has, the more cozy it will feel underfoot. Try something shaggy layered on top of summer’s jute rug.
Plot your escape
The best way to stay cozy this winter? Trade the winter wonderland for a warming winter vacation, like, say, kicking back in an ocean-front hammock in Mexico, or soaking up the iron-red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.
More: 7 warming winter trips
Mellow and sweet, squash gets a little caramelized and even more delicious when you roast it.