Here are some simple ideas to make your home a comforting place to be this winter.
Winter weather has come sooner than usual here. I’ve already broken out my thick socks and slippers combination to wear around the house, and my husband and I have had our annual winter thermostat discussion and come to a compromise about what temperature we’ll keep the house.
As it’s only November, and we have months of cold weather left, it’s important to get the house comfortable and welcoming for the long days ahead. Plus, many of us will be spending more time at home than usual, due to COVID-19 this year. Christmas decorations will help tremendously, but until those go up, and after those come down, here are a few ideas to make your home more cozy and inviting.
1Make a warm beverage station
Have tea, hot chocolate, and coffee options available. Set out your loveliest mugs. Tea is the most guilt-free winter beverage (fewer calories and less caffeine), and the perfect hand warmer for early mornings and late evenings. If you haven’t found a tea you like yet, keep looking! Basic black tea with milk is my go-to staple, but there are many to try, including non-caffeinated herbal teas. The process of making a warm beverage is a cozy winter ritual unto itself.
2Use lamps or brighter light bulbs
With gray skies, you need to make sure you have enough bright lighting to counteract the dim atmosphere. You can find inexpensive and fun lamps from secondhand stores to add to your home during winter. And check the wattage of your current lights in the main living spaces of your home. Perhaps a different kind of bulb, or a different wattage, would make your light less harsh, and more inviting.
3Run the dishwasher more intentionally
Use the steam from a newly run dishwasher, and/or the warmth from washing dishes by hand, to add some warmth to your day. It’s like an at-home spa, but you’re also getting chores done! Time dishwashing for when you know you’ll need a little warm pick-me-up. Maybe that’s a way to start your morning, or a way to end your day.
4Add rugs and blankets
If you want to make an area in your home even more inviting, adding a rug will do wonders. If you have carpeted floors, it will just add variety and color, but if you have wood or tile floors, it will add a buffer of warmth to your living space. Then,add a pretty throw blanket on your couch, and a basket of blankets to the room you spend the most time in.
5Make cookie dough
There’s nothing like a warm cookie on a cold day. Whip some dough up on the weekend and keep it in the refrigerator through the week, baking small batches as you like. Or freeze small scoops of cookie dough to easily pop some in the oven when you need an uplifting aroma and treat.
If you have a Dutch oven, crock pot, or Instant Pot, this is the perfect time of year to use it. For a super easy, nourishing, and comforting soup, add beans, frozen vegetables, rice, and a can or jar of tomatoes to your pot and let it cook. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of acid, like vinegar or lemon juice. Leftovers are great for lunch, and you can serve a baked potato alongside to make it more filling.
Not only will the bread baking add an extra bit of warmth to your home, the smell of bread in the oven is heavenly. Here’s a 30-minute roll recipe that will fill your home with that wonderful scent, and is quick and easy to boot.
8Create a candle ritual
Light one while you eat dinner, and keep it lit while saying a few prayers in the evening. The flame of a candle lends an immediate coziness to any space. If, like me, you are nervous about having open flames in the house, make a candle routine so that you always extinguish the candle at the same time each evening. Then you won’t have to worry about whether you’ve left it lit or not as you crawl into bed.