8 Free or Cheap Ways to Make Your Home Cozier for Winter

published Jan 22, 2020
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Being cozy, especially during the seemingly never-ending winter months, is, in our opinion, completely necessary. Bringing a hygge vibe into your own living space can be done in any number of ways, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to do it. Essentially, cozy comes down to three main areas: texture, lighting, and color. These eight ideas will help you tweak those three things in your home—and more—on a budget.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

String Some Lights

Although string lights are sometimes thought of as dorm room decor, you can find a mature version—think Edison bulbs or tiny twinkle lights—if you don’t love the classic set you probably have in your holiday decor bin or basement. The ambient glow string lights can add a lot of coziness to your living space or bedroom if you string them up above your sofa or headboard.  But why stop there? Consider adding a set of string lights to your patio or other outdoor space—even though it’s winter. By illuminating this area, which is probably unused at the moment, you’ll create a comforting glow right outside your window.

Credit: Amazon

Get Smart (Bulbs)

If you’re not on the smart bulb bandwagon yet, this is the time to jump on it. Voice-activated lighting is not only convenient, but being able to adjust the warmth and brightness of your room means never having to settle for a bulb that’s only right for your space half of the day or year. Plus, the app allows you to make said tweaks from the comfort of your sofa—under a blanket. Talk about cozy!

Buy: Solana Connected Smart 60 Watt Equivalent Lightbulb, $13.99 from Amazon

Add in a Chunky Knit

Nothing says cozy like layered, soft textiles—and a super chunky knit throw, pillow, or rug is the right texture and weight for winter warmth. For added comfort and potential anti-anxiety feels, there are now chunky knit weighted blankets that come in tons of modern, muted shades we love. If an off-the-shelf version is too pricey, try your hand, literally, at knitting or knotting a DIY blanket from fabric or yarn that you can buy at a craft store.

Credit: Franke Chung

Get a Floor Pillow

Getting comfy in the cold winter months isn’t just about snuggling up on your sofa or bed. Throw a floor pillow or two on your (hopefully) equally as cozy rug for extra seating in lieu of an expensive pouf or ottoman. Like stackable or folding chairs, floor pillows are surprisingly compact for when you need to save space. Just stack ‘em up when not in use. And if you don’t want to spring for an actual floor pillow from a home decor store, repurpose an old euro pillow insert and throw a cover on it. These 26-inch square cushions are bigger than some of the floor cushions you’ll find in stores anyway.

Switch Out Your Accessories

For the ultimate cozy transformation on the cheap, Abbe Fenimore, owner and principal designer of Studio Ten 25, is all about the details. Bookshelves and accent pieces are often overlooked when it comes to seasonal updates,” she says. “For cooler seasons, I love swapping out accessories with warmer elements like brass, leather, or dark colored trays.” To keep things affordable, Fenimore suggests hitting up your favorite discount stores, remembering to check the sale section, of course. And don’t forget your local thrift stores: Vintage mixed with new products is key to successfully layering accessories on your shelves.

Light a Candle (or Four!)

It’s no secret that candlelight is not only romantic but super cozy. As soon as temperatures start to drop, make it part of your nightly ritual to light up a candle. If you like scented candles, treat yourself to something with a smoky, woodsy scent—our pick is Stonewall Kitchen’s Ski Lodge Soy Candle—it’s only $12.95 for 40 hours of burn time. You could also find a candle with a crackling wick, which echoes the sound of a fireplace, to really set the mood.

Buy: Ski Lodge Soy Candle, $12.95 from Stonewall Kitchen

Credit: Clare Paint

Paint a Wall (or a Whole Room)

Paint can transform the atmosphere of an entire room on the cheap. While a deep, dark, and moody color certainly feels dramatic and cozy, Nicole Gibbons, designer and founder of Clare paint, likes the idea of a lighter color to cozy up your space and improve your mood in the winter months. For full-on cozy feels, she suggests Views, a medium tone blue-green. “It’s reminiscent of the Caribbean Sea and feels tranquil like the ocean,” says Gibbons. “This color is perfectly spa-like for a bathroom or a serene for a bedroom or living space.”

Tie on a Tassel

Paula Queen, founder and designer at Pyar & Co, says winter is the perfect time to update your pillows by simply adding cute tassels as trim. “Look for tassels that have a loop to make tying them on easier,” she says. There are also plenty of pre-tasseled pillows out there like these Ballard Design cushions. Although it may not seem as obvious as, say, bringing in a heavy knit, small details like this really add up to major cozy feels. You can also use tassels on your curtain tie-backs or even add a few as flourishes to a door key, as seen in this project above.