How To Create Your Own Mini Jardin d’Hivers

updated Apr 14, 2020
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(Image credit: Anik Polo)

Depending on where you live in the world, winter could be a dark, gray, cold (potentially miserable) string of days that has you stuck inside hoping spring comes soon before you go stir-crazy. If that describes you right now, you might find solace in this inspiring design idea that could be translated to your own home — no matter where you live.

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

There was a lot to love in Isabelle’s Peaceful, Poetic Haven in Switzerland. From the soothing tones, to the commitment to natural materials to the sophisticated and easygoing way everything fit together, it was a beautiful.

The showstopper for me, though? Her jardin d’hivers! French for winter garden, it’s traditionally a light-filled, heated extension of the home (or in very fancy cases, castle) where frost-sensitive plants pass the winter months. I’m translating it as a beautiful space indoors that you can still celebrate sun and nature even in the dead of winter.

Even if you don’t have an entirely glassed-in room overlooking a gorgeous natural Swiss setting, you can still embrace the spirit of a winter garden in a corner of your own home, no matter how big or small (or what landscape it’s overlooking). Try these steps out:

Pick the perfect (preferably sunny!) spot

Soaking up the sun’s warmth is a delightful thing about being outside and can be missing in your life when the temperatures drop. So see if you’ve got a window you can take over for this seasonal mini-makeover. If possible, choose a window that gets direct sun. Make sure the window is clean so maximum light gets through. Have ways to lift or tie your window treatments out of the way (even just temporarily). Consider non-adhesive privacy window decals if you feel too exposed.

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

Bring in a seat you can lounge a little in

You might not have room for a giant lounge chair. (You might not even have room for a whole chair). But whether it’s scooting an existing chair a little closer to the window to sit in or bringing in some floor pillows over for the next couple of months, you’re going to want to carve out a little place to sit and enjoy the natural heat.

Pile on comfort

From pillows to throw blankets to even something like draft snakes (if you have particularly drafty windows), this step is all about making the spot you are creating as cozy and as enjoyable as you can.

See Isabelle’s entire lovely home → Isabelle’s Peaceful, Poetic Haven in Switzerland

Bring in green

Even if you don’t have any beautiful green views to look out on, you can still bring in plenty of greenery indoors with house plants. Whether you go splurge on a few new plants or you just temporarily rehouse a few around your winter garden area, don’t just bring in plants that are nice to look at. Consider incorporating fragrant plants that will transport you to the outdoors with scent. No fragrant plants on hand? You can stimulate the olfactory senses with essential oils, candles or seasonal fruit, too.

Have something nature-related to do

If you have enough room to do a little winter gardening — repot a plant, prune some leaves, start some seeds — go for it! But you can also just dig into a book that features nature heavily to let your mind wander down forested trails even if it’s too cold to do so right now. (A personal favorite is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.)

Even if you don’t keep your jardin d’hivers all year long, spending a little time crafting your own spot to soak up a little winter sunshine while safely indoors could mean enjoying the countdown until spring more!

See Isabelle’s entire lovely home → Isabelle’s Peaceful, Poetic Haven in Switzerland