How to make your home a cozy haven for winter

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

How to make your home a cozy haven for winter

December 26, 2018


Winter can be a bleak season around here, but you can style your home in a way that embraces the season and brings about all the cozy feels. Valparaiso interior decorator Jennifer Durham shares her ideas on how to style your home for winter.

Living here in the Midwest means that when Christmas is over and our Christmas trees, with their cozy twinkle lights, come down, we still have a solid three months of blistery winter temperatures, snow and ice that lie ahead of us. When we take down all of our Christmas decor, our houses often feel very bare. With several months of winter still to come, transitioning our homes from Christmas decor into something that still feels cozy and inspiring can go a long way in helping us, and our families, enjoy those long, winter days at home, and help to brighten our spirits through the sometimes monotonous months of January and February.

My inspiration when decorating my home for winter comes from the feeling that we get on a much anticipated ‘snow day’—awakening to beautiful snow-covered trees and branches outside our windows, and the anticipation of lingering over a mug of something warm to drink, while snuggled under a cozy blanket. That feeling is what I think about when taking down Christmas decor and getting my home ready for the long winter months ahead.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

Winter can be a bleak season around here, but you can style your home in a way that embraces the season and brings about all the cozy feels. Valparaiso interior decorator Jennifer Durham shares her ideas on how to style your home for winter.

Living here in the Midwest means that when Christmas is over and our Christmas trees, with their cozy twinkle lights, come down, we still have a solid three months of blistery winter temperatures, snow and ice that lie ahead of us. When we take down all of our Christmas decor, our houses often feel very bare. With several months of winter still to come, transitioning our homes from Christmas decor into something that still feels cozy and inspiring can go a long way in helping us, and our families, enjoy those long, winter days at home, and help to brighten our spirits through the sometimes monotonous months of January and February.

My inspiration when decorating my home for winter comes from the feeling that we get on a much anticipated ‘snow day’—awakening to beautiful snow-covered trees and branches outside our windows, and the anticipation of lingering over a mug of something warm to drink, while snuggled under a cozy blanket. That feeling is what I think about when taking down Christmas decor and getting my home ready for the long winter months ahead.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

THE MANTEL

When my husband and I were house hunting a few years ago, a fireplace was definitely on my ‘want’ list; however, the home that checked the most boxes for us ended up not having an actual wood burning fireplace. I set out immediately to find something that would give us that fireplace feeling and a focal point in our living room. I was so happy to have found this antique wooden mantel at Spill The Milk Vintage in Valparaiso.

Covering the mantel with winter white candles in a variety of holders, jars, or on candlesticks is a simple, cost-effective way of having a cozy winter focal point in a snap. I have a mix of new and vintage holders here, and I love the warmth they add. The box in front of my mantel is something I transitioned from my Christmas decor. I take out the fresh Christmas greens, which wouldn’t hold up in the coming months, and switch them out for these faux lamb’s ear and eucalyptus, found at my local craft store. I left in the birch branches and twinkle lights for a focal point that will look great all the way until spring. The twinkle lights are on a timer and add the perfect glow on cold winter nights.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

THE MANTEL

When my husband and I were house hunting a few years ago, a fireplace was definitely on my ‘want’ list; however, the home that checked the most boxes for us ended up not having an actual wood burning fireplace. I set out immediately to find something that would give us that fireplace feeling and a focal point in our living room. I was so happy to have found this antique wooden mantel at Spill The Milk Vintage in Valparaiso.

Covering the mantel with winter white candles in a variety of holders, jars, or on candlesticks is a simple, cost-effective way of having a cozy winter focal point in a snap. I have a mix of new and vintage holders here, and I love the warmth they add. The box in front of my mantel is something I transitioned from my Christmas decor. I take out the fresh Christmas greens, which wouldn’t hold up in the coming months, and switch them out for these faux lamb’s ear and eucalyptus, found at my local craft store. I left in the birch branches and twinkle lights for a focal point that will look great all the way until spring. The twinkle lights are on a timer and add the perfect glow on cold winter nights.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

COFFEE TABLE

When creating that cozy winter feeling in my decor, I think about how we will be using the space. Adding this wooden Tic-Tac-Toe board to my coffee table is a personal touch that encourages gathering and enjoying each other’s company. The X’s and O’s are also a fun, subtle nod to Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner. Cut tree stumps are another inexpensive and easy way to add some rustic winter charm. A friend cut these for me from their yard for free! Large jars and candle holders, filled with faux snow and topped with white candles, go a long way in adding a wintry wonderland feel to any space.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

COFFEE TABLE

When creating that cozy winter feeling in my decor, I think about how we will be using the space. Adding this wooden Tic-Tac-Toe board to my coffee table is a personal touch that encourages gathering and enjoying each other’s company. The X’s and O’s are also a fun, subtle nod to Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner. Cut tree stumps are another inexpensive and easy way to add some rustic winter charm. A friend cut these for me from their yard for free! Large jars and candle holders, filled with faux snow and topped with white candles, go a long way in adding a wintry wonderland feel to any space.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

HOT CHOCOLATE BAR

One of my favorite things to create for my kids and our guests at Christmastime is a hot chocolate station. At Christmas it’s adorned with lots of Santa mugs, peppermint sticks, and festive red and white touches. When January hits, I make some simple changes, and we can keep on enjoying this treat throughout the rest of the winter. Simple changes like switching out the Santa mugs for something more Valentine’s inspired, and switching out the Christmas red and white striped straws for these black and white ones were good places to start for getting that wintry feel. Snowflake marshmallows were a fun Target find for this winter-inspired hot chocolate bar! The touches of greenery on the tiered tray help to fill in empty space and add life on dull, winter days.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

HOT CHOCOLATE BAR

One of my favorite things to create for my kids and our guests at Christmastime is a hot chocolate station. At Christmas it’s adorned with lots of Santa mugs, peppermint sticks, and festive red and white touches. When January hits, I make some simple changes, and we can keep on enjoying this treat throughout the rest of the winter. Simple changes like switching out the Santa mugs for something more Valentine’s inspired, and switching out the Christmas red and white striped straws for these black and white ones were good places to start for getting that wintry feel. Snowflake marshmallows were a fun Target find for this winter-inspired hot chocolate bar! The touches of greenery on the tiered tray help to fill in empty space and add life on dull, winter days.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography

SPECIAL TOUCHES

I always leave up my ‘winter tree’ in my dining room (a faux, flocked tree purchased at Christmas time) until the end of February. Nothing beats the warmth and glow it adds to the space, and it’s perfectly winter decor acceptable!

The use of faux or real plants and greenery brings such life to our homes on the long, sometimes dreary, days of winter.

Touches like jars filled with pine cones and sticks with twinkle lights are great ways to bring the beauty of a wintry landscape inside our homes for the winter months.

Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography
Photo Credit: Teresa Schmidt Photography