9 Smart Design Tricks to Fill Your Home With a Warmer Feel

Warm, cozy living room with two sofas

Carina Skrobecki Photography / Courtesy of Jessica Nelson Design

Temperatures are dropping, and we are very ready to amp up the hygge feel at home. Along with all the standard, functional ways of warming up—more blankets, pillows, and cranking up the heat—this season, we're looking for other ways to make our homes feel warmer. Not just in temperature, but in feel.

We spoke with four interior experts to learn how to make your home feel warmer, even if the weather outside is frightful and your heater isn't quite keeping up. Read on for tips to create a warm feeling in your home.

Meet the Expert

  • Nicole Fisher is a designer and the CEO and founder of BNR Interiors, a design firm.
  • Jessie Yoon is a co-founder of Casa Nolita, an interior design and home styling company, and a Decorist designer.
  • Chris Harvey is the marketing director at Stelrad, a radiator manufacturer.
  • Ailis Topley is the founder of Pott Candles, a reusable candle container company.

Pick the Right Fabrics

Obviously, cozy throws and blankets are a must, but as Nicole Fisher of BNR Interiors reminds us, your choice of fabric is key, too. “Velvets, Chenilles, and textured wovens always bring me an element of warmth and create a cozy atmosphere,” she says. “They are luxurious, dense fabrics that wrap you up.”

Your fabric choice should also extend beyond additional cozy throws. “I love using them on upholstery, window treatments, pillows, and throws,” says Fisher. “When the season grows colder, I add extra layers to my living spaces.”

Upgrade Your Window Treatments

“Adding drapes or curtains made with soft and luxurious fabric such as velvet, linen, or jacquard help create a warmer ambiance,” says Decorist designer Jessie Yoon of Casa Nolita. “Especially for winter, heavy drapes from the ceiling to the floor even help keep the room warmer.”

If you’re concerned that heavy drapes will make the room feel dark, Yoon suggests going lighter in color rather than fabric weight. “Adding drapes in light colors such as off-white, ivory, oatmeal, or light grey can help make the room feel warmer and lighter during colder weather,” she says.

Lighting Is Key

As you add heavier drapes and adjust to shorter days, Yoon reminds us that we should balance this out with more light sources. “Adding more light literally lightens up the room, so having a portable table lamp is a great option [for] darker months,” she tells us. “There are a handful of brands that make nice portable table lamps that not only add more light to the room but are also cute decorative items.”

If you want a more permanent fixture, Yoon suggests leaning toward certain types of metals: “Adding lamp shades or globes makes [for] warm and soft lighting fixtures, and brass or gold finishes give off a warmer feel. On the other hand, chrome and nickel finishing makes lighting fixtures look cooler compared to other finishes, and Integrated LED lighting fixture designs look cool due to the sleek and futuristic designs.”

Along with the look of the lamp or fixture, Yoon also suggests paying attention to your bulb choice for maximum coziness. “Warm-tone lighting definitely helps to add a warm ambiance, but do not overdo it! Going for an overly red or yellow-ish lighting tone can make the room old and dreary. Moderately warm tones such as soft white, warm white, or natural white work well.”

Bring the Outdoors In

Just because we’re hunkering down indoors doesn’t mean we can’t still look toward the more natural elements of the season for warmth. “I always bring in my faux fur quilt for the colder winter months,” says Fisher. “To take it one step further, [add] a woodsy, earthy scented candle.”

Yoon agrees: “I recommend sheepskin … to enhance the warm and cozy vibes.”

Curate a Cozy Table Setting

While most of our attention shifts to the living room and bedrooms when amping up the warmth at home, Fisher reminds us that the dining room shouldn’t be neglected. 

“Bring in waffle textured napkins, moody, earthy color palettes, tall tapered candles, and floral arrangements in deep reds and purples,” she says. “[I love a] tall, effortless greenery for a table setting … [and] oversized floral arrangements [can also] help set the mood.” 

Most importantly, when it comes to cozy tablescaping: “Save your linen for the summer!”

Guard Against Drafts

From a more practical standpoint, “A drafty house can defy even the best heating system to let in the chill,” says Chris Harvey of Stelrad. “Try using a draft excluder on your door and making sure to close your curtains to help keep the cold out.”

Draft excluders can range from sleek to purely functional, usually made from a metal panel attached to rubber that you affix to the bottom of your door. But there are aesthetically cuter options, too. Look for quirkier, temporary fixes—these usually look like long pillows and can come in different patterns and designs.

Don’t Forget the Bathroom

“If you don't have radiant floors, bathrooms can be extra chilly in the winter,” says Fisher. “Warm it up with a thick bathmat for each sink, as well as the shower. [Add] thicker towels, and a cozy robe you never want to take off.”

Add Candles

Ailis Topley of Pott Candles tells us that candles are absolutely key for this time of year. “The flicker of the flame is a warm orange, which creates a softer light [that] can help create a feeling of warmth,” she says. “Unscented candles are great for creating ambiance without causing an overpowering scent in the room. If you like to burn more than one candle at once, then unscented candles are a great option, because you can have multiple burning, whilst not being overpowered by scents.”

“[One] key thing to look at is burn time,” she says. “A common misconception is that the more wicks there are, the longer the burn time. This is not true, it is actually the opposite, as more wicks result in the candle burning more quickly.”

Choose Your Seasonal Scent

Whether you choose scented candles, oils, or sprays, Topley advises also selecting a home scent that implies warmth. “The warmest scents … include notes [of] incense, amber, and cinnamon, and moving toward woody scents such as sandalwood and patchouli,” she says.

Whatever you choose, you don’t have to pick just one. “Try mixing different scents together,” Topley tells us. “This is becoming more on-trend, mixing multiple candles at the same time which have complementary scents. For example, we have a basil and an orange one, and burning them together smells like you are driving through the undulating hills of Tuscany! Be careful to choose scents that complement rather than compete.” 

If you do decide to use candles for your home scents, then one final word of wisdom: “Avoid putting them near doors or drafty areas, as the scent will escape.”

Now, pardon us while we go pull out the cozy throws, light a few candles, and sink into the warm and cozy feel of the season.