warm and inviting

10 Ways to Create a Warm and Inviting Home


There are plenty of ways to celebrate winter by creating a warm and welcoming space at home. Here are 10 of the best

A comfortable winter home is warm and inviting. There are textured throws draped over sofas, plump scatter cushions and subtle ambient lighting. Shades drawn on the windows keep out winter chills and a roaring fire beckons.

1. Ramp up the “cosy” factor

Whether that’s putting a couple of plush bean bags in a corner of the rumpus room or creating a reading nook under the stairs, winter is a time of reflection, of comfort. For many, that also means space or solitude. But it’s also a time for rounding up the gang, for playing family board games, of baking cookies and warming up the kitchen, and also drinking hot chocolate on family movie nights.

Set the scene for warmth and comfort at home by making sure draughts aren’t flowing through window seals and fix any draughty windows. Check your home heating devices to ensure heaters are in good working order, and ensure you have an ample supply of firewood on hand for your wood stove.

Make sure your towels pass the plushness test and if not, order some fresh ones. Replace light doonas with warmer options.

2. Draw the blinds

One way to keep your home snug is through thermal insulation. Danielle Crosby, marketing manager at Dollar Curtains and Blinds, says curtains and drapes can preserve up to 20 per cent of the total heat in your home. “They create a trapped layer of air between the fabric and the window, which results in an insulating air pocket,” she explains. Blockout curtains, blackout roller blinds and cellular or honeycomb blinds can all work efficiently to keep you and your family warmer in winter.

A combination of blockout curtains and sheer curtains offers a well-designed and practical finish. “Open the blockout curtains during the day and keep the sheer curtains closed for diffused light and daytime privacy,” she suggests. “Close the blockout curtains in the evening for complete light control, privacy, noise reduction and thermal insulation.”

Automation also affords homeowners flexibility and convenience with indoor and outdoor window coverings, with app control. “As weather shifts during winter, you can use sensors and timers to reduce excessive use of heating and lighting to increase your home’s energy efficiency,” says Danielle.

3. Let lighting weave its magic

During winter, lighting goes a long way to create a cheerful, warm and inviting space you’ll want to come home to. Lighting at home should ideally create a soft and inviting ambience. During winter, as the days grow shorter, relying on illumination through layered lighting becomes even more important.

Add a few mirrors to dark corners — it will maximise light, reflecting it around the room. An extra table lamp or two helps to create a light-filled space and make sure you swap out bulbs to a warmer colour temperature. On cloudy and rainy days, lamps strategically positioned in dark corners are a great way to lighten and brighten up a darker room.

Bring out the tea lights and pillar candles to add a rosy glow to a space and a touch of whimsy or romance. Pop a few candles in the bathroom so next time you have a soak in the tub, you can relax by candlelight.

4. Toasty winter toes

Warm feet are good for your mind, body and soul. After all, no-one likes having freezing toes in the middle of winter. One way to ensure you have warm feet, as well as the rest of you, is through underfloor heating, which is basically available in two different types: electric and hydronic. Comfort Heat describes electric heating like “an electric blanket for your floor”; heating elements are fitted under the surface, offering consistent reliable heat.

In contrast, hydronic heating delivers heat via pipes under the floor and it’s often used for larger spaces. This type of underfloor heating is very energy- and cost-efficient. Hydronic systems can use different heat sources including gas, heat pumps, hot-water units and even wood stoves.

5. Inject some colour to liven a space

Chase away the winter blues by adding a little colour through bunches of blooms, and add some pops of warmth with scatter cushions and throws. Invite colour into your home — winter doesn’t need to be drab. Change up traditional winter colours with a light white palette and a few splashes of colour.

Another tip: lighten up a dark corner with a bold artwork; adding colour infuses warmth. A winter centrepiece, crafted with natural materials, also creates a warming vibe to
a table.

Lighten spaces with colourful rugs; you can even layer one new winter rug over another for a fresh look. A rug will look good and also feel beautiful to walk on in the cooler months.

Some contemporary designs are all about clean, uncluttered lines. In the cooler months, change it up by adding a few simple pops of colour. Try a coloured photo frame, a vivid table lamp, a stack of books with coloured spines, and a few colourful trinkets on display.

6. Stoke the fire

You can’t go past a fireplace to keep you snug in winter. Chris Kent, national sales and marketing manager at Lopi and DaVinci Fireplaces, says positioning your fireplace, and correctly sizing your fireplace model for the room size, is essential. “Wood heaters can heat a whole home but if positioned in the wrong place, can cause inadequate heat in areas you want warmth and cause other spaces to be too hot,” he warns.

Chris adds that gas fireplaces are often more zonal in their heating abilities. “They are best positioned to heat one or multiple rooms that are closed off from the rest of the home,” he advises. To ensure correct placement, Chris suggests consulting your local heating specialist.

For larger spaces, Chris says wood heaters are a better option. “This is due to wood burning hotter than gas by up to eight times, and they also produce more radiant heat,” he explains. “Gas fireplaces are designed for smaller spaces or multiple rooms, not usually entire homes.”

Chris adds there is a revival in squared-format fireplaces and more traditional formal designs in keeping with popular Hamptons styling. “Over recent years, sleek linear or landscape fireplaces have dominated designs and while still popular, traditional fireplaces with mantlepieces have made a comeback,” he says.

7. Say it with air

Reverse-cycle air conditioning is one way to keep you warm in winter. New innovations in air conditioning are changing the way we live. At Polyaire, marketing manager Adam Connell says AirTouch smart air conditioning is up to the challenge of providing winter warmth. “With ducted reverse-cycle air conditioning controlled with AirTouch, you get app control of the home climate. The app control is really useful as you can warm up the home and make it cosy before you get home on a cold day, or send the pets a little extra warmth,” he says. “If the home is getting too cold, AirTouch 4 can send you a temperature alert to your smartphone so you can choose to turn on the system, away from home.”

There’s also plenty happening with Panasonic systems. Joe De Bella, senior product marketing at Panasonic Air Conditioning at Panasonic Australia, says selected Panasonic air conditioning systems feature revolutionary nanoe™ X technology, which cleans air within the room, creating a fresher and healthier living environment. “It uses water molecules filled with OH radicals to neutralise micro-organisms, inhibiting up to 99 per cent of airborne bacteria, viruses and mould,” he says.

There are also some new looks in air conditioners and new technologies that Joe says are worth getting excited about. “At Panasonic, we’ve introduced artificial intelligence-powered features that enable our air conditioning solutions to auto-adjust to temperatures based on heat load conditions,” he explains.

Lady adjusting air temperature
Image courtesy of Polyaire

8. Fans for winter comfort

Did you know your fan can help you cut your winter heating costs? Generally ceiling fans are built to rotate both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Switch your fan to a clockwise direction and it draws cool air up and forces warm air down to keep you warmer in winter.

Amber Mostert, marketing manager for Big Ass Fans, says fans with variable speed settings don’t need to be reversed and can be run at low speeds to push the hot air at the ceiling downward. “It’s best to choose a fan that generates their power from their size rather than their speed as they’re able to thoroughly mix the entire volume of air in a space,” explains Amber. “With uniform temperatures throughout the space, heaters don’t need to run as frequently to maintain thermostat set points, resulting in energy savings up to 30 per cent.”

As for what’s new in ceiling fans, Amber says they’ve seen an emerging trend of the use of industrial-style fans in commercial and residential spaces. “People have been wanting
a bold industrial-style look that’s still quiet so as not to interrupt the activities below,” she says.

9. Change up your decor

Invite in some winter cheer with natural organic materials and textures. Source some decorative pieces that pay homage to winter but also infuse life and warmth. Pot up some indoor plants to increase oxygen flow; on the days when it’s too chilly to venture outdoors, you’ll feel as though you can still connect with nature. Layering up adds warmth. Opt for luxe fabrics such as velvet, faux fur and wool to create a feeling of warmth.

While you are at it, use this time to declutter your living spaces; added clutter weighs you down. Come spring, your home will feel lighter and brighter. Make it a family activity and get everyone involved. Winter is a time when charity shops need donations the most.

10. Outdoor warmers

When winter’s chill is in the air, an outdoor heat source will allow you to still enjoy the outdoors. From firepits to fireplaces and more, you’ll not only add a little flare, but a whole lot of heat to your outdoor space.

For a small outdoor entertaining area, a firepit is a great solution. As an added bonus, a firepit is portable — move it around as needed. Wood-burning firepits also offer another way to cook simple foods with a grill plate on top. Elevating a space to make it feel warm and inviting, your guests will fee love it. Bioethanol freestanding fire tables are an environmentally friendly, cost-efficient option to provide inviting warm ambient heating. They are very versatile and can be used both indoors and out. Designer fireplaces are also making their mark — a custom-built fireplace is a focal point.

With radiant heaters there is also a lot on offer to keep you snug. Greg Trezise, national sales manager at Heatstrip, says radiant heaters are a great option. “There are Heatstrip slimline heaters that are specifically designed for outdoor spaces,” he says. “The heaters come in a variety of styles and this allows you to select a model that works well with your environment.”

Technology is also finding its way into outdoor heating. Greg says the Heatstrip Elegance with remote and app (THE-RA) control is compatible with iPhone, Android, Alexa and Google Hub. “It’s a suitable solution for your undercover protected alfresco area, balcony, patio and verandah,” he says. Research undertaken by FCG Research Institute, Kitasato Research Centre for Environmental Science and Japan Food Research Technologies.


This article originally appears in Grand Designs Australia 11.1