12 Easy, cost-effective ways to make your home cosier for winter
Temperatures may not often drop below zero in South Africa, but it can still get very cold and most homes are built for enjoying long summer days, not for keeping the winter chill at bay.
“South Africans like to believe that it’s all sunshine and braais and that, other than occasional rain, we don’t really have bad weather in this country, but the truth of it is that it can be really cold for at least three months of the year” says Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
“And in winter we do tend to stay in more often, spending time at home with family and friends or snuggling up with a good book or movie, so it makes sense to winterise our homes so that we can enjoy them as much during the colder months as we do in summer.
“Additionally, with the cost of electricity now being what it is, I think we’d all prefer to stay warm and comfortable in winter without having to face a huge monthly bill.”
Geffen suggests the following to turn your home into an ultra-cosy retreat; a haven where your family can enjoy warmth, fun and relaxation during the colder months:
Layer on the blankets, throws and cushions – Nothing says cosy like warm fleecy throws or woolly blankets and extra pillows ensure additional comfort when snuggling in front of a movie on a cold winter’s day. If you are buying new ones, opt for vibrant colours like burnt orange and forest green to add style to your comfort. If you don’t want them to adorn your couch, you can buy a pretty basket in which to leave them folded up when bot being used.
Include area rugs – Rugs will add warmth and style to your living spaces, especially next to your bed where you have to put your warm feet onto a cold floor. Choose textured materials with thicker weaves and vibrant colours for extra warmth and charm.
Change out your curtains – Curtains are more than merely decorative drapes which get closed at night – they also contribute to the retention of heat in the home. So, when the nights start to get chilly, replace your lighter summer curtains with heavier drapes to ensure warm, cosy evenings.
Soften the lighting – Add a few candles and buy a table or standing lamp for softer evening lighting. And if you have non-flashing fairy lights with plain bulbs, string those up to add to the ambience – they’re definitely not just for Christmas.
Go gas – gas heaters are a great investment as they really heat up smaller areas quite quickly and they can also be moved from room to room. And, with loadshedding a regular feature of our lives, they offer both heat and light.
Invest in winter bedding – Cotton flannel, velvet flannel or heavyweight Egyptian cotton sheets are wonderfully warm alternatives to crisp lightweight cotton sheets and will make your bed a whole lot cosier and more comfortable. And if you really feel the cold, add an electric blanket for that extra toasty feeling.
Bulk up your towels – Stepping out of the shower on a cold day is never easy but it’s so much nicer when you can wrap yourself in a large fluffy towel to warm up and dry off. A new, plush set of towels will not only keep you warm, but also make the prospect of getting up while it’s still dark out a whole lot more palatable.
Heated towel rails – If your bathroom is due an upgrade, now is the time to do so and add heated towel rails for that deeply luxurious feeling of being wrapped in soft warm towelling after you emerge from the bath.
Outdoor Heating – If you like spending time outdoors regardless of the weather, consider adding a fire pit to the patio or buying a standing gas heater and enjoy the ubiquitous Sunday afternoon braai or an evening around the patio table with hot chocolate and board games.
Invest in a portable fireplace – Nothing says ‘cosy’ quite like a fireplace and even if you don’t have a built-in fireplace, adding a portable one to any room in the house will instantly up the cosiness factor.
Create a Reading Nook – Everyone will love a cosy nook in which to unwind, regardless of whether they’re reading a book, catching up on the news on their tablet or even just scrolling through their social media pages. It could be as simple as placing a comfy chair and blanket in a corner of your bedroom or next to the new standing lamp in the lounge.
Cosy entertaining – Revive the 70’s classic and fire up your fondue sets to enjoy cosy, interactive dining. Add Glühwein to the mix for extra fire in your belly.