Baby, it's cold outside! Winter's chill provides the perfect setting for huddling by the fire and roasting marshmallows and sipping tea.
That's one way to stay warm when a cold snap blows in. But for those of us who actually have to function, we need to get a bit creative to stay warm.
Here are some easy ways to warm up your home and make it cozy this winter without firing up your energy bills.
One solution is to actually make your house warmer. No, no, no. Don't just turn up the thermostat!
Instead, make your home as airtight as possible. These are things we should have done last fall, of course, as a part of winterizing our home, but better late than never.
OK. So you've done all that, you're still shivering. Sometimes it helps to create the illusion of warmth.
Think warm and fuzzy. Have slippers stationed by the doors. Cover hardwood floors with area rugs. Drape soft, fluffy afghans over armchairs.
Dot sofas with overstuffed pillows of chenille or velvet. Consider slipcovers. Rearrange your furniture to form more intimate seating. Use area lamps instead of overhead lights.
Create spots so cozy that you can't resist them. Make a reading corner by positioning an overstuffed chair near a table (for teacups), a basket (for magazines and books) and a reading lamp.
For maximum effect, create the reading area near the fireplace. For family fun, set up a small table in one corner of the den for games, cards, or crafts. Stash all supplies within reach. Keep a puzzle going at all times.
OK, you've got the physical part set up. Now go for the cozy part. You want a room that looks lived in, so you will actually want to live in it.
Put family photos on tabletops. Buy plants to soften the hard edges of the room. In the bedroom, think lush duvets and flannel sheets. Consider bringing home a new set of fluffy, oversize towels and indulge in a heated towel rack to keep warm.
Complete the picture by appealing to the rest of your senses; put soft music on and light scented candles. Better yet: bake some cookies. And for the warmest, coziest feeling of all? Just before bedtime, send your pajamas for a quick spin in the dryer so you tuck into bed already feeling toasty.