Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
In spite of their long, dark, cold winters, Scandinavian people are the happiest in the world, probably because they’ve perfected the art of getting cozy. The Danish call it hygge, but it’s about more than a fireplace and a cup of coffee —it’s creating a feeling of contentment and enjoying the good things in life.
There are many ways to warm your home, both literally and figuratively. Here’s how to get comfy for the winter.
From a temperature standpoint, radiant heat is the first thing I think of, even if it’s only in a few rooms, like your bathroom or master suite. I recommend the plumbed kind, which is pricey to install but practically free to use and very energy-efficient. It’s a different kind of warmth than forced heat, and it’s life-changing.
Always, and people tend to want them in as many rooms as possible. I personally love them in kitchens—that’s traditionally where they’ve been located in the home. If you’re renovating or building from scratch, permitting for a wood-burning fireplace can be really difficult, so we try to make the gas insert look like a wood-burning one—everyone wants that authentic feel. We’ll even stack some firewood in a metal or leather holder next to it. Wood really adds warmth décor-wise.
A kitchen is a great room for it—if you’re renovating, I suggest butcher block on the island instead of stone. For a quick update, invest in new cutting boards and display them on your countertop. Wooden bowls for fruit can add that nice tactile warmth too.
People tend to get into coffee drinks in the winter, so it’s a good time to upgrade to a fancy new coffee machine. It also makes a great gift—no one would be upset if they got one of those for the holidays. Even new mugs can make a difference.
People take baths more in the winter to relax. If you’re renovating your bathroom, put in a tub that you’ll love to use, install radiant heat, and get new doors and triple-glazed windows that are more energy efficient and less drafty. I’m also obsessed with towel warmers—you’ll see one in every bathroom in Europe, and I always recommend them to clients. If you’re not renovating, invest in new bath products and thicker, more plush towels.
If you normally have linen on your bed, you can bring in flannel sheets, wool throws, quilts, and warmer, thicker blankets. Throw down extra rugs, especially right next to your bed so you’re stepping onto something warm first thing in the morning. I love antique prayer mats or sheepskin rugs that you can add wherever you need an extra layer of coziness for your feet.
Yes, just add a fire and heaters. You don’t have to invest in a fire pit—you can get a moveable outdoor fireplace that you can bring closer to your house, so you don’t have to walk far in the cold. You can arrange Adirondack chairs around it and even add outdoor heaters like they have at restaurants. Thick wool throw blankets help too. I suggest serving something warm to drink, just in case.
Feeling cozy in every room is the ultimate luxury.