Property - Interiors

Interior designer, Clair Strong, offers her top tips for making your home a cosy sanctuary this winter

Arrange your furniture around the fire


If you have a fireplace, you’ll know it adds a wonderful atmosphere to your living room and creates a stunning focal point.


Arrange your seating around the fireplace to allow family and friends to enjoy the fire’s warmth while also enjoying conversation. For family board games and drinks, sofas should face inward and towards each other. If you plan to watch television together, face your sofas in one direction. 


Arrange your furniture so you can easily get to and from the fireplace. Arrange coffee tables to create pathways, not obstacles. Make sure rugs aren’t too close to the fire.

The perfect living room layout offers comfort without clutter and creates an inviting space to relax.

Warm up cold floors


If you have wooden or tiled floors, they can often feel cold in the winter. A new rug will not only add warmth but also transform the look of your space. Look for warm sheepskins, trendy Berber tufted rugs or colourful designer styles.

Layering rugs on top of carpets adds texture and softness underfoot but also keeps in the heat. 


Soften your lighting scheme


While it might be dark and cold outside, you can use light to create a warm, cosy haven in your home.


Avoid harsh lighting or strip lights and invest in table lamps that create soft diffused light. Ensure you have dimmer switches installed so you can dim the lights low to create a cosy atmosphere.

Look for table lamps that evenly disperse light and produce a soft light and a warm ambience. If you position your side lamps in the corners of your room you will create a warm glow throughout the space. Look for statement lamps or pendant lights with metallic finishes to reflect the light. Floor lamps are an easy way to brighten up a dark corner and create a reading nook. 


Use lanterns and fairy lights to add to the ambience. 

Change your window dressings


The light breezy curtains that keep your home full of natural light in the summer just don’t work in the winter. To keep your home feeling warm in winter, switch to heavier fabric curtains. On a practical level, heavier lined curtains and Roman blinds have some insulation properties and help keep the heat inside too. For bedrooms where you want to control the amount of light in the room, think about teaming curtains with blackout blinds. 


Velvet is very on trend at the moment; it’s a classic fabric that is soft to the touch, thick, warm and luxurious. Velvets now come in lots of colorful modern shades - look for teal, petrol blue or paprika shades to add colour and depth to your interiors. 

If you are worried bright tones might be too dark for your home, think about hanging light coloured linen curtains floor to ceiling for a calming neutral feel.

Switch up your home décor by investing in blankets, cushions and throws. Layer them up in different fabrics, textures and colours; chunky wool, fur and thick velvet fabrics are perfect for adding natural warmth.

Rearrange furniture for sociable evenings


To brighten up your space, create cosy corners to retreat to. A chair to curl up and read a book by the fire could become your new favourite space. I think a sofa in the kitchen where the family can relax can transform your kitchen into more than just a functional space.


Move seats close together and away from the walls to create an intimate atmosphere and keep away drafty windows and doors.  

Add winter candles 


Smell is one of our most powerful senses and candles are essential for creating a cosy atmosphere.  I recommend woody aromas that remind you of a crisp alpine forest or exotic scents that will transport you to sunnier climes.


Choose scents that are traditionally Christmassy (think cinnamon, fire trees and fig) or lavender based scents for de-stressing and calming.


Dotting clusters of church or column candles around a room will spread out the light and warmth and add a bit of drama to your room. If you have children, safer formats like scent diffusers and room sprays also work well.

Winter greenery


Displays of winter greenery like holly, ivy, pine cones and winter herbs will create decorative warmth. I love to make wreaths and create tabletop centerpiece with winter greenery.


Look for indoor plants that thrive in dark conditions like succulents, peace lilies and monstera or consider faux plants as an alternative; the new wave of faux plants are incredibly realistic. Alternatively, a fresh bunch of seasonal flowers will add some welcome colour and brightness during the winter months. 


Update your bedding


Don’t forget about your bedroom! One of the best things about winter is being snuggled up in comfy bed while it’s freezing outside.


Switch your light cotton bedding for something warmer. Cotton flannel, velvet flannel, or Egyptian cotton sheets are all cosy alternatives. Layer on an extra quilt or blanket to really increase the comfort factor.

Warm up your colour pallet


Updating your decor with rich warm tones is the perfect way to make your home winter-ready. Transform cold white walls with dark, deep colours that will transform your room into a cosy winter retreat. You don’t have to go all out and paint every wall; even a single feature wall will create the desired effect. 

Rich jewel colours like navy blue, emerald green, dark grey and plum are very on trend and bring warmth to an interior scheme. The depth and richness of these colours creates a cocoon-like effect that works perfectly during cold winter months.

Warm up your outside space


It's easy to make your outside space winter ready by adding a heat source.  Fire pits are perfect! Besides warming up cold guests, a fire pit is a wonderful place to gather around and drink a hot toddy. Add lighting like patio string lights and make sure your garden furniture is weather-resistant (cover it and bring in cushions when its wet outside). To add to the feeling of cosiness and warmth, just add throws, and blankets to snuggle up in.

With just a few small changes, you can transform your home into a snug sanctuary this winter. 

As a small, friendly, creative business based in Bath we pride ourselves on offering client-led interior design solutions for all the rooms in your house, from redecoration to complete redesign and refurbishments. We recently launched a virtual interior design service to help clients design or update their homes without the need for a face-to-face meeting. We can also design off-plan for those of you with moves ahead.


All images are of completed work, undertaken by myself, you can see many of the projects I have worked on since 2006 on my website at or click the buttons below.


To see more of my projects, visit my website at or click the buttons below. 


All images Nick Smith Photography, with the exceptions of headshot by Kate Butler and grey living room by Jesse Wild.

This year, we’re all going to be hibernating more than ever so this is the time to transform your home into a warm and welcoming space. Here are some simple changes to make your home a cosy and relaxing sanctuary this winter. 

Invest in new winter textiles


In the winter, I love to have plenty of spots around my home to curl up with a hot drink and a good book. The quickest way to transform any cold or unwelcoming interior into a cosy retreat is with textiles.


Switch up your home décor by investing in blankets, cushions and throws. Layer them up in different fabrics, textures and colours; chunky wool, fur and thick velvet fabrics are perfect for adding natural warmth.


Make sure your sofa is piled high with cushions and look for big floor cushions to create extra lounging spaces. Mix different textures, fabrics and designs for maximum cosy impact.  A blanket spread across your bed or sofa adds interest and colour to your home.