12 ways to make your house cosy and warm this winter

Time to hunker down and make your home comfortable and inviting over winter.

Last updated: 9 May 2023

What you’ll learn:

  • Tips for maximising the warm factor in your house over winter
  • Decor ideas to make your home feel even snugglier than it is
  • Great winter activities you can do at home

How to keep your house warm during winter

In Aotearoa New Zealand, we’re all about making our homes cosy during the winter months. We know that creating a warm and toasty home can make the world of difference when the cold season arrives. Make the most of these cheap and easy ideas to keep warm and dry inside.

1. Hidden hotties

We reckon one hot water bottle is no longer enough – grab half a dozen and hide ‘em everywhere. Tuck them in between your bedsheets, pop them on the couch, and don’t forget our favourite – wrap your pyjamas around one just before bed-time. You’re welcome.

2. A toasty roast

When you’ve finished cooking that roast dinner or baked feijoa crumble, turn off the oven and crank open the door slightly – enjoy that free heat! Take a similar approach to showering in winter too – leave the bathroom door open to circulate hot air throughout a dry home.

3. Ditch the drying rack

When you can’t dry your laundry outside, you’ll be familiar with winter’s worst hallmark – the clothes horse. Not only can using these flimsy racks inspire a swear word (or two), drying clothes inside can cause moisture and mould. It’s a good excuse as ever to finally treat yourself to that fancy new (or pre-loved) dryer.

Alternatively, a sturdy clothes rack or a heated clothing rail will change your life! When drying clothes inside, be sure to use a dehumidifier or a small and stylish heater to stop your rooms from feeling damp.

4. A cuddly companion

Whether with your furry friend or special human, getting close and comfortable with each other costs nothing, and gives you warm fuzzies on the inside, too. Naww…

We also love these heated blankets for a comfy companion that won’t wriggle.

Our four-legged friends are always up for a cuddle.

Creating a warm and cosy vibe in your home

Now your home has trapped the heat, creating spaces you want to spend time in is key. Kiwi spend an average of 70% of their time indoors during winter – so make it a cheery place to be with these styling tips.

Make your home so comfy and warm that you won’t want to leave, even when spring arrives!

5. Layer, layer, layer

The key to nailing the maximalist, cottage-core trends this winter is to simply imagine your house needs an outfit and to layer your furniture, floor and walls accordingly!

For example, you could use a combination of kilim and sheepskin rugs in conjunction with a few well positioned floor cushions around a low coffee table for extra comfy seating. Mix and match pillows of contrasting textures like velvet, wool and mink with multiple throws of different colours. Create the impression of a smaller space (without losing any usable space) by hanging prints of different styles on an empty wall, this will make any room feel extra cosy and intimate.

6. Infatuate with fire and light

You have so many options when it comes to adding a touch of natural feeling light and warmth to your home. For a particularly easy option, you could

always load up a YouTube video of a fireplace and display it on your flatscreen TV too! Sure, it’s a bit silly, but we don’t judge – it definitely creates a homely vibe.

If you do go the hi-fi-fire route, top up the vibe with actual flames. Scented candles serve double duty here by creating that cosy low-light aesthetic, while also making your home smell good! Look out for scents like cinnamon, vanilla bean and gingerbread for a particularly toasty fee;

Finally, you can never go wrong with dimmable lights or a curtain of fairy lights. The latter is a particularly good solution for renters who can’t change out their actual light fixtures. You’ll find heaps of easy-to-install options on Trade Me.

Even a YouTube video of a fire can help make a room feel warm and inviting.

7. Grow the glow with mirrors

Use mirrors to reflect and multiply the sunlight, candlelight and nature throughout your home. In particular, a set of mirrors placed behind a lampshade or opposite candles will grow their glow! Alternatively, a large mirror placed opposite a west facing window will create an incredible surprise at sunset and give your home a glowing, summery feel.

8. Create a blissful bedroom

How to make your bedroom cosy for winter is one of the most important things to get right. After all, it’s no fun waking up freezing! Again, we recommend hot water bottles and electric blankets to make your sleeping situation so toasty that you might even look forward to winter next year!

Instead of the usual indoor plants, opt for dried flowers like baby’s breath or bunny tails – the neutral tone will warm up your bedroom, instead of cooling it down as greenery tends to do.

Bedroom lamps are another power move. Whether you like Himalayan salt lamps or Tiffany retro-mosaic lamps, statement lighting next to a papasan or armchair creates the perfect posse to wind down without tech before bed.

Your bedroom should be your ultimate sanctuary during the winter months.

Winter activities for your home

You can only rug up and rest for so long – cabin fever is real! The best way to combat the winter blues? Get creative and make your place a winter wonderland.

9. Rug up your patio

If you enjoy entertaining friends and family, take it to the next level by creating an outdoor winter retreat space. Who says the garden has to become a no-gone zone over winter? A good heater or brazier can allow you to continue to enjoy your outdoor, even when it’s particularly fresh outside. Alternatively, indulge in still and starry nights together by treating everyone to one of your (now many) hot water bottles and heated throws. Grab a couple of large thermoses or a 2.5L pump pot for hot cocoa… on tap!

Cold? What cold?!

Hanging with friends will give you those internal warm and fuzzies.

10. While away a crafternoon

Make your own candles, wreathes, or make regular knitting nights a thing. If you’re new to knitting, try starting with jumbo needles and chunky wool. Not only will you feel satisfied after making your own scarf or blanket, you’ll keep your fingers warm while you’re at it!

Stay active inside with a winter-themed jigsaw, or an afternoon of arts and crafts with friends.

Winter is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby.

11. Bring the heat to your kitchen!

From waffle-makers to popcorn-poppers, coffee machines to microwavable toastie plates – specialty appliances are hot right now. By baking your own bread in the Brevil and mulling cider or wine in the crockpot, you’ll warm up your soul with yummy treats and get to enjoy the aromas wafting throughout your home.

Get your mates over, and cook yourself up a winter’s feast.

12. Heat and treat with an at-home spa

Upgrade your bathroom with special pillows, bath trays and a waterproof, bluetooth speaker for a spa soundtrack – your evening soak will feel super swanky and leave you feeling roasty and rested.

Shower domes are a practical and pleasant addition to your morning shower – dry off in comfort and minimise mould. If you’re a cold-therapy fanatic, make it a little easier on yourself this winter with a heated towel to look forward to.

For a touch of luxury, why not indulge in a foot spa or massager? These items can be particularly welcome after a long day on your feet, or if you’ve had to trudge home in the rain after work.

How will you update your space to stay toasty this winter? However you warm up, do it your way, with Trade Me.

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