9 Tips for Achieving Maximum Coziness

Gray skies don’t have to mean a drab indoor life. It’s tempting to just hibernate until spring. But there is, indeed, joy to be found in the quieter months of the year. Here are a 9 tips for achieving maximum coziness out of drab weather:

1. Set the mood

Candles are a key ingredient to a supremely comfortable atmosphere. Not only do they provide beautiful, soft lighting, but they also add warmth and scent to your space.

Tip: Choose seasonal scents to inspire celebration, or choose a summery scent, such as coconut and floral, to help combat the seasonal blues.

2. Bake something

Cake is central to the cozy experience. But it doesn’t just begin when you eat the cake (or cookies or pie) — it begins when you buy the ingredients. It’s just a bonus that your baking will flood your space with delicious smells — and taste good too.

Tip: Call up a friend or family member whose recipes deserve appreciation, and ask if they could show you how to work out their spectacular skills. Baking together makes for a lovely afternoon, no matter the weather!

3. Add texture

Plush throws, sheepskins and cushions make for a much more inviting space. Cover your surfaces in as many luxurious fabrics and pillows as you can find and snuggle down.

Tip: Faux is just as fashionable as the real thing. If cost prohibits, find inexpensive alternatives.

4. Invite people over

Fight the urge to retreat, and invite your nearest and dearest (or those you want to know better) over to share your coziness. Bonus: Ask them to bring a bottle of your favorite autumnal beverage!

Tip: Low on funds but want to host a dinner party? Ask everyone to bring an ingredient for stew, and make it together.

5. Get out the board games

They gather dust all year, so make use of them now! For the minimalists among us, a deck of cards is a highly versatile recreational object to keep around. No one to play with? Try your hand at a game of solitaire — analog style.

Tip: Have long-distance friends and loved ones? There are many gaming apps that you can play from all over the world. Start up a game and maintain your connections year-round!

6. Perfect your hot drink game

Hot cocoa, hot toddies, apple cider, mulled wine — pick your poison. Whatever it is, find your own special recipe that is so delicious you can’t wait to show it off. Then have those aforementioned friends over again!

Tip: Why, yes, you can put whiskey in those drinks. But it’s usually a good idea to perfect a mocktail version, too, for friends who don’t imbibe.

7. Embrace sweater weather

If you don’t already have a favorite sweater, it’s time to find one. It should be something that makes you feel at home when you slip it on. Cashmere, wool, mohair — anything will do. Whatever you choose, pair it with thick socks!

Tip: Start a knitting, crocheting or weaving circle, and make your own sweater over the course of the winter. It’s easier to get through lengthy projects when you’re sitting beside a friend — and it’s a great excuse to get together every week, no matter the weather.

8. Curate your cold-outside playlist

Make yourself a mix of music that inspires you to do all those things that make you feel absolutely endeared to your space. Put it on shuffle, relax, repeat.

Tip: Instrumentals are classics for a reason — they can work as background for just about anything. When in doubt, most music services have pre-made playlists, some of which you can filter by mood.

9. Do seasonal activities

Making caramel apples? Check. Carving pumpkins? Check. Canning, puddle jumping, sledding, walking through string-light-wrapped neighborhoods? Check! Whatever your favorite seasonal treats might be, set some dates to make them happen and feel the magic of even the most blah weather wash over you.

Tip: This is a great way to involve kids in seasonal celebration. If you don’t have children of your own, hosting a kid-friendly event (such as pumpkin painting) is a lovely way to connect with friends with little ones. Not a fan of cleaning up after the kids? Offer them a treat in exchange for cleaning up. Everybody wins.

Article originally appeared on Zillow.

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