8 Creatives From Famously Cold Climates on How to Ward Off the Winter Blues
Brrr-illiant ideas from designers and more around the world.
Updated Dec 22, 2023 11:14 AM
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Anyone living in New York City has asked themselves the same question this winter: Where’s the snow? The recent reporting around the record-breaking wait for flurries has served as a reminder to those living here and beyond that the weather is nothing short of unpredictable these days. But there are some areas around the world where winter is still guaranteed to bring blizzards, extra-short days, and uncomfortably low temperatures—you know, the kind with negative signs in front of them that make you shiver just at the thought.
It’s from the people who call these frigid locales home that we can learn a thing or two about getting through the bleak wintertime, no matter if you’re sporting a parka on the daily or just want to ward off seasonal boredom. Ahead, eight interior designers and creatives from places with notoriously chilly winters share their tips for creating a cozy and welcoming space.
My husband is Danish, the home of hygge, so candles are a big part of our life. I’m not much for scented candles, but beeswax has a pass in my book with that warm, sweet smell. I also find myself lighting more incense in the winter months. I like rustic, plant-based ones and actually have been making my own lately. That smoky, earthy aroma is so grounding. —Victoria Sass, design director, Prospect Refuge Studio, Minneapolis
Pepper in Key Textures
Creating warmth in a space has everything to do with organic texture. Oftentimes, we use bouclé, paired with shearling and grasscloth walls, to lend a warm and welcoming environment. —Abby Hetherington, principal, Abby Hetherington Interiors, Bozeman, Montana
Channel Your Green Thumb
Just because we have become accustomed to snow doesn’t mean we shy away from cooler finishes like concrete and stone; rather, we work hard to add layers of warmth. Don’t forget about plants. When the trees outside are painted in white, some fresh greenery will definitely help you pass the time until spring. —Tara Marshall, principal architect and interior designer, Mera Studio Architects, Calgary, Canada
Do Everything by the Fire
We have 30 indoor fireplaces and seven outdoor firepits across the Inns of Aurora. Guests can soak in the hot pool at the spa, centered on a massive, fire-glazed brick fireplace. In the evenings, our resident innkeepers pour local wine by the historic fireplaces in our many parlors, and later lay out our nightly craft-your-own hot cocoa stations. On our nature trail, our outdoorsmen guide guests through snow-covered woods and tell stories around the campfire. —Alex Schloop, creative director and director of marketing, The Inns of Aurora, Aurora, New York
Surround Yourself With Flowers 24-7
Wallpaper is always an easy thing to incorporate into any room to create a warm and layered space in the depths of winter. I would recommend a botanical print to help bring the outside (summer!) in, like the print, pictured above, from Morris + Co. —Heidi Lachapelle, cofounder, Heidi Lachapelle Interiors, Portland, Maine
Go for Yellow
In one of our projects, we knew that the windows were facing north, which meant a lack of sunlight not only during the winter. So we painted the wall cabinets, doors, and trim in a beautiful butter color. If this is too much of an effort, an easier solution is to change out your curtains or rugs. —Elina Mussakulova, cofounder, Sdelaemremont.kz, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Have a Dedicated Blanket and Pillow for Every Guest
We like to snuggle on the couch wrapped in blankets, and each family member has their own favorite. Plus carelessly placed pillows on the sofa invite friends to sit down for a moment or two. —Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, design director, home and print design, Marimekko, Helsinki, Finland
Make the Sunroom Your Main Hub
One of the best ways we can combat the cold and dark is flooding our spaces with a variety of light. Expansive windows have a big impact on our senses. —Krystal Kellerman, senior designer, Martha O’Hara Interiors, Minneapolis