Published on December 7, 2019

Once the temperature outside drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, we willingly hand ourselves over to chunky knit blankets, string lights, and campfire-scented candles. This decor arsenal has become the standard when cold weather strikes, mainly because it requires almost zero effort, aside from a quick Target or IKEA run. The problem is, this very simplified hygge only works for so long. When February rolls around and there’s still no end to winter in sight, you’ve got to come up with a solid plan B. 

No one knows how to best deal with glacial weather than the people who consider the slush and snow their everyday norm (think places as far as Moscow and Finland but also as close to home as Maine and Michigan). Pack your parka: We asked interior designers (already experts on all things cozy) from places with notoriously harsh winters to share their unique tips for creating a warm and welcoming space. 

Moscow: Choose a Springtime Color Palette

dining room light that looks like icePin It
Photography courtesy of Anna Kovalchenko

I like to use late March as a source of inspiration for my projects. Vivid summer colors look too harsh in Moscow apartments (and at the end of the day, it’s cold here for most of the year), but subtle hues that are reminiscent of the forest and freshwater springs—think: jewel tones of blue and green—add a tranquil touch. This can also translate to lighting. Sculptural fixtures with long crystals that look like water drops, branches, or flowers channel this same feeling year-round. —Anna Kovalchenko, principal designer at Anna Kovalchenko Interiors 

Reykjavík: Brighten Up a Bed With Graphic Textiles

plain bedroom with a big blanket on the bed of a womans bodyPin It
Photography by Ana Engilberts

We only have four or five hours of sunlight these days, so we have to be good to ourselves, especially when it comes to decorating a bedroom. We are currently working on a new blanket inspired by a Japanese silk-screened illustration, as well as a piece with Cubist shapes and a ’60s color palette. They’ll look extra-cozy sprawled across a bed. —Halla Hákonardóttir and Helga Björg Kjerúlf, founders of Usee Studio

Maine: Invest in a Fireplace

living room with L shaped sofa and wood burning fireplacePin It
Photography by Erin Little; Design by Heidi Lachapelle Interiors

In one living space, we converted an open fireplace into a wood stove to offer the most heat output, while still maintaining that romantic notion that a roaring fire provides. —Heidi Lachapelle, cofounder and designer at Heidi Lachapelle Interiors 

Winnipeg, Canada: Paint It White (But Don’t Forget the Green!)

white living room wiht large windowsPin It
Photography by Ariana Tennyson; Design by Jaclyn Peters; Styling by Ashley Illchuk

Since we tend to get a lot of sunny days along with buckets of snow, I always suggest painting the main spaces of a home white. It gives the natural light lots of room to reflect and move around. Then add as many plants as you can find spots for. The best part of our winters: No one ever second-guesses your need to cancel plans because it’s “just too cold to leave the house.” —Jaclyn Peters, principal at Jaclyn Peters Design 

Minnesota: Turn the Dining Room Into a Textured Hangout 

dining room with furry throws over the chairsPin It
Photography courtesy of Kassina Folstadt

Minnesota is home to the largest Scandinavian population in the U.S., and our traditions run deep. Simply tossing sheepskin throws over dining room chairs gives everyone a reason to gather with mulled wine and cider that’s been simmering in a stove-top kettle. —Kassina Folstadt, founder of Ollie Interiors and Goods

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