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9 Tips for Achieving Maximum Coziness

Gray skies don’t have to mean a drab indoor life.

As fall continues and the days become shorter, it’s too tempting to just hibernate until spring. But there is, indeed, joy to be found in the quieter months of the year.

Perhaps it’s a bit overdone to talk about the art of hygge, that untranslatable Danish word that references the feeling of being ultra-cozy and content.

The thing is, the Danes know how to thrive in winter. You might already know they’re the happiest people on earth, but did you know a lot of them attribute their unseasonably sunny outlook to their home- and self-care habits?

When it’s cold and rainy out, you might hear the siren song of your favorite streaming service. Ahh, sweet, solitary binge-watching! But if you’d like a more satisfying way to spend a chilly evening, here are a few ideas to channel the Danes’ wisdom and make an intentionally delightful day 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.

Go to your favorite market, choose your ingredients carefully, and mix them with great care, taking your time to enjoy the task at hand. 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

Do you tend to hide from your friends as soon as October hits? 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.



5 DIY Home Improvement Projects and When You Should Call a Pro

As a homeowner, there are many improvements you would like to tackle on your own. Doing things yourself is an excellent way to save money on your overall home ownership costs. However, even simple projects, such as painting, may require a helping hand if your safety or the structure of your home could be compromised by mistakes. These are five such tasks to evaluate and then proceed or call a professional.

1. Painting. The simple act of painting a room isn’t difficult and its project that even new homeowners shouldn’t be afraid to tackle under the right circumstances. But there are dangers that must be considered prior to popping open a paint can. True Value Hardware cautions that working around electrical outlets may require turning off the power. Additionally, some interior paints may trigger respiratory issues in those sensitive to volatile organic compounds. Room height is another aspect to consider. If you have vaulted ceilings or must paint in a stairwell, it’s probably best to pay a professional.

2. Roof repair. Your roof is one of the most important components of your home and is its first line of defense against rain, sleet and snow. Check your roof once each year for loose or missing shingles. These can easily be replaced. Anything more advanced should be referred to a licensed roof repair contractor. Asphalt roof repairs are typically not that expensive, costing between $269 and $825, according to HomeAdvisor. If the repairs needed are less than your insurance deductible, it makes sense to pay out-of-pocket. However, if the damage is significant, call your insurance company.

3. Deck. Your outdoor recreation is important to your overall quality of life. A deck or patio can increase your living space seasonally and, depending on its location, is a great DIY project for those comfortable with hand tools. Many big-box retailers offer detailed instructions on how to design, layout, and build a professional-quality deck with common materials. . This is not a quick-fix project and multiple days and at least two people working several hours each day before completion. Never attempt to build a second-story deck unless you have extensive carpentry experience. Ground-level projects, however, are a great learning experience.

4. Bathroom remodel. Many minor bathroom-remodeling jobs can be done in a single afternoon and cost less than $100. Installing a new toilet, adding modern cabinet hardware, or replacing a large bathroom mirror can instantly update this important room. Be careful when doing plumbing work, however, as even minor leaks behind the wall can result in significant structural damage and require expensive repairs later down the road.

5. Kitchen cabinets. The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the home and also one that tends to suffer from quickly changing design trends. Give your kitchen a face-lift by painting the cabinets and adding brushed nickel hinges, knobs and drawer pulls. If your kitchen countertops are less than appealing, a contractor is your best bet for replacement. This requires meticulous calculations in order to properly cut the countertop material to fit correctly around the sink. offers more advice on when to tackle this on your own and when to call an experienced contractor.

Many minor to mid-grade home improvement projects can significantly increase the value and livability of your property. But, even seemingly simple tasks are not without their risks. Before you begin any improvement or upgrade, first evaluate your safety and the cost of doing it yourself versus calling an expert. There are plenty of projects to go around so rest assured, there will always be something for you even if you have to call the pros for these.

Image via Pixabay

Blog Courtesy of Seth Murphy