With temperatures dropping quickly and the shortest days of the year approaching fast, many apartment renters are looking for ways to stay cozy and ride out the long winter in complete comfort.
Here are 10 simple tips that are sure to help you stay cozy in your apartment until spring returns.
1. Avoid the overheads
Overhead lights are great when you're staying up late to get some extra work done or trying to find something small you dropped on the ground. What they're not great for is setting a cozy mood. With the sun setting earlier than any other time throughout the year, you end up spending a solid portion of the winter months basking in unnatural light, regardless of how much natural light your apartment receives in the middle of a sunny day.
Make the most of these early sunsets and treat yourself to some warm and cozy mood lighting. Whether that takes the form of an ultra-modern floor lamp, a hand-me-down lava lamp from your pop's college days or a Michael Scott-style St. Pauli Girl neon sign, all that matters is that it puts your mind at ease and amplifies your cozy vibe.
2. Light a candle…or five
For hundreds of years, fire has been the most effective way for people of all walks of life to find coziness in the toughest conditions. From our cave-dwelling ancestors sharing stories around the warm embrace of a communal fire to you and your cousins sitting at the base of the fireplace while grandpa relives the glory days aloud, fires have always been a go-to for cultivating coziness.
Given the fact that many apartments are not equipped with a fireplace, you're going to have to get a bit creative here. Luckily for you, candles are in vogue and that means every Walmart, Target and CVS boasts an entire section of seasonally scented candles perfect for mellowing out your apartment and inviting those cozy feelings in.
Pro tip: Create your own makeshift fireplace by getting a set of five or so scentless candles. Place them together in a safe spot in your apartment, turn off the lights and stay cozy around your new "fireplace."
3. Invest in sweats
When you're getting down to business, you put on a suit. When your business is staying cozy in the winter, you put on a sweatsuit. As temperatures drop and the sun only shows its smiling face for a few precious hours a day, comfort takes the top priority over style. This is especially true if you're part of the still-growing population of people spending their nine-to-five working from home. Stay home, stay suited and stay cozy.
4. Slide into a quality pair of slippers
If you're already committed to spending a majority of your winter rocking a sweatsuit, slippers are the next logical step (pun very much intended). Less rigid than shoes, more comfortable than your coziest pair of socks, a quality pair of slippers is the final piece you need to achieve total head-to-toe comfort and maximize your overall coziness as winter rages on outside your windows.
5. Organize your closet
Now that you've got a cozy sweatsuit and quality slippers, it's time to trim the fat in your closet by tossing the things you don't wear.
Buckle up, this step to staying cozy is a three-parter.
Part 1: Remove summer clothes you didn't wear this year
Go through your closet and set aside all of the warm-weather items you didn't touch throughout this past spring and summer. Put those clothes in a garbage bag or cardboard box and set them aside for a few months.
Part 2: Remove winter clothes you didn't wear last year
Go through your closet and set aside all of the cold-weather items you didn't wear throughout the fall and haven't touched a month or so into the winter. Add those clothes to your warm-weather collection from a few months ago.
Part 3: Donate these clothes
Donate those clothes and enjoy the cozy feeling that comes with helping those in need in your community. And, as an added bonus, you're creating more space in your closet for the fashion trends of the future.
6. Get creative
The lighting is right and your sweats are plush. Now that you're equipped with the things you need to stay cozy, it's time to take the next step and do some activities that invoke that highly sought-after feeling of pure coziness.
One great way to leverage your creativity to create a more cozy environment is to fill your walls and shelves with your own creations. You don't have to be a Picasso to display your own artistic creations throughout your apartment. Even if you're not the most creative person, the whole point here is to pass the time, ignite your imagination and create a more cozy environment in your apartment through your own artistic endeavors.
Whether you're painting something simple like a heart, learning the ancient art of origami or hopping in on a new trend like creating your own macrame wall hanging, the important thing is that you're enjoying yourself and engaging your imagination to fend off the boredom that often accompanies cold winter days.
Pro tip: You don't have to spend money to learn a new skill. Look at YouTube for simple tutorials designed to help you perfect your craft without asking you to spend a dime.
7. Embrace your inner iron chef
They call it comfort food for a reason: it provides comfort. Whether that dish takes the form of a hearty hot soup, an extra cheesy casserole or a downright delicious batch of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, comfort food is undoubtedly one of the keys to cultivating a cozy atmosphere all winter long.
For those living in smaller apartments, an added bonus to upping your kitchen productivity throughout the winter is that you get a little residual heat from your stovetop or oven circulating around the apartment.
8. Work out with your bodyweight
Even if you're living in a 400-square-foot studio, you still have enough room for some bodyweight workouts. While this may seem like a counterproductive activity to staying cozy in your home, bodyweight workouts offer a few advantages that contribute to an overall cozy vibe.
Working out is one of the most reliable ways to activate your endorphins and improve your overall mood. So, if you find yourself feeling bogged down by a cold gray day, take 15 minutes or so to work through some pushups, squats and situps. You can do these three simple workouts in minimal space with no equipment required.
These workouts can act as a palette cleanser for your mood and provide you with a fresh mental start even if you're at the beginning of a long day.
9. Find your emotional support show
All due respect to 1950's Hollywood, but the golden age of TV is happening right now. With specialized streaming services opening doors to all types of entertainment, there has never been a better time than now to cozy up on your couch for a full day of pure binging bliss.
If you're looking for something that will put you in a cozy mood the second it shows up on the screen, here are a couple of qualifiers you should keep in mind before you dive into a new show.
- Find something that's easy to follow. This kind of show will allow you to work on your creative endeavors, prep your favorite dish or knock out a quick bodyweight workout circuit without losing track of the narrative.
- Find something with at least three seasons. You can feel the effects of winter well before and long after the official start and end dates of the season. Because of this, it's important to pick a show with some staying power that has the ability to last you to the spring.
It doesn't matter if you're a Netflix fanatic, a Hulu loyalist or dedicated to Disney+, you're sure to find something that will have you feeling cozy every time take a seat on the couch and pick up the remote.
10. Hit the books
There's something primally pleasurable about cracking open a book and transporting your mind to an entirely new world. When temperatures drop, this joy rises even more. While it's difficult to put down the remote and pick up a new book, taking some time to read is a truly effective way to keep your mind off the cold and keep the cozy vibes rolling. Don't know what to read? Here are three book recommendations that pair perfectly with a winter day.
- "My Year of Rest and Relaxation:" Ever wonder what it would be like to hibernate for a whole year? Author Otessa Moshfegh explores this idea in a wildly entertaining novel that is currently in development to become a movie starring Margot Robbie.
- "Out There – The Wildest Stories from Outside Magazine:" It's hard not to feel cozy when you're sitting in a temperature-controlled apartment reading about some of the most harrowing adventures ever documented in the freezing wilderness. Simple as that.
- "The Little Book of Hygge:" Defined as "the art of creating coziness," Hygge is something that is only achieved through concentrated efforts. Written by Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, this book is the definitive guide to cultivating coziness from arguably the most qualified person on the planet to do so.
Not interested in the titles above? Take a trip to your local bookstore and ask around for recommendations or look around for an online book club that matches your style.
Start prepping and stay cozy all winter long
It doesn't matter if you're using light to set the mood, putting your kitchen to the test or escaping your surroundings through a great show or book, coziness is within reach no matter who you are, where you live and what your interests are.