You and the kids probably like to get outside when you can, soaking up the sunshine and spending some quality time together with good sights and fresh air. It gives the house a rest, and makes the weekly cleaning a lot easier. More importantly, it provides lots of opportunities for screen-free quality time. But when the winter rolls around, it’s hard to keep this habit up. Even the kids can come up with a credible excuse as to why they can’t go play outside: it’s too cold!

So to make sure you’re still having as much fun and family time when you’re cooped up indoors, here are some ways you can make your house cozy for the winter ahead.

Is your family ready for winter? What about your home? With these tips, you'll know how to make your house cozy for winter in no time flat!

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How To Make Your House Cozy For Winter

Get Your Furnace Serviced

Trust me, being in a cold house in the winter because your heating system broke is NOT fun! This is why you need to get your heating system checked out every fall by the pros. They’ll clean out the crud (which will make your system run more efficiently), and fix any problems they notice. This means you’re less likely to have something break when it’s super-cold outside.

When you arrange for service, ask about the company’s “service contract.” If you sign up for your fall (and spring, if you have central air) service contract, what you’re officially paying for is these 1-2 seasonal checkups. But what you’ll also get is priority service (and often a discount) if you need heater repair work on a Saturday night. When it’s below freezing out, you don’t want to be without heat for a minute longer than you have to!

Change Your Light Fixtures

Your light can really change your perception on how hot or cold a room is. Because fluorescent bulbs give off a bluish light, they won’t automatically make you think “warm” as much as warmer light colors will. On top of that, if you have overhead lighting opening up the whole room in an impersonal way, you’re going to feel colder than ever!

So get some table and standing lamps, and some darker lampshades, and switch these on rather than your main light switch. It’s a lot cozier for family game night or a good Christmas movie.

Fix Those Drafts

Now’s the time to put the storm windows down and check to make sure you don’t have any other drafts. There’s nothing worse than a cold draft when you’re trying to get cozy. Check with your energy supplier to see if they offer an energy audit. Some will do this for free.  Others will charge, but will leave you with goodies like free energy-efficient bulbs (that’s what ours does). The point of an audit is to help you spot ways to conserve energy over the winter, like sealing up those drafty windows.

it’s also time to check your heating vents and make sure they’re ready to deliver. If you have central air, you may need to flip your heat vents (as we do) so that the top vents are closed and the bottom ones are open. Also reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. And finally, be sure that your radiators or heat vents are clean and free of dust, so they don’t blow grime around your house while distributing your heat!

Is your family ready for winter? What about your home? With these tips, you'll know how to make your house cozy for winter in no time flat!Get Out Your Favorite Winter Warmers

As I type this, I’m wearing my favorite warm winter slippers and my ankle-length fuzzy robe. Every fall I take these old friends out when the weather turns cooler, and they help keep me warm, both literally and metaphorically. I LOVE snuggling up in them. Likewise, I make sure my girls have warm slippers and cuddly robes in their current sizes for when the weather gets cold. We store our slippers in the shoe rack just inside the door. That way, as soon as we get home we can slip them on to keep our feet cozy warm.

If you don’t have these yet and live in a chillier climate, consider putting them on your Christmas list. Especially the ankle-length robe; this was a game-changer for me. And for your little ones, make sure you’ve got footed pajamas on the list, too. The girls get so excited when winter returns and they can wear their footed PJs again. They love lounging in them all day Saturday; some days, they’ll change into them as soon as they get home from school!

Stock Up On Warm Treats

Is your family ready for winter? What about your home? With these tips, you'll know how to make your house cozy for winter in no time flat!

Looks like we need new canisters of cocoa and marshmallows soon!

Whenever my girls have been out playing in the snow, as soon as they come in they want a cup of hot cocoa. Their friends in the neighborhood know this, and love to pop in for cocoa whenever they’re playing with our girls outside. So I need to make sure we always have plenty of milk and cocoa on hand. I keep the cocoa in a basket in the cupboard, along with mini marshmallows and peppermints or candy canes. This way I’m always ready for a winter warmup for the girls.

Is your family ready for winter? What about your home? With these tips, you'll know how to make your house cozy for winter in no time flat!While this makes a great occasional treat for the girls, it’s not very practical for a daily warm-up for me while I’m at home working. So I also keep plenty of teas on hand for winter days. That way I can put the kettle on whenever I need a quick warm-up, and make myself a pot of tea. I also have a tea cozy that my mama made for me, to help keep the pot warm for me.

Have a ‘Cuddle Corner’

Is your family ready for winter? What about your home? With these tips, you'll know how to make your house cozy for winter in no time flat!

Just a quick idea to finish! Pick a chair, announce it as the ‘cuddle corner’, cover it in blankets and cushions, and let yourself or anyone else in the family snuggle down into it whenever you want. It’s a great comfort spot when the weather outside is getting frightful, and you’ve just got in from work or school covered in rain with muddy boots!

You don’t even have to limit yourself to one “cuddle corner.” You can have them scattered around the house. We have a rocking chair with a side table in our living room that is the perfect snuggle spot for curling up with a good book. The girls have similar “cozy nooks” in their room, which they’ve decked out with pillows and cushions for a cozy spot to read in. They love curling up there for some quiet time.

Your house can be the coziest place you’ve ever walked into, as long as you’ve got some good design choices, the right snuggly clothes, and plenty of blankets on your side!

What’s YOUR favorite tip for cozying up your home for the winter? Let us know in the comments!

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