How to keep your home feeling cozy after the holidays – 10 ways to refresh your space and keep it seasonal

Discover how to transition from holiday decor to cozy winter style with these expert design tips

How to keep your home feeling cozy after the holidays
(Image credit: Sims Hilditch / Tara Cain / David Hunt Lighting)

After weeks of having a cozy home brimming with the warm glow of fairy lights and the twinkle of festive ornaments, packing away the decorations after the holiday season can leave the space feeling a little empty and soulless. 

If you’re anything like me, once the tree has come down you’re often left wondering how you ever lived with the room being so bare. However just because the festive season is over, there's no reason why you can't still enjoy cozy moments at home and there are plenty of easy ways to keep the home feeling cozy and inviting through winter to help banish the January blues. 

How to keep your home feeling cozy after the holidays

After the frenzy of Christmas which many of us spend hosting lunches, parties, and house guests, January can be a welcome time of rest, reflection, and recuperation. It is also a time to look forward with optimism and make plans for the year ahead. Restyling your home to create cozy rooms and nurturing yet uplifting spaces where you can hunker down and relax while planning exciting adventures is a great way to start the year on a positive note. To help we asked the interior designer for their tips. 

1. Layer cozy fabrics and textures

Cozy living room with cream sofa, cream rug and Scandi chairs in fleecy fabric

(Image credit: Allison Babcock in collaboration with Christina Pfeffer)

Layering plenty of textures along with tactile fabrics in neutral tones is a wonderful way to create a cozy living room that feels warm and inviting all year round. Think bouclé, velvet, chunky weaves, and faux furs. ‘Experimenting with textures, sheens, and patterns adds a touch of variety. Natural wood furniture pieces offer an excellent opportunity to introduce neutral and cozy textural elements,’ says interior designer Allison Babcock.

‘To add warmth and a cozy feeling to any seating area or even a bench in the bedroom I prefer to use a material such as bouclé for upholstery. It provides depth, and a sense of comfort. In a plush warm-toned creamy white, I find it perfectly complements a white room and can have the same effect when paired with patterns and darker hues. It’s a very versatile material that always looks good.’

'Unique antique or vintage coffee tables and side tables can bring contrast and warmth especially when paired with a cream upholstery sofa,' adds Allison. 'Consider placing a neutral, patterned living room rug over hardwood floors during the colder months.'

2. Introduce pop of rich color

Living room with bright red shelves

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

To keep your home feeling cozy after Christmas you can’t go wrong by adding in accessories in rich colors says New York-based interior designer Phillip Thomas. ‘During this season, we love using color where possible. Swap out traditional holiday hues for a lively palette of rich colors like deep blues, warm oranges, and lush greens,’ suggests New York-based interior designer Phillip Thomas

‘A saturated color, like a deep aubergine or raspberry can be like a warm embrace. This can be done by adding throw pillows, blankets, or other decorative pieces that can be switched out later on.’

3. Decorate with greenery

Traditional living room with a fireplace and foliage on the mantelpiece

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

After the busy festive period, January, for many, is a welcome time of rest and reflection as well as a time to look forward to the year ahead. Restyling the home with plenty of greenery along with botanical fragrances through foliage or room scents is an easy way to bring instant freshness and vitality. There's no reason why you can't leave your Christmas foliage ideas in place - simply take out the baubles and pinecones for a fresher look and replenish any browning stems. 

‘Changing the fragrance in your home after Christmas is a wonderful way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in any space during the winter season. We particularly love the cozy notes of amber and fig during this time of year,’ says Christina Bull, project lead at Sims Hilditch

You can also enhance the cozy atmosphere of the space by introducing more seasonal foliage and draping additional throws over the backs of armchairs or sofas. We also like to introduce battery-operated side lamps during the darker seasons which offer the flexibility to move them around the home.’

4. Light up dark corners

David Hunt table lamp on console

(Image credit: David Hunt Lighting)

If there’s one thing that can instantly transform the feel of a room more than anything else it’s lighting. 'To create a warm and inviting winter interior consider your lighting carefully, add table lamps that provide a golden glow to dark corners, and perhaps add a floor lamp, armchair and rich textured throw where your tree once stood to create a cozy moment to relax,’ suggests Hollie Moreland, creative director at David Hunt Lighting.

‘Consider changing lampshades on your side lights, adding shades with gold linings in rich plum or deep purple satin will add a touch of wintery glamour.’

5. Create cozy nooks

Scandinavian living room with brick wall and house plants

(Image credit: James Merrell / Future)

If you're embarking on a new room design, consider building in cozy reading nooks or window seats at the design stage, especially if you're lucky enough to enjoy beautiful views, as they make great spaces to relax during the winter months. There's nothing like cradling a hot cup of tea tucked under a throw with a good book on a cold day. 

They work well set into a wall of floor-to-ceiling living room shelving - not only does this mean books are close at hand, but it means the busyness of the shelves is kept out of sight. If possible, consider factoring in a storage bench - a perfect place to store the Christmas decorations. 

6. Dress the windows

Cabin-style paneled living room with Iliv Chalet fabrics

(Image credit: Iliv)

If you're in a climate that gets cold winters then having thick, interlined curtains or blinds is a must to keep in the heat, but of course, they also have the benefit of bringing privacy and light control, too. For extra warmth, you can consider doubling up on window treatments with blinds and curtains. 

When it comes to fabrics consider something timeless like a check or stripe. The brilliant thing about decorating with checks is that they contain multiple colors which can be a great starting point for a scheme. In this chalet, a simple check from Iliv beautifully compliments the Alpine theme.

'Soft brushed checks and robust rustic stripes are perfect for scatter cushions or window treatments, these simple timeless designs exude a handwoven aesthetic that is very easy to live with,' says Debbie Leigh, design manager at
ILIV

'Incorporate natural materials like wood and stone to further enhance the rustic ambiance - wooden furniture, wood-clad walls, and stone fireplaces are all great additions to this scheme. Fur or woolen rugs will complement the fabric choices and make the space feel even cozier. Complement this with rustic metal accents in light fixtures and cabinet hardware and finish the look with accessories such as antler décor and nature-themed artwork,' adds Debbie Leigh.

7. Add in large house plants

Neutral living room with texture and a large house plant

(Image credit: Tara Cain, photograph Wing Ho @canarygrey)

Houseplants and small indoor trees are a fabulous way to instantly bring a space to life, plus they're the perfect replacement for the Christmas tree. Not only are they sculptural, colorful, and decorative, some varieties can also help purify the air resulting in an all-round happy space. 

'Unless we’re working on a second home where regular watering isn’t possible, large live plants and trees find their way into every project for a myriad of reasons,' says interior designer Tara Cain. 'They add a layer of richness into our often neutral palettes, provide organic shape and texture, create a focal point,  anchor (and fill) the space, and they improve the quality of air in the home.'

For large indoor house plants that will make a feature of an empty corner, try Strelitzia nicolai, also known as a wild banana or a Ficus lyrata or Fiddle-leaf fig.

8. Switch up accessories

Neutral living room with bouclé sofa and yellow fur throw

(Image credit: Julia Dempster, photograph Ryan Lahiff)

Decorating with neutrals and then changing up accessories like throws and cushions throughout the year is a great way to keep your home in tune with the seasons. In this relaxing neutral living room by Julia Dempster the simple addition of a soft yellow throw brings coziness and a joyful pop of color pop perfect for beating the January blues.

'To create a cozy and stylish winter atmosphere after taking down holiday decorations, consider incorporating warm textiles like blankets and pillows, adding soft lighting with candles or fairy lights, introducing rich, seasonal colors, and using natural elements like pinecones or seasonal greenery. Additionally, rearrange furniture for a snug layout, use textured rugs to enhance the inviting ambiance and keep the fireplace burning.'

Julia Dempster
Julia Dempster

The renowned British interior designer Julia Dempster has worked on hundreds of projects worldwide from luxury hotels to royal residences. A master at working with neutrals to create a look of understated luxury her cool, sophisticated interiors are guaranteed to inspire.

9. Restyle consoles and coffee tables

candles on a coffee table in a living room

(Image credit: Phillip Thomas, photograph Tim Charles)

Bring fresh seasonal style to coffee tables and console tables by replacing festive poinsettia plants, bowls of baubles, and pinecones with vases of fresh flowers and candles. Put back your favorite coffee table books to serve as inspiration for creative interior projects and future vacations.

'Flowers bring nature indoors, infusing rooms with vibrant colors, delicate fragrances, and a sense of freshness. Their versatility allows for a variety of design possibilities, from creating focal points to providing subtle accents that breathe life into any setting,' says interior designer Phillip Thomas. 'Candlelight creates a cozy and intimate atmosphere, creating relaxation and comfort on cold winter days.'

10. Style with spring bulbs

Wood burning stove with forced bulbs on tray

(Image credit: Future)

Nothing lifts the spirits like spring bulbs; styling up console tables and coffee tables with planters of forced bulbs like hyacinths, paperwhites, and grape hyacinths is a lovely way to embrace a mood of freshness and optimism for the new year. They will also fill the room with fabulous fragrance. 

How can I decorate my house after the holidays?

How can I decorate my house after the holidays?

When the holidays are over there are plenty of ways to lean into winter style and keep your home feeling cozy whilst also bringing an air of optimism and positivity for the year ahead. Replacing colorful and glittering decorations with fresh winter greenery and fragrant candles is an easy way to revive winter living rooms and winter bedrooms. layer up throws and cushions in rich colors and tactile materials such as sumptuous velvets, sheepksin, bouclé, chunky weaves and organic linens.

‘Just because it’s time to remove all the holiday decor, doesn’t mean you can’t create beautiful wintery moments in the home, a gorgeous wool throw, cozy bouclé cushions and neatly stacked logs by the fire will create the perfect transition from holiday decor to cozy winter style,' advises Hollie Moreland, creative director at David Hunt Lighting.

'Consider incorporating meaningful artwork to add a unique touch to your walls,' adds New York-based interior designer Phillip Thomas. 'Bring in indoor plants with colorful foliage to connect your space with nature while enhancing the overall vibrancy. Mix and match patterns in a harmonious way, combining stripes, florals, and geometrics for a lively yet balanced look. Soft ambient lighting in various hues can further enhance the cozy atmosphere, creating a dynamic and cheerful environment that extends the spirit of joy beyond the holiday season.'

How do I make my house feel more cozy?

Planning a layered lighting scheme which incorporates plenty of ambient lighting is often the key to creating a cozy interior, and when we ask the experts for their advice it's the one thing that comes up again and again.

'Embracing warm lighting, whether through soft ambient bulbs or maximizing natural light, contributes to the desired ambiance. Integrating natural elements such as rustic wood and dried flowers establishes a connection with the outdoors,' advises interior designer Allison Babcock.

'Creating a layered look with different lighting sources is a great way to introduce personality and texture into your living room,' adds Charlie Bowles, director of Original BTC. 'Pendants will throw down a large pool of light, while carefully placed table, floor and wall lights will provide task and accent lighting for reading, watching TV or highlighting your favorite piece of art. Having lots of options also means you can pare back your lighting later in the evening for a more intimate, cozy feeling.'

When it comes to creating that inviting and comforting feel, 'avoid (or dim) big overhead lighting and go for table or floor lamps as they will provide that cozy and moody ambiance - they are always my preferred method of lighting a space,' advises interior designer Tara Cain

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is Content Editor on Homes & Gardens online contributing to Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors print issues. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.