Skip to main content

Think lighting, layering and layout when redesigning your living space for a winter spent indoors.monkeybusinessimages/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Sign up for the weekly Style newsletter, your guide to fashion, beauty and design, and follow us on Instagram @globestyle.

The need to nest will continue well into 2021, so you’re clever to think ahead. Not only are we making the most of every square foot in our houses, condos and apartments, we’re also craving that nestled-in feeling – or at least, we will be soon. When it comes to chilling out while keeping the chill out, rely on the three Ls: lighting, layering and layout.

If you haven’t installed dimmers throughout your home already, now’s the time to flip the switch – or turn the dial, as it were. When you control the level of light in a room, you control the energy: Bright for concentrating and soft for relaxing. That’s why dimmers are so important, even in the hallway, kitchen and bathroom. But any changes you make now shouldn’t just be about mood lighting. Ensure that you have a good reading lamp beside your favourite chair, and a proper desk lamp for those work-from-home winter afternoons when the sun’s napping behind the clouds and the natural light is flat. Finally, for hygge-filled nights, stock up on candles – votives, tapers and pillars – and place matches and lighters within easy reach.

The second “L” in the formula is for layering, and it’s about introducing touchable texture in ways big and small. This move is both practical and comforting, whether it means putting down rugs to protect your feet from cold floors, or throwing an extra mohair or chenille blanket on the back of the sofa or the foot of the bed.

Think of your bedding as a seasonal wardrobe item to be swapped out. If you have flannel sheets, launder them now and have them ready for fall’s first cool night. If you don’t, what are you waiting for? (As for me, I just moved to Nova Scotia and flannel sheets are near the top of my must-buy list.) Windows can be layered, too. Consider putting away the sheers or linen panels and hanging some plush velvet drapes to block drafts and create an enveloping effect.

Finally, consider the layouts of your rooms. Since big dinner parties aren’t on anyone’s social calendar, reclaim the formal living and dining rooms for everyday use. The dining room makes a great office, whether shared or solo, and sideboards are natural spots for hiding printers and supplies. In the living room, ditch the “conversation zones” and turn them into shared flex spaces for schoolwork, yoga, playing games or reading.

These few easy changes can make the difference between feeling cooped up and happily cocooned.

Need some advice about interior design and decor? Send your questions to