Creating winter-friendly home designs

Written by Douglas Ross in Buying

Love the feel of cold, polished concrete under your feet during those sticky and humid summer months? What about when Earth is tilted a little further far from the sun and a midnight trip to the bathroom in winter is more akin to Shackleton’s traverse of Antarctica?

It can be hard to create home designs, whether renting or as a homeowner, that work well in both the hotter and colder months. But there are some ways to make that transition to winter in your home a little easier on both the eyes and the soles of your feet.

Use timber wherever you can

Have you ever seen a home with too much timber? No, it is an oxymoron. You can never have too much timber, unless you live close to an active volcano.



Timber is an incredibly effective way to create levity and an immediate relationship with the natural world in the hotter months, while at the same time miraculously transforming its influence on a home and cocooning the home’s interior design during winter. Timber vertical walls like above break up a wall in the hotter months in a way that is reminiscent of lungs allowing air to flow through them. Retaining heat in winter, timber walls are added insulation in the home, and as a tactile part of the home, help to give a design a sense of safety and comfort from the outside elements.



Timber flooring has a similar effect, but is even more tactile than a timber wall in all seasons. Timber flooring helps to separate a home’s palette, such as in the above example, which in the winter months encloses the home in the same way a timber wall does. In the hotter seasons, timber floors also create a sense of space in a home, due to the linear pattern of the individual panels.

Soften interior spaces

The below interior is a perfect example of how multiple design features can act to soften a space in the winter months. Indoor plants place the majority of the water they drink back into the local atmosphere, which helps create warmth and humidity within a room. This helps battle against a dry room that comes about from using heating, which in turn helps fight against the common cold.



Removable rugs are also a necessity for those rooms with hard surfaces. In summer you can simply store them away, making it easier to keep your surfaces clean, while in winter they provide extra warmth in the home, both literally and visually.

When you don’t have a fireplace…

Lighting can arguably play the most important part in creating warmth in your home designs during winter. Different lighting types, including ambient, utility and accent lighting can all be used in a variety of ways to be adjustable during the various seasons.


Make sure your ambient lighting is adjustable, and consider replacing brighter ambient bulbs with energy efficient but warmer hue bulbs. Because the sun disappears earlier in the day, accent lighting, that which highlights specific designs or features of a home (i.e. floorlamps), is important in creating an inviting and cozy atmosphere within the home.  The below restaurant is a great example of how lighting can be used against walls to inject heat into a room. Similar effects can be achieved with floor lamps or incorporating LED lighting into the construction of your flooring or cabinetry. Look towards other restaurant and bar designs for inspiration, as they often utilise lighting and textures in a way that promotes a sense of comfort, elegance and warmth.

A restaurant with warm LED lighting

Temporary palettes

Consider using temporary wall paper to change the colour palettes in your home to be darker, colour-blocked designs. This is an affordable and achievable way to completely overturn the atmosphere of your home design so that your desire for warmth, comfort and support in those colder months is satisfied.

A floral wallpaper design in a living room