There's a lot to appreciate about living in a warm climate when winter rolls around. No snow to shovel and no need for thermal underwear, to name but two. At the same time, decorating your home in a way that feels cozy might be a little more challenging without the usual winter trappings. How do you convey a sense of warmth without the obvious go-to's like a roaring fire in the fireplace or layers of wool blankets?
In truth, though, many winter decor ideas can still work beautifully and practically in warmer climates. At most, some may just need a bit of tweaking. Designers Aly Morford and Leigh Lincoln, co-founders of Pure Salt Interiors in Southern California, agree. "No matter where you live, there are a few classic seasonal elements we love to incorporate in our spaces for a festive feel," Lincoln says. Evergreen accents with garlands, wreaths, and potted arrangements are our favorite way to add life with a seasonal flair."
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Textured accents like plaid pillows and knit throws also add a feel of coziness, according to Morford and Lincoln. If wool is too warm, look for cooler textiles like cotton. And as a final note, Lincoln recommends finding a signature scent. "We love musky candles and incense with herbal notes like sage and clove to bring in an additional festive element to our spaces," she says.
Read on for more cozy winter decorating tips for a home that's warm and inviting in any kind of weather.
15 Warm-Climate Winter Decor Ideas
1. Adorn your banister with a garland.
Winter vibes blend with modern coastal decor in this entryway by Pure Salt Interiors. The evergreen garland makes a lovely local and seasonal statement by incorporating native eucalyptus along with more traditional cuttings. With the surfboard in the background, we get a touch of winter while never losing a sense of place.
2. Bring in cold weather motifs.
You may not have snow where you live, but that doesn't mean you can't bring in some winter wonderland motifs. This sweet vignette by Tina of My Farmhouse Fanatic Life sets a wintry tone in such a fun way with the vintage skis, ice skate art, and paper snowflake. We also love that these items can be thrifted and DIY'd. For anyone interested in recreating the look, Tina also offers a tutorial for making the snowflakes.
3. Incorporate soft lighting.
Moody lighting always makes for an inviting atmosphere, and if you had any doubts, this cozy living room by Chris Loves Julia should all but banish them. Winter's more diffuse sunlight naturally leads to darker interiors this time of year. Embrace that by welcoming in any natural light you can and then eschewing overhead lighting in favor of a well-placed lamp.
4. Try a faux fireplace.
A roaring fire you don't need, but a faux fireplace can set the mood just as well. This one by Michelle of The Cozy Farmhouse was thrifted and painted black. The creator then glued on wood slices purchased from a craft store. The result is so homey, especially with the striking mantel decor of dried leaves and black candlesticks.
5. Add some plaid.
Certain patterns just scream winter, and plaid is one of them. The trick to using it in warmer climates is to do so sparingly, as an accent — like a throw pillow or blanket. Luckily, since plaid is a pretty bold pattern, a little will go a long way. So you can set the mood without the risk of overheating.
6. Layer cooler textiles.
Linen in winter decor? This Time in Colour really shows how it can work. Her choice to layer cooler textiles models one great way to imbue a cozy feel without getting too hot under the covers. The faux fur throw adds that wintery feel in one layer that can easily be tossed aside, and of course, nothing says "winter" like a Christmas tree.
7. Create a soft glow with candles.
As we've noted, a lit fireplace just does not make sense in certain climates. But the beauty of a warm, glowing fire cannot be understated. Candles are the perfect solution. Whether with tapers, tea lights, or scented votives, they instantly create a welcoming ambience. Take inspiration from My Scandinavian Home and use a couple of coordinating candle holders in different sizes for a simple dining room centerpiece.
8. Bring in foliage from colder climates.
Winterberries and pine are classic symbols of the season. This swag hung on a front door is a simple and sweet way to bring in a dose of holiday spirit. You can also incorporate seasonal plants into your tablescape or winter mantel. If you aren't able to find fresh foliage where you live, realistic faux options can be found widely, as well.
9. Go for warmer colors.
Color can play such a role in setting the mood. Warmer tones can literally make a space feel warmer, as shown in this space by Studio McGee. Rusts, golds, and browns can all help create a welcoming atmosphere, whatever the temperature outside.
10. Add boho accents.
Winter home decor doesn't have to be limited to evergreens and cozy blankets. A rustic boho wall hanging, like this one by The Bungalow on Bennett, can also create a cozy, festive feeling. This one mixes wood and metal elements with soft felted wood and string tassels, all in soothing shades of cream and rust.
11. Incorporate native plants.
Natural elements like wood and greens can really warm up a space. Rather than sticking to traditional pine, consider incorporating green plants that are native to your area. Eucalyptus, for example, grows in milder climates, is very pretty, and gives off a lovely scent.
12. Embrace cozy textures.
Inviting textures are a classic way to create a warm ambience. Boucle, faux fur, shag, fringe, and woven elements all make an appearance in this winter living room by Dichotomy Interiors. Combined with soft lighting, they create a homey space perfect for lounging with a book and a cup of hot cocoa.
13. Create a moment with fairy lights.
Glowing and almost magical, fairy lights are always a good idea. We love how Carrie Higgins of Making Lemonade has placed the lights inside of mason jars, evoking the feeling of summer lightning bugs. Surrounded by evergreen sprigs, pinecones, and a metal star, they create a charming yet simple winter vignette.
14. Hang a winter wreath.
A verdant wreath is traditional no matter the climate, and there's no reason not to take part. As with any decor involving greenery, you can go with live branches or faux, native stems or not. This foraged DIY wreath by Sara Albers is but one of many varieties that literally bring in a bit of life to your home. If you prefer a faux alternative, try this tutorial.
15. Treat blankets as decor.
It could be wool plaid or fair isle or faux fur or shearling.Whatever the variety, nothing evokes the winter season quite like a plush blanket. If they're too hot to use as a layer in your sunny locale, you can still treat them as decor. Drape one over your couch, or try a blanket ladder.