These Home Projects Will Transform Your Space into a Hygge Haven This Winter

Baby, it’s (getting) cold outside. But if you look around your home and find that the inside is less than delightful, might we suggest using the winter months to tackle a few home projects that will refresh your space and transform it into a hygge haven?

Whether you restore an old piece of furniture or play with removable stick-on wallpaper (yes, that’s a thing), there are many low stress updates you can make during these drab winter months that you’ll enjoy all year long.


Once your creative juices are flowing, you’ll want to start your projects right away. But experts say that’s putting the cart before the horse.

“People tend to jump right into redecorating because it’s fun, but organizing needs to happen first,” advises Cindy Bernstein, who runs the Pikesville-based organizing business Aim 4 Order. “Clutter creates feelings of stress and being overwhelmed, while organization leads to a sense that you’re on top of things in your life,” she shares. The anxiety comes in part from the cognitive dissonance many of us experience when we know we need to get organized but put off doing it. “It’s a nagging stressor, making us feel guilty for not doing something we know we need to do,” she says.

Tempting as it may be, Bernstein tells her clients not to start an organizing project by simply running out and buying bins from Target. Containers have a place, but the initial step needs to involve sorting—putting similar items together, then storing or getting rid of what you no longer need. People often realize that they have an abundance of mugs crammed in a kitchen or unworn jewelry muddling the top of a bedroom dresser.

To determine what to remove, ask yourself: Do I use it? Would I buy this again? If you feel remorse at getting rid of something, store it, but don’t keep it in storage forever.

“Think of your basement or storage area as a ‘marinade box’ or a place to stow your stuff while you decide whether to keep it,” Bernstein says. “In a year, if you haven’t touched the items, and they hold no sentimental value, purge them.”


Also think outside of the box with organizational systems. You can purchase and install a readymade system for your closet or entryway, but you can also repurpose objects found at home or bought second-hand.

Mark Foster, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Second Chance, an architectural salvage warehouse in South Baltimore, says he’s continually astounded by the creativity of people repurposing salvaged materials for practical and decorative purposes.  “Social media is ripe with ideas for repurposing, and people are doing all kinds of interesting things that ultimately add character to their homes,” Foster says. “Because of the patina of age, these items can’t be replicated and are made with a bygone craftsmanship that buyers struggle to find these days.”

Bob Baxter, who owns Clifton Upholstery and Design in Lauraville, attests to seeing renewed interest in repurposing older furniture, too.

“People are starting to realize that older furniture lasts longer and is crafted with higher-quality materials, like hardwood, instead of a composite, and springs, instead of foam rubber,” Baxter says. “They’re buying furniture secondhand or inheriting it from family, and they’re bringing it in to get reupholstered in a fresh, modern look.”

Like organizing, reupholstering a chair or sofa is a great project to take on this winter—and can add vitality to an older piece or even an entire room. When you take in a piece for reupholstering, you’ll need to select a fabric. Options abound but thinking about your needs can help you narrow the selection. For instance, if you have pets or kids, consider a durable fabric with a higher thread count.

“Furniture fashion has a lifespan of about five years that is basically dictated by color,” says Baxter, whose family has run the upholstery business since 1915. “Some fabrics, like velvet and chenille, were in style 100 years ago and will be in style 100 years from now,” says Baxter, who admits to encouraging his clients to choose timeless over fashionable. But he carries the full spectrum of options, from textured linens to printed geometric patterns, and acknowledges the fun of using fabric to express personal style.