21 Smart Ways to Stay Warm in Winter

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When winter gets cold, your first instinct is to stay toasty. But HOW? I’ve gathered up 21 different ways to help you stay warm all winter long. Check them out because they might surprise you!

Winter can get cold – really cold. In many parts of the country, winter can mean long, cold nights (and days). Cranking up the heat sometimes isn’t an option since it can bust your utility bill budget sky-high, especially with utilities’ current costs.

You can add insulation, replace your windows, or replace a poor furnace, but all those options are costly, and if you’re a renter with a landlord who won’t do any of those things, what can you do?

Well, that’s when it’s time to get creative and try a few not-so-expensive ways to keep you and the house warm when the mercury dips way down.

A cute small dog dressed in a winter scarf and hat. The dog is holding a royal blue knitted hot water bottle cover.

Unusual Ways to Stay Warm All Winter Long

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Everyone knows to wear a coat when outside on a cold winter day. So how do you stay warm in cold weather when you’re inside? Here are 21 clever and unusual ideas to help you stay nice and toasty this winter.

Check out this list of ideas to help you stay warm this winter!

1. Thermal Underwear

Wear layers. We’re Canadian, and we were born wearing layers. We’re not talking about bulky layers here, as bulky layers can be uncomfortable and restricting. Instead, we want soft insulating layers from a good pair of thermal underwear.

We love our thermal underwear for everything from cuddling up on the couch to winter camping. These particular thermal pieces are warm and soft and have the perfect layering system that doesn’t feel bulky and uncomfortable. The best part is they are not super expensive.

Merino wool is FANTASTIC for keeping things comfortable, warm, and cozy. A few benefits of merino wool:

  • Super soft and durable (not itchy or bulky)
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Odour-resistant
  • Easy to wash
Thermal underwear set on white background.

2. Indoor Hats (Sleep Hats)

You may not lose the most body heat through your head, but you do lose some. Throw on a warm hat, and you’ll quickly feel much warmer.

These soft hats are perfect for indoor use. I love mine because it keeps me warm AND hides my gray hair. Double bonus. Also, they do look adorable.

You don’t need a bulky wool hat, just something simple like fleece, and it will keep you much warmer all day long.

  • Our Recommendations: We like simple knitted toques or indoor fleece sleep hats. These hats are not bulky and won’t make your head sweat, but they will keep you warm.
A simple fleece beanie toque on a white background.

3. Hot Water Bottles

A hot water bottle is excellent for keeping your body warm while bundling up under a blanket.

We often used hot water bottles camping and would fill a few with boiling water from the campfire and place them in our sleeping bags an hour before we went to bed. It made the sleeping bags super toasty and cozy.

You can pick up a simple hot water bottle for a few bucks at any dollar store.

A hot water bottle on a white background.

4. Heating Pads

Heating pads come in all shapes and sizes and work incredibly well to keep you warm, especially when bundled under blankets. In addition, they are a quick method for warming up when chilled to the bone.

I always have one on behind my back when I am sitting at my computer; it keeps me toasty and keeps my back from being angry from all the hunched-back sitting I do. Highly recommended.

5. Heated Slippers

Once my feet get cold, I can’t warm up. My husband bought me heated slippers a few months back, which are simply amazing.

I cannot recommend heated slippers enough if you have cold feet or workout side and come in with super cold feet. They will instantly warm you up from toe to head. You will feel that warmth spread up your entire body.

  • Our Recommendation: If you spend a lot of time on the computer and end up with cold feet, give these heated USB slippers a look. I don’t walk around a lot with mine on as they are big and bulky, but they work exceptionally well for watching TV, reading, or even just sitting in front of the computer.
Heated slippers on a white background.

6. Warm Socks

Ok, I fully admit that I am not a fan of socks, and I would run around like a barefoot hippie for the rest of my life, but frostbite is real.

Good wool socks will keep your feet warm in the coldest winter temperatures. I am not talking about your grandma’s woollen socks that itched like crazy and wouldn’t fit in your boots; I mean a good pair of soft merino wool socks.

  • Our Recommendations: Any pair of merino wool socks will work, but I recently ordered these fun, colorful socks for the winter, and I am in love with them. The best part, they will not break the bank!
A cup of coffee or hot chocolate and feet with socks on a white sheets.

7. Electric Blanket

Electric blankets seem like such an old-fashioned thing, and I know my grandmother’s generation was always wary of them due to unexpected fires. However, today’s electric blankets and homes are much safer and worth a second look.

Electric blankets are cheap as chips to use! A queen-sized electric blanket costs about 1.5 cents an hour to run, and it will keep you SO warm in winter.

  • Our Recommendations: Our electric throws are made by Sunbeam, and they work very well, we’ve been using ours every night for just a little over a month, and I cannot believe we didn’t try them sooner.

***Warning: Electric blankets are not recommended for anyone with poor circulation, diabetes, or a history of blood clots. ***

A sky blue heating pad to keep warm through winter.

8. Flannels

Is flannel warmer than cotton?

Yes, flannel is warmer than cotton. Flannel is more loosely woven than cotton and can hold pockets of air that keep you warm. Flannel sheets and pajamas are a must-have in winter but stay away from micro flannel as it does not breathe and can ruin a good sleep.

  • Our Recommendations: Flannel, flannel, and more snuggly flannel! It will be your saving grace on cold days. Flannel shirtsPJsflannel sheets – yes to all of it!
A stack of patterned flannel fabrics.

9. Goose Down Duvets   

Goosedown duvets, my friend, will keep you warm and super snuggly on the coldest of winter nights. My husband and I named ours the “apocalypse blanket” because we’re sure if the apocalypse comes, we can live in our goose down the blanket and survive.

Wool, goosedown, fleece lap blankets, and quilts are the best way to stay warm. I have blankets everywhere in winter, so they are only an arm’s reach away.

A down duvet fills the frame.

10. Take a hot shower or Bath

How heavenly does a hot bath (or shower) feel on a cold day? Enjoy a long, warming bath by adding luxurious additions that make your hot bath feel even more delightful.

Epsom salts, bath fizzes, sugar scrubs, and more can keep you soaking in hot water even longer. 

Once you get out of the warm water and dry off, hold that body heat in by wearing layers and bundling up. I find a hot bath or a shower is the only way I can warm up when I have a deep chill, keeping me warm for hours.

A cute little terrier breed dog taking a bubble bath with his paws up on the rim of the tub.

11. Turn on a Humidifier

Moisture helps make the air feel warmer.

When the humidity of the air is higher, your sweat evaporation slows down, and you will feel warmer. The opposite happens when the air is arid. 

You’ll pay a little more to purchase it, but the warm air will be more than worth it. Humidifiers also add much-needed moisture to the dry air during dry cold winter months.

No humidifier? No problem. Make a big batch of slow-boiling soups or stew on your stovetop. Or fill a large stockpot with water and simmer it for a few hours on the stovetop. Boiling water will fill the air with moisture.

A humidifier being used to help a room feel warmer.

12. Microwave Heating Pads

In a pinch, you could use disposable hand warmers or foot warmers. However, I highly recommend investing in a reusable rice microwave heating pad (up North we call ’em Magic Bags) if you tend to get cold quickly. Plus, they are far better for the environment.

Throw it into the microwave, heat it for a minute, and then enjoy lasting warmth. Stick it behind your back, on your lap, or by your feet! They also work great for warming the foot of the bed before you climb in.

We have several of these all around the house and use them often.

13. Drink Hot Drinks

Warm yourself from the inside out by drinking hot beverages: tea, coffee, cider, or even some epic hot chocolate (Godiva, anyone?), etc. 

Keep your favorite hot drinks on hand and drink them any time of the day to help you warm up. I’ve been known to drink a cup of hot tea or hot coffee every hour or two while also bundled up in my flannel PJs. Also, adding that much caffeine keeps me moving like a hummingbird, which also helps keep me warm.

Fresh hot tea being poured into a teacup.

14. Make (and Eat) Soup, stews, and chilis.

Doesn’t a bowl of hot chili or another favorite soup flavor sound heavenly when you feel cold? It’s the same idea as drinking hot tea or coffee to warm up.

Now, we’re not talking about Campbell’s soup here. Instead, we mean a long slow simmer on the stove that yields something magical at the end of the day. A hot bowl of soup will immediately make you feel warmer and cozier when it’s snowy weather outside. Plus, cooking all day will add moisture and heat to the air in your kitchen. 

A crock pot full to the brim with hot stew.

15. Use the Stove and the Oven

The summer is about grilling or making crockpot meals to avoid heating the house. Winter is when you want to use that stove and oven for cooking long and slow! I love baking bread in the winter for this reason.

The bonus is that in addition to warming up your food, they’ll also warm up the house.

When your meal is finished, and you turn the oven off, leave that oven door open to allow the hot air from the stove to pour into the room.

A bright white kitchen, with the oven door open to allow the heat from cooking out to warm the room.

16. Block Drafts

Exterior house doors are notorious for letting in cold air drafts. Block those drafts and preserve as much heat as possible using a pool noodle!

Cut it half lengthwise. Then, wrap it in fabric and slide it under your door.

Or, you can buy a similar door draft stopper already put together for you.

17. Window Film

Depending on the age and style of the windows in your home, they may leak warm air to the outside and let cold air (a lot of it) inside. Stop that by applying a heat-shrinking insulation film on your windows to seal them up and stop the cool air rush.

Another good way to insulate windows in your home is to seal off air gaps around your window trim. Depending on the level of insulation in your walls and how your windows were installed, a lot of cold air can get in between the wall and window frame.

Using a small amount of paintable acrylic latex caulk and a wet finger can permanently prevent that cold air from getting directly into your living space. Remember that caulk is white, so depending on your wall and trim colors, you might want to check if you have leftover paint to match before starting.

  • Our Recommendation: Alex Plus Dap comes in a small, inexpensive squeeze tube that doesn’t require a caulk gun – making this an entirely tool-free project. Be sure to get paintable acrylic latex caulk – not pure silicone.

18. Place Rugs in Cold Areas

Do you hate standing in front of the bathroom mirror because the floor is cold? What about the kitchen sink or the washing machine?

Put affordable throw rugs on those cool spots to keep you off the floor.

  • Our Recommendation: If you prefer to avoid rugs because they’re a pain to clean, check out Ruggable. They make machine-washable rugs made of two parts – a rug pad for cushioning and a stain-resistant patterned rug. When it’s time to wash the rug, just separate it from the pad and toss it in the washing machine.
A pile of area rugs in a shop, ready to place on cold floors to stay warm in winter.

19. Space Heater

One great way to save on energy bills is by using a space heater. Many homes only have one thermostat, so when the furnace kicks in, it heats the whole house. With a space heater, you can keep your furnace low and heat the room you’re using.

Alternately, sometimes you have a cold room that never seems to get to the same temperature as the rest of the house. A space heater can be convenient, so you don’t have to keep the rest of the house boiling to compensate.

  • Our Recommendation: Choose a space heater appropriate for the size of your room, with a thermostat control so that when it reaches room temperature, it shuts down, so you don’t have to turn it off manually.
Cute tabby cat near electric heater at home.

20. Make use of that ceiling fan 

A ceiling fan is a great way to improve energy efficiency in your home. Because warm air rises, much of your heat hangs near your ceiling. Ceiling fans circulate the air so that the space is heated more evenly.

Be sure to set the fan in a clockwise direction to push that warm air back to where it is needed. 

You might be tempted to set the fan counterclockwise to push the air downwards, heat rises after all, but the downward moving air will feel like a fan blowing on you, making you colder.

Installing a ceiling fan is more of an involved DIY project, so be sure to consult your landlord, or if you own your home, consult with an electrician. Ceiling fans need more support than a standard ceiling fixture, so hiring a pro is recommended.

21. Thick curtains or drapes

Old windows that are not properly sealed for the elements will be one of your most significant zones for heat loss. But you can do a few things to make those older windows work for you instead of against you when it comes to keeping warm.

Heavy drapes can help block drafts and help prevent the warm air inside from leaking out.

Remember to open the curtains during bright sunny hours to allow the house to collect that sunshine. Please don’t dismiss the greenhouse effect from your windows; it’s pretty substantial.

Stay warm, keep comfortable, and save money.

Keeping warm in the winter can be challenging in a frigid region with severe winters, but with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can stay comfortably warm without ramping up the heating bill.

Got any other suggestions? What works for you in your home? Leave a comment and let us know!

Two adorable dogs under a fleece plaid blanket.

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