You don’t need to be an interior designer to create a warm and welcoming environment for your Airbnb or vacation rental. Your home can be warm and cozy, even in the coldest of wintry weather, with a few simple design tricks. From choosing the right paint colors to adding art and textiles, every home can have that cozy, let’s-stay-in-tonight warm feeling.

Interior design of modern hallway with doors and staircase 3d rendering

First Impressions Matter

A well-organized and designed entryway makes a positive first impression and warmly welcomes guests into your home. Even an entrance with limited space can be made to feel welcoming. Often it only takes a bit of organization and well-placed decor and furniture. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What do they see when the door opens?

The key to a great entryway is to clear the clutter and make sure it’s well-lit. This is especially important if the space is small and doesn’t have any natural lighting. Entryways need a table, chest of drawers, shelving, or some other item where keys, bags, mail, and more can be set down when someone comes in. Got a ski condo? Add a bench or other seating for guests to pull on/off boots.

A soft rug, mirror, potted plant, and artwork are all added touches that can help make an entryway feel more warm and welcoming. To create ambient lighting, add a table lamp or consider wall sconces that can be left on when guests are out enjoying the sights. They’ll appreciate coming home to a well-lit space.

Change the Color Palette

Early on in school we learn about warm and cool colors, something we can refer to when contemplating the color palette for the rooms in our home. Naturally, warm colors like browns, yellows, oranges, reds, and beiges are the go-to when creating a cozy palette, especially in a large room. These may be ideal for living areas, bedroom suites, and accent walls. Warmer palettes pair beautifully with a range of materials, from natural woods to white acrylics, matte black, and metallics like copper.

However, it’s not always about the traditional warm colors. Color connects to and enhances the vibe of the room. Maybe you have a tropical home in Hawaii. Consider a color palette that mimics the spectacular Hawaiian sunsets. It’s the perfect palette to embrace the 2022 Pantone Color of the Year—Very Peri (PANTONE 17-3938). Very Peri offers tranquility, and when paired with deep blues, creamy ivory, natural woods, and copper accents, you’ll have a color scheme that will transform a room.

Update Lighting

The lighting design of a room should be both functional and create a mood. Start with functionality and the most common task areas, which must be well-lit. These include but are not limited to:

  • Kitchen: over the food prep area especially
  • Bathroom: at the mirror(s) and in the shower/bath
  • Entryway: an overhead light that can be switched on easily

Mood or ambient lighting is equally important and essential when creating a warm and welcoming home environment. While task lighting needs to be bold and bright, ambient lighting allows for more creativity.

Lumens refers to how bright the light bulb is, while the wattage is the power it uses. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light bulb. A Kelvin rating tells you about the color of the bulb. For a bulb that gives a warm light, try a soft white, incandescent bulb with a Kelvin rating that’s 3,000 or lower. Daylight bulbs are at the opposite end of the light color scale, offering a bluish-light that feels cooler. These make for good task lights in bathrooms.

Smart light bulbs that color-change and connect to Wi-Fi are another great way to update your home lighting. Smart bulbs can be dimmable, go from cool to warm and back to cool lighting, and provide a change of color when desired.

Bring the Outdoors Inside

Whether your home is in a lush, tropical region or nestled in the Arizona desert, bring some of the outdoors inside to add warmth to the decor. From greenery to colorful blooms, plants breathe life into a room. While terra cotta pots definitely give off a warm vibe, don’t be afraid to go bold with the vessels. Choose planters, pots, vases, and baskets that compliment and enhance the room’s decor. Think of plant pots as artwork. How does it make you feel? What does it add to the room’s mood?

If possible, consider pottery made by local artisans. If renting your home to guests, be sure to display a little card next to the locally-made pot. Bonus points for you if the plant is a variety that grows locally as well. Your guests will appreciate these little touches and the connections to the area.

Worried you don’t have a green thumb? There are several plants that need minimal care. These include:

  • Sansevieria
  • Cast iron plant
  • Spider plant
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Hedgehog aloe
  • Ponytail palm
  • Pothos (a trailing plant that’s perfect to hang)

Fresh cut flowers are another welcoming site that a guest visiting your home may appreciate. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate arrangement, but a vase of flowers placed in the entryway or on the kitchen table or counter can contribute positively to the first impression.

The Comfort is in the Details

Often it’s the small details that really make a room. Sometimes it’s as simple as leaving the window treatments open to allow sunshine to warm the room or a bowl filled with fresh fruit on the counter. A truly comfortable room depends a lot on the space, its usage, and the mood you’re attempting to create.

Because the kitchen is often the hub of the home, it’s the one room where the details really do matter, especially if you’re entertaining guests overnight. The tea kettle and coffee maker should be easily accessible, and if needed, leave directions for use. Mugs/cups should be easy to grab, and also make available a solid supply of dishcloths and napkins.

The same attention to detail is needed in the bathrooms, including extra towels, soaps, shampoos, and personal care products. If any of these items come from local businesses or creators, leave a display card with that information in case your guest wants to visit that shop.

Textiles for the Win, and Warmth

The right rug, curtains, or throw blanket can add texture, warmth, and a pop of color to a room. Rugs in particular can be the perfect item to help warm up a room. Hardwood, tile, and laminate flooring can be beautiful, but there’s something luxurious and cozy about walking barefoot across a soft area rug. Don’t forget the plush bath mat outside the shower or next to the bathtub. Likewise, a blanket artfully tossed across the back of a couch or chair, says, “Sit down, relax, snuggle and be at home.”

Depending on the climate of the region, curtains can be a fantastic way to warm up a room. Heavier fabrics will work better in areas that experience cold temperatures and the full winter season, while more desert or tropical areas need something lighter. Gauzy, light-colored curtains fluttering in the breeze may work beautifully in your Palm Coast home.

Add Art

Art in the home adds a special touch. It’s often a reflection of the owner’s ideals, passions, and personality. When guests visit, the art on the walls and displayed throughout the room make it a home.

A few tips for adding art to your home:

  • Hang wall pieces at eye level or at sitting level if placing it to be viewed from the couch or dining table.

  • Remember that larger pieces can make a room feel cozier.

  • It’s okay to mix-and-match framed and unframed pieces.

  • White mattes often work better when incorporating framed pictures into a room’s decor.

  • Try a vertical grouping, stacking two or three smaller framed pictures on a narrow/small wall of a bathroom.

  • Floating shelves are great for displaying framed photos, small sculptures, and collections.

Never be afraid to add art to your home. If you’re looking for inspiration, try online sites like Pinterest or an interior design blog.

Whether it’s a year-round residence, vacation home, or rental, you want the living space to feel warm and welcoming. If the home is a vacation rental, word of mouth from happy guests can help generate more bookings. Increasing the space’s coziness factor and making sure guests feel at home can be worth the effort.


Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.