6 ways to have the cosiest night in this winter

Have the best night in, ever, with our top tips for enjoying a chilled evening at home

Living room with one dark black/blue wall, other white walls, tan leather L-shape sofa, black fabric sofa, rugs, rattan pouffs and coffee table made from wooden palett boards perfect for a cosy night in
(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Looking for ideas for your next cosy night in? Well, you are in the right place because we have perfected the art of the big night in. When it gets colder (or just once you pass your mid-twenties), staying in definitely becomes the new going out. And, if it is dark when you get home from work, it can be hard to drag yourself back out, so don’t feel guilty for wanting a few quiet nights at home. 

How you spend your evening in is up to you. Fancy a quiet one with your other half and a film? Or perhaps you’ll invite a few friends over for a casual dinner and a catch up? Whatever you have planned, here are our top tips for ensuring you set the mood for the cosiest night in.

1. Set the scene with the right lighting

Whether you live in a bijou cottage or a rented flat, you can easily make any room feel much more inviting with the right lighting. If you have dimmable lights this is a good start, but if not turn off harsh task lighting and flick on lower-level ambient lighting like table lamps.

Christmas party in a modern kitchen diner

(Image credit: Getty)

Of course, everyone knows a few candles will help to create the perfect atmosphere, too. A cluster of jar candles on the hearth or coffee table will bring a warming glow to any living space (brownie points for choosing a scented candle). If you are hosting dinner, keep the lighting low and complement it with more candles on the table.

Try slinging a set of fairy lights around picture frames or curtain rails for additional soft lighting at varying heights. For more inspiration see our living room lighting ideas.

2. Comfort is king

Friends enjoying a cosy night in with pizza

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another great thing about enjoying a night in is that there is no dress code; no high heels or tight shoes, no standing awkwardly propped by a bar all night, and no tipsy walk in the rain to the taxi at the end. Instead, be prepared for maximum comfort. 

It starts with a good pair of slippers and stylish loungewear. If you have friends coming round for dinner, jeans and a chunky-knit jumper may be more appropriate, but it is your house and you set the rules. Pyjama pizza party anyone?

Make sure the heating is at a pleasant temperature and pile your sofa with throws and comfy cushions.

3. Sort your seating

Dani Ellis home: snug with dark blue walls and ceiling, velvet sofas, dark wood coffee table and brass spider ceiling light

This dark snug creates a cosy getaway in a modern open-plan home

(Image credit: Darren Chung © Future)

Are you sitting comfortably? If not it might be time for a new sofa. If you are looking to upgrade, you might want to think about deeper seats, plumper cushions or a chaise/corner set-up. A big footstool can also be used for lounging, or for extra seating when you have friends round. 

When you host dinner, having plenty of seats for the table can be tricky in a small space. An extendable dining table, and fold away dining chairs are a great solution. For a larger room, bench style seating means you can squeeze a couple of extra people round the table when needed.

Need more ideas? Here are 10 of the best sofas.

4. Eat, drink and be merry

If cooking is one of your favourite ways to relax, whip up a feast. If not, you can still enjoy a good meal with minimal effort. Set up the slow cooker in the morning and come back to something delicious and hearty, or enjoy a spread of cheese and wine, or finger food and antipasti – these require little to no cooking and clean up is easy too. 

John Lewis and Swoon entertaining collection for a cosy night in including Lovelace bar cart and Enville occasional chair

We love the Lovelace bar cart by John Lewis & Partners X Swoon – it is roomy and portable

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

When it comes to beverages, nothing is cosier than a big mug of your favourite hot drink. It might be a bit late in the day for coffee, so how about a hot chocolate with cream, marshmallows and maybe a shot of Irish Cream? 

Fancy your alcoholic drinks cold and shaken or stirred instead? A bar cart in your living room (complete with ice bucket) minimises trips to the kitchen. Keep your bar cart stocked with your favourite spirits and mixers. A few attractive glasses will make it a pretty addition to your living space. See our tips for a beautifully styled bar cart.

5. Up your home cinema game

Family enjoying a cosy night in with a movie

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A movie night is one of the best ways to relax on a winter evening, but picking a good film is only part of it. If you love watching movies, it is worth investing in a good television. TV addicts might be lusting after an 8K model, but the best 4K TVs offer a superb viewing experience too, and at more affordable prices. Choosing a smart TV should be a priority if you want to access some of your favourite streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The built-in speakers on modern TVs are really good, but for a next level experience consider a soundbar. If you have a bigger budget (upwards of £600) consider a home surround sound system

Movie night doesn’t end there. Don’t forget to pile your coffee table with snacks. A home popcorn maker can be bought for as little as £25 – a must for those who can’t imagine watching a film without a big bowl of popcorn.

6. Pamper yourself

Drummonds Torridge bathroom

We might not all have a dreamy bathroom like this one with a bath from Drummonds, but a few candles, the right music and your favourite scents can turn any bath into a spa-like experience

(Image credit: Drummonds)

If everyone else is out, the ultimate cosy night in should be about making sure you take a little bit of time to look after yourself. Put on some music that makes you happy, pour a bath (and a glass of wine…) and pamper yourself. Paint your nails, relax with a facemask or read a book. If you have an oil diffuser the right scent can help you feel relaxed, too – try lavender to set you up for a good night’s sleep. Which reminds us… surely the best thing about a night in is knowing you will be fast asleep at a sociable hour?

This article is brought to you as part of our Hibernating series with John Lewis & Partners.

Lindsey Davis
Editor in Chief, Homes Ecommerce

Lindsey is Editor of Realhomes.com and Editor in Chief for Home Ecommerce at Future. She is here to give you aspirational, yet attainable ideas for your home and works with her team to help you get the best buys, too. She has written about homes and interiors for the best part of a decade for brands including Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home and Gardeningetc and isn't afraid to take the inspiration she finds at work into her own space – a Victorian terrace which she has been (slowly) remodelling for the last eight years. She is happiest sipping a cup of tea with a cat on her lap (if only she had a cat).