13 Toasty Tips for Staying Warm in Cold Weather

Baby, it’s cold outside—but you’ll be nice and warm if you follow these tips.
Follow these tips and you’re sure to be cozy.
Follow these tips and you’re sure to be cozy. / RuslanDashinsky/E+/Getty Images

Using these tips, you can stay warm no matter how frightful the cold weather outside gets.

1. When cold weather is on the way, warm yourself first.

a person under blankets with a cup of cocoa
An extra layer is key. / KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock via Getty Images

It’s easier to change your body temperature than room temperature, not to mention more eco-friendly. Instead of turning up the heat, put on another layer of clothing.

2. Wear a hat made for cold weather.

a person wearing a hat with elf ears looking at their phone
Put that hat on. / SolStock/iStock via Getty Images

Your mom may have said that you lose 80 percent of your body heat through your head, but that's not actually true. If you’re otherwise clothed, you’ll lose heat from any surface that’s exposed in cold weather. So put on your hat, even if you’re inside.

3. Turn on the ceiling fan.

a ceiling fan spinning
Put that fan to good use. / iUT07/iStock via Getty Images

This tip might seem counterintuitive, but it works—we promise. Fans will usually have a setting that lets you control whether it spins clockwise or counterclockwise. Warm air rises to the ceiling, so you’ll want to run your fan on its lowest setting in a clockwise direction to push the warm air back down to where you can feel it.

4. Switch between hot and cold in the shower.

Cold water faucet with water dripping off of it
Don’t be afraid to get frosty in the shower. / artbokeh/iStock via Getty Images

Hot showers immediately warm you up, but cold showers improve blood circulation between your skin and organs.

5. Block drafts with a pool noodle.

the tops of colorful pool noodles
Pool noodles are surprisingly useful for blocking drafts. / Martina Simonazzi/iStock via Getty Images

Keep heat in and cold out by cutting a pool noodle in half lengthwise, wrapping it in fabric, and sliding it under your door. It will stay put all winter, and you can re-use it at the pool come summer. (But we recommend you spring for a new one.)

6. Two words: programmable thermostat.

Person's finger on a thermostat
Program your thermostat to stay warm. / koinseb/iStock via Getty Images

Another two words: Obvious, right? Stay toasty on schedule, so you never go home to a living room that’s colder than outside. You can even do it with your smartphone.

7. Trick a locked thermostat.

Pile of ice on a white background
Use ice to your advantage. / arissanjaya/iStock via Getty Images

Not everyone has access to adjust the thermostat in their apartment or office building. If that’s the case, you may need to outsmart the device by making it “think” the room is colder than it actually is. Putting ice near it often does the trick.

8. Dress your windows up in warmer clothes.

Fireplace and Christmas tree near windows with curtains
Make sure your windows have heavier curtains in the winter. / bradleyhebdon/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re not wearing a tank top or going sleeveless, your windows shouldn’t, either. Replace thin curtains with heavier wool or fleece drapes in the winter. But be sure to open them on sunny days for free heat.

9. Go ahead, bake all day.

Rolling pin, eggs, flour, butter, salt, and milk on a table
Get baking. / Cleardesign1/iStock via Getty Images

Using your oven heats up the whole house. You’ll feel even cozier if you invite friends—and all their body heat—over to eat four dozen cookies.

10. Start composting.

A person putting food scraps into a bucket
Composting produces heat. / KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re already interested in composting, here’s another reason to do it: The microbial breakdown of organic material produces heat. Some people use it to warm up showers and greenhouses, but even small-timers in studio apartments can feel a difference.

11. Layer your covers with the thinnest, densest ones on top.

Dog under covers
Layering your covers can help you keep in the heat. (A dog to warm the bed doesn’t hurt either.) / A8-dct/iStock via Getty Images

Fluffy blankets should be closer to your skin. Thin, dense blankets should be on top to prevent convective heat loss. Bonus tip: Don’t put your bed directly against an exterior wall. You’ll be warmer if you leave a little space.

12. Warm your sheets up before you get in bed.

hot water bottle on sheets
Use a hot water bottle to keep your feet warm at night. / john shepherd/E+/Getty Images

There are few things more jarring than jumping into a frigid bed. You can ensure your sheets are toasty warm by placing a hot water bottle where your feet will be or by giving them a short blast of heat with a hair dryer.

13. Stuff your coat pockets with DIY hand warmers.

quavondo/iStock via Getty Images

You could just buy hand warmers, but you’ll radiate pride and self-sufficiency if you make them yourself. All it takes is two Ziploc bags, water, and calcium chloride ice melt pellets from the hardware store.

A version of this story ran in 2014; it has been updated for 2023.