We all want our homes to feel cozy. Right? Well, many of us do. Some of us do? Even in large great rooms and family rooms, we break them up into smaller spaces, then introduce elements that make these smaller spaces cozy, inviting and comforting. Face it, it's difficult to have a tête-à-tête shouting across an over-sized room.
I ran across an excellent article in Country Living online magazine titled "Five Minutes to Comfort: Designers' Quick Cozy Tips." I love the ideas the designers offer but would like to point out some other elements I noticed in the images of the rooms, as well as add a few more tips. First, here's the Country Living designers' list.
- "When comfort is key, keep blankets, throws, and quilts in easy reach. " -Tricia Foley, New York designer
- "...having a sense of humor when you decorate is the easiest way to warm a space." -Denise Sabia, Philadelphia designer
- "Dress In Layers - Even a well-worn leather sofa can feel a bit cold, but throw loads of comfy pillows on top, and it beckons you to lounge all day." -Kirsten Krason, Salt Lake City designer
- "Fill shelves with favorite reads, style the coffee table with stunning travel and photography tomes, and place volumes of poetry on the nightstand in the guest room. Books create intimate, quiet retreats, places to relax, and rejuvenate the home." -Jessica Helgerson, Portland interior designer
- "Give it soul . . . [by] introducing shades of red." -Anthony Baratta, New York designer
In all of the example images above, did you notice the color brown? From accent to a major piece of furniture, the color brown anchors the room, echoing the sense of comfort and piece we feel when walking in a forest or a park filled with trees. I talked about the color brown in my last post, Decorate with Brown: Afraid? Decor style is another element to note here in that the furnishings are traditional with lots of rounded corners and sofas with deep seat cushions. Supposing your style is modern, clean lines on a plane, stainless steel and lots of glass sparkling throughout the room but you would still like to add elements of comfort? Of course. I like how these five simple rules can work for just about any decor style.
The cottage living room above is modern. While it doesn't include all five elements above, it is still cozy. And it's not just the fireplace, although it plays an important roll in this coziness of the room. So what makes it cozy? The room appears to be large, yet the two sofas face each other and closely. The feel of additional warmth and coziness comes from the wood floors, walls and the shag rug. And of course, those supper-sized pillows (probably 24" at least) in fur. I'm sure, at least I hope, the pillows are faux fur. In the evenings, the over-sized, shaded chandelier will direct light downward. It would be interesting to see this effect. I envision, shadowing on the sofas but perhaps there is additional lighting in the background not shown here.
This modern room brings me to adding a few more and perhaps "quick" things that can be done to make a room cozy.
- Place furniture pieces close together or nestled as a vignette in a corner. Ever seen small rooms where the sofa is against one wall while two chairs hug the opposite corner, looking as if they are afraid to join in with the rest of the decor? If possible, get those lonely chairs out of the corner and bring them closer to face the sofa. Just don't forget to apply the five suggestions above.
- Fabric content is also important. In purchasing major pieces such as sofas and chairs, the softer the fabric, the better. How can you feel the coziness of a room when the fabric screams I'll scratch your bare legs and arms!
- Whether natural or artificial, lighting should be soften. The afternoon sun coming through a window will often bleach away the feeling of coziness in a room. Short of closing window blinds or closing draperies, the light can be softened with fabric blinds, even sheer curtains. The soft white light bulbs from a shaded lamp always enhances the coziness of a room. Just be sure to place the lamps so that they don't blind you at eye level.
Here are a few more examples of applying the suggestions given from both the above lists.
Ms. Sabia suggests that we have a little sense of humor in our decorating scheme, that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. I must agree. Interestingly, examples of a tastefully cozy decorated room was difficult to find. Perhaps we do take ourselves too seriously in our decorated homes. If you have or know of such an image, please do share it with me!
And while you are at it, share your thoughts or add another "quick" tip to make a room cozy. Would so love to hear from you! -xoxo