by Heidi Greeson
It is 25 degrees outside, and with that blustery Stillwater wind blowing, I just cannot wait to be welcomed by the warmth and coziness of my home. Perhaps you know the feeling – braving the cold with the promise of warmth and comfort on the other side of the front door. Once inside, I realize that there may be few things I can do to make my living space a little more comforting at the end of a cold day. Being an aspiring interior designer, I thought it would be easy to write about what makes a home comfortable during the winter time; then I realized that not everyone has the same opinions when it comes to what we need to do to make a home more pleasant. So, I got together with my interior designer colleagues, Erin, Rachel, Keana, and Holly to talk about the best ways to make a home cozy. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, let our ideas help you turn your home into a place that you look forward to coming home to every day. Spring is on its way, and we want to make the most of the last few days of winter!
One of the easiest ways to create a relaxing and inviting environment is through the use of candles. Candles are a simple way to make your home feel warmer and more inviting. Experiment with the placement of candles to create a comforting ambiance. You might also try installing candle holders onto walls to establish a little bit of elegance. Using different sizes, shapes, and colors of candles can create a more artistic feel. Find a scent that captures the personality of your home, and the atmosphere you would like to create. Using scents like a fruity, yet sophisticated, pomegranate, or an herbal, stress-reducing lavender can really make a difference in the overall atmosphere of your home. Be careful with your choice though, as some fragrances can be overwhelming.
A similar effect can be reached by using lamps for accent lighting. Accent lighting, as opposed to overall illumination of a room, can add more interest and dimension to a space. Using multiple lamps instead of your overhead ceiling fan light can make your space feel more intimate. Lamps can be placed on nightstands and end tables to not only brighten the area, but add a more decorative touch. Accent lighting can be used to emphasize a focal point as well. Not only should you focus on the placement of the lighting, but the actual brightness of the lighting itself.
Another way to enhance the mood in any room is through adjusting levels of light. Dimmer switches are another easy way to get the different effects you are looking for, whether you need a brighter light for reading or you are trying to set the mood for a romantic movie night. If you are a handy person, they are actually pretty easy to install! Otherwise, any electrician should be able to get everything wired correctly for you. If the dimmer switch is not exactly what you are looking for and you prefer something simple like a wall sconce, theater-style lighting is an excellent way to get a softer glow. Instead of a lamp where the light is directed downward, the theater-like wall sconces shine upward, reducing the harshness.
One trend that we have all noticed a lot recently is overlapping and layering rugs. Not only does it create a sense of relaxation, but it also gives an otherwise cold space a warmer and cozier feel through different textures and patterns. You want to be sure and play with the angles of the rugs to achieve your desired effect when overlapping. When it comes to layering rugs, one dynamic combination might include using a neutral rug on top of a patterned or colorful rug. This would help balance out a patterned rug if it were too busy, while still giving you that contrast or a pop of color! This is the same effect as wearing a bold patterned top with a solid jacket or sweater. With all the energy you are putting in to cozy up your home, you are bound to get tired. What better than to relax in a comfortable spot?
Everyone has that special chair or seat on the couch that calls their name as soon as they get home! Whether you like to snuggle up with a significant other, read your children a book, or take a quick snooze with a pet, your chair is an essential element of a comfortable home. With that in mind, you may look into an oversized chair, a recliner, or a cuddler. An oversized chair, or “chair and a half” can often fit more than one person. When paired with an ottoman to elevate your feet, they can be the perfect spot to relax on your own with a book or snuggle up with a loved one or furry friend. Rocker recliners are ideal for people who like to lean back and relax. If you do not like the look of a traditional rocker recliner, you may like the look and feel of a pushback recliner, which lets you recline, but does not look as bulky and can be a more stylish option. Sectionals have come back in a big way. Adding a chaise or “cuddler” to the end of a sectional makes them even more inviting. A cuddler is an angled piece that that offers deeper seating and plenty of room to curl up – they can usually fit one to two people. The angle of a cuddler can make the space feel cozier than the square corner of a standard sectional. While thinking about your new furniture pieces, do not forget to add different accessories to bring it all together!
Accessories are a great way to add warmth and personality to your home. Throw blankets, accent pillows, and other small accessories can be a quick and inexpensive way to add seasonally appropriate colors to your décor, whether it is pink and red for Valentine’s Day, or just warmer colors for a cozier feel. Other ways to add pops of color can be though artwork. Just as you put up decorations for Christmas, start putting up Valentine’s accessories, whether it is pictures of hearts or Valentine’s Day cards from friends and loved ones. Prefer a neutral palette? No Problem! Try experimenting with textures instead. Adding different textures like oversize knits, fuzzy faux furs, or maybe a little bit of metallic shine to reflect your candlelight can add a unique coziness to the space.
You can continue to work on making your home as relaxed as you would like it to be. With the variety of different options given, you are bound to have a warmer, cozier home in no time!