There are many things that are universally thought of as cozy additions to the home. A crackling fire, homemade bread, blankets and steaming mugs full of goodness. It does not matter if your decor style is modern, traditional, cottage, or eclectic, each of these things make a room feel more cozy during the winter months.
Something else that I have noticed over the years is that coziness can not be bought. OK, in today’s world it usually actually is, but it seems the things that add that something special are things that are timeless, often found in nature (or mimic things found in nature) or homemade, and are fairly inexpensive.
Take a moment to think of homes that were around before grocery stores and malls. They made the same cozy additions that work today.
But why are these things so appealing to so many people with so many unique personalities throughout all of time? Because they envelope us. Either literally like a blanket or a warm hug or sensually.
Add extra blankets to the end of all of your beds. Scatter several on the couch and chairs. Remember to take the time to cuddle with the kids and the love of your life.
Envelope Us Sensually?
The typical senses are smell, touch, taste, sound, and sight. But there are other senses classified by Aristotle identifying perception categories. They include our perception of movement, balance, time, direction, temperature, and also pain.
Think of that fireplace. Think of a fish tank. Because they affect most of our typical AND perception senses, they both have the ability to hypnotize us. Compare homemade bread to store bought. How many more of our senses does the homemade affect? How about natural pine boughs and pine cones compared to store bought? How do artificial plants and flowers compare to the real thing?
The timeless versions of most things draw in more of our senses. And the fact that they are timeless adds the whimsy of nostalgia and simplicity. They all come together to make magic!
Add Cozy Touches By Keeping the Senses in Mind.
So, lets say you are not ready to look at homesteading practices. You can still add all kinds of cozy to your home by looking at each sensory category individually and adding a few key ingredients. By including something from each category (except pain), you can make your home hypnotic.
Look for items that could fit into multiple sections. Look at things where the sense may just be implied.
What is your favorite trick to add cozy?
If you need some ideas for this winter, keep reading for some individual example lists. Is there anything below you already try? How many more things can you suggest?
Baked cookies, coffee, home cooking, a crock pot of cider, a simmer pot of citrus slices, pine boughs, branches dipped in cinnamon, gingerbread ornaments, houseplants, potpourris, essential oils, commercial air fresheners…
In winter spicy and earthy smells are most appealing. Save the florals for spring and summer. Choose subtle clean scents such as a fresh linen or vanilla to use year round.
You can not really cover up bad odors with good smells. Sometimes you can mask them a little, but it usually is pretty obvious to visitors when it is done. Try to remove any bad odors first. Open windows, set out baking soda boxes and bags of filter charcoal. Change the air filters. Try some of the things listed here, here, or here. If all else fails, call in the professionals. Find a cleaning service that specializes in fire restoration services. Have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned.
There are obvious things like fabrics and pets. But also consider combining different opposing textures together – hard and soft, smooth and rough, thick and thin. Like putting a plush rug on hard wood floors or a rough sisal rug on a smooth tile floor. Now don’t go smattering all kinds of junk on your tables or invest a fortune in area rugs. Think simple such as smooth wooden furniture juxtaposed with natural branches in an arrangement.
Home cooking of any kind. A candy dish, bowl of fruit, nuts or other snack type foods casually displayed. Pictures, fabrics, or arrangements with fruits mixed in. Strung popcorn on the Christmas tree. Gingerbread ornaments. Edible flowers or herbs in pots….
Background music, children laughing, a water feature, wind chimes, sheet music open on the piano or framed…
Most sight items are covered in all of the other categories. Take a minute to look around your space. A decor that is too sparse is hard to be cozy. But the opposite is true too. As your eye scans a space every line causes a subconscious stop. Having too much to see even if it is nice and neat causes visual clutter. It is much more pleasing to the eye to have an uncluttered space with a few vignettes than a smattering everywhere of random things.
Kids playing, dancing, arms and faces in conversation, twinkling lights, candle flames, plants and fabrics that could catch a breeze, a water feature, pictures of people doing things or of rivers flowing through them…
Again, using opposites. Again, uncluttered space with a vignette of many items. Symmetrical and unsymmetrical displays.
Take a look at your furniture placement in the room. Does all of the furniture seem to fall to one side? Are tall and short pieces fairly mixed together? In a big room, do you have small areas defined for certain activities (think a reading chair and small bookshelf)? If all of your furniture is against the walls while the center of the floor is a big open space, pull them away from the wall and even a little closer to the center.
To make things cozy, you want to add things that distract you from time or even make time seem to crawl. Fireplaces, fish tanks, water features, books, an obvious place to nap….
There are exceptions. It is great for time to fly when you are having fun. Think group activities instead of solitary ones. Turn off the TV and the computer to see what else you can find to do. Play cards or games. Talk. Spend some time with your hobby. Get something done and off your back.
And while you are at it, think about dressing up the clocks you have or find some pretty ones. Which is more cozy, a clock on the mantle or the digital numbers on the cable box?
When someone comes to your house, do they know which way to go? Make a welcoming flow into your home. If you can only decorate a few areas of your home, concentrate on the entrance, the focal wall first seen upon entering, and the room where your family gathers most. Walk around your house looking for traffic blocks and hard to maneuver path ways.
If there are places you don’t want people to go, make the pathway to the space very bland or temporarily make the walk ways more awkward.
Include items that add warmth. It can be real, implied, or even emotional. Blankets, fires, candles, heavier weight of fabrics, steam from ciders, coffee and hot chocolates, richer colors, deeper colors, lamps, dimmer switches, family photos, home made decor or gifts, heartier foods, comfort foods…
Well, I don’t want to add any painful items. How about we take the pain category to take a good look at our point of view? Our homes should be our haven. The place we come to rest, relax, and restore ourselves. The pain should come from our heart strings at the idea of leaving our home. From the longing we get to return home each day.
Do you and the other members of your family look forward to coming home? If not, can you pick one thing right now your family can work on that will start to make a positive difference?