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How to Make a Home Cozy

When it comes time to take down the holiday decor at a house I did up for the season, my client tells me everyone (herself included) loved how “cozy” it felt! And–how to make her home cozy after the holiday comes down? Can I make this happen for her?

Why yes. Yes I can.

Your home and and should feel cozy for all seasons!
Curl up and relax. Photo via Deocholic

This got me thinking though. . .what’s my method? What’s the magic behind the final look? How to make a home cozy – in steps others can follow? Lucky I spent a couple decades training, managing, and delegating to teams. As soon as I ask myself the question I’m processing through a mental listy list of elements that–to me–equate to “cozy“.

There are a few avenues for how to make a home cozy. Think of it as Goldilocks and her three bears options. You’ve got two extremes, and then the sort of happy-medium scenario.

Minimalist. I feel like the Danish “Hygge” is the ideal version of how to make a home cozy with a minimal twist.

Hygge, pronounced like “hoo-gah,” is a Danish concept that focuses on enjoying life’s small details. Though there isn’t a one-to-one translation, hygge is often seen as “coziness” or “togetherness.” Hygge aims to find joy and happiness in everyday moments shared with the ones we love.

From Wayfair’s Guide to Hygge Decor & Design


To my way of thinking, if you’re gong to achieve cozy or hygge from a Minimalist perspective, every single item has to be cozy to the max. Instead of a couch covered in pillows of varying textures, you’re going to have two and they have to be the ultimate expression of “cozy”. I’m thinking faux fur all day here! Instead of a few blankets scattered (artfully) around, you’re going for ONE throw blanket. My vote is a super soft and large chunky knit.
See what I mean? Minimalist Hygge can totally be achieved.

Maximalist. Like a Ralph Lauren fall fashion ad campaign. All those luxe layers, coming together to create an impossibly chic outfit. Only in this case. . .all those layers are creating an impossibly cohesive room where there are so many things to look at you’ll always be seeing something new.

The “Just Right”: A space that feels clean and uncluttered, and has just enough going on to make it feel both luxurious and lived-in.

Don’t you wanna hang out here? Ryann Miller for Emily Henderson Design.

In my own home, it’s this more moderate balance between clean space and curated (NOT cluttered) collection of meaningful objects that answers “how to make a home cozy”.
I’m thinking a slightly more minimal leaning of the “just right” is the note I’m wanting to hit for this client. A design plan that feels minimal but luxury–and comfortably lived-in.

Here’s a List of elements I’m using to answer “how to make a home cozy”

Textiles

A variety of soft, fluffy, nubby, velvety, furry. Don’t all of those sound like something you wanna jump into? Pillows, throw blankets, window treatments. Quality and layered bedding! Hopefully your actual furniture is covered in fabric you enjoy the feel of too. If not. . .it’s time to re-cover or replace. Life is too short for uncomfortable furniture. RUGS inject character and can literally warm up a space if they’re going over hard floors.

Lighting

If it’s coming from the ceiling it NEEDS to be on a dimmer switch. If you’re renting and it’s not possible, keep the overhead lights off and invest in lamps. You will never not need lamps!

Lamps

Layer them in: torchiere lights up the room with light directed upwards. Table lamps give a soft glow from different corners. Wall sconces highlight art or direct you down a hall. Have you seen the battery operated ones? They look legit and installation doesn’t get any easier!

Oh. And the lightbulbs? It MATTERS. I personally say go for the warm white bulbs. Wanna do your own research? I like the breakdown Nordic Nest gives in this article. Whatever you choose, make sure all the bulbs are the SAME in a room where you’ll be turning them all on at the same time! Consistency is key to achieving cozy lighting vibes.

Candles

Isn’t this about the first thing you imagine? A room lit with the comforting glow of candles is my instant mental image of “how to make a home cozy”. I’m a recent flameless candle convert. I mean, ambiance at the pointing of a remote? They need to sell more sets with want remotes–that’s the only way this gets more magical. I like the ones that are made of or at least coated in real wax. This article from Bob Vila is a good place to start if you’re new to buying flameless.

Twinkle/Fairy lights

I used a ton of these in a teen girl’s bedroom project and you know what? I love them! They’re so pretty and enchanting no matter what age you are. I get the ones with remotes and timers. If you’re working all day and you come home to these little lights it’s gonna put you at ease immediately.

Speaking of coming home. . .don’t come home to a dark house! Consider adding in a few smart plugs into the outlets. Saves energy and walking into a house with a few lights on is an easy way to make to make a home cozy.

Plants + Wood

How to make a home cozy - add in plants and organic materials like wood and stone!
Sunroom Goals. Spallina Interiors via Houzz.

Organic elements have their own magical “cozy” powers! Science and psychology have done studies to prove that plants enhance our mental and emotional health. According to Healthline, “indoor gardening relieves stress, boosts creativity, productivity, focus, and promotes recovery.” Isn’t that the truth.
Have you heard of color therapy, or chromotherapy? It’s an entire discipline dedicated to using light spectrums and color to promote mental health. Green is associated with nature, growth, and balance–the human eye is most sensitive to and able to discern the most shades of green. That’s why night-vision goggles use green!

Organic elements like wood and stone are also restorative and calming. They bring the harmony of nature into our homes and those tranquil vibes instantly register as “cozy”.

A modern home gets warmed up with books. Via Decorilla

Books

If you’ve been around my blog or follow along on my adventures via Instagram you’ve probably figured out I’m a book lover. I got grounded a LOT as a kid (too many reasons, gang–let’s just say I was “a handful”) so books have been a way for me to experience other worlds, times, places, perspectives for as long as I can remember! Even if you don’t actually read books, it’s hard to deny the visual appeal they have on a shelf. No matter how you style them, adding books into your decor will bring the cozy vibes. And who knows? If you’ve got books in your space, and you’re stuck inside on a chilly, blustery, rainy, day. . .you might get tempted to curl up and read.

Old + New = A Curated Balance

This is last on the list but it should be top of mind when thinking about how to make a home cozy. Remember what I said about sourcing items based on the people I decorate for? It’s critical for making a house feel like a home. Go through your own personal things. If it brings back happy memories, it needs to be displayed. If it doesn’t–it needs to go. No personal items? No problem! Thrift for a few key vintage pieces that speak to you. Hit IKEA for budget-friendly furniture with clean modern lines to lend that Minimalist vibe. For me, it’s this mix that makes a home feel thoughtfully collected, curated, lived in–and cozy.

How to make a home cozy - mix new or modern pieces with antiques
Modern Meets Antique via House Beautiful

How to make a home cozy? Tidy up and clear out the energy vibes!

If you haven’t signed up to receive my steps for achieving a high-vibe home, now is the time! Clearing out any funky or negative energy and setting your intentions for a positive environment may sound silly, but I’m telling you now: it’s a thing. Try my go-to house cleansing ritual! It’s a great final step for creating cozy vibes in your home.

What are your necessary elements for creating a cozy home? What is something from my list you’d like to try?

Let me know in the comments! Stay cozy, friends 🙂

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