Get cozy with your home decorating
“Cozy can quickly turn to dull, dated and even kitschy,” says Sally Morse, interior designer and director of creative services for Hunter Douglas, a leading window treatments manufacturer. “While we long for comfort, warmth and security, we don't want to sacrifice style, luxury or energy efficiency.”
Morse notes that Scandinavians manage to sail through the colder months and long nights, while maintaining their legendary style. With daylight at a premium during the winter months, Nordic homes rely on effective insulation, with window treatments that let in the limited daylight and help keep out the cold. It's a time shared with friends around a crackling fire and a candlelit table. Green winter arrangements, hot drinks and hearty dishes bring warmth and intimacy to their streamlined, modern interiors.
In fact, the word “cozy” has its roots in the Norwegian word “kose sig”: to make oneself comfortable. “Coziness also means intimacy, contentment and feeling fulfilled in your space,” says Morse. That space may be a modern suburban home, an urban loft, a restored Victorian or a city condo. Whatever one's refuge, her tips will help to create a feeling of well-being, comfort and luxury, as follows:
Start the Conversation. Arrange furniture in conversation areas that bring family and friends together. “Furniture pieces shouldn't be wallflowers,” Morse points out. Attractive area rugs add intimacy to the groupings and warmth to bare floors.
Make Fire a Focal Point. Real or electrified, nothing is more welcoming and warm than a roaring fire. Invest in attractive fireplace accessories, stack logs of birch or pine in an attractive box or basket, decorate the mantelpiece with large, dramatic candles and a winter wreath or branches. If you don't have a fireplace, invest in an electric one – it will pay dividends in atmosphere and energy savings.
Go for the Glow. Turn off ceiling lights and spotlights and let soft light glow from table lamps. Candles and tea lights placed in groups throughout a space cast a magical glow. Consider battery-operated candles. They even flicker and are perfect for placing in a window.
Window Dressings. “The right window treatments can bring warmth, ambience, texture and light, while making a very personal design statement,” says Morse. For example, new Solera Soft Shades from Hunter Douglas combine a soft, sculpted look withadded dimension and a unique cellular construction that increases energy efficiency at the window. Solera shades also come with the LiteRise cordless lifting system and have no exposed cords on the back for enhanced child safety.
Colour Me Cozy. Choose deep, soothing hues: dark greens, ruby red, warm shades of brown and taupe. Burnished accessories that reflect the light – bronze, copper, brass, and gold – will add to a feeling of comfort and peace.
Layers of Meaning. Layering with various textures and colours adds visual interest and a feeling of warmth. Studies suggest that decorating a room with varied textures makes the occupants feel three degrees warmer. “Be creative in layering colours and prints,” advises Morse. Try olive or mossy green, layered with a soft spa blue over it; dark gray paired with silver; deep brown layered with taupe and soft buttery hues. Accessorize with pillows, throws, quilts and blankets in subtle, coordinating prints.
A Soft Touch. Soft, supple fabrics are essential to creating a cozy retreat. A velvet sofa, a faux-fur throw, a silk-covered cushion, linens, mohair and cashmere areelegant and welcoming.
On the Scent. Signature fragrances for the home are a growing trend with “scent shops” offering an array of customized home fragrances. Create your own cozy scent with diffusers, sprays, scented oils, potpourri and candles. Buy these in complementary scents and “layer” them in different combinations. Start with a scent candle or diffuser in one scent and spray with another. The best scents in life are free and very cozy – cookies or bread baking, coffee brewing.
The Look of a Book. We love our Kindles but a collection of well-read books add charm and individuality. Stack them under a coffee table, by an armchair or on a shelf.
Get Personal. Family photos or mementoes from a vacation are other good choices. “Watercolour pictures on the wall,” says Morse, “from a Caribbean Island or Paris will remind us I've been there, I've experienced that.”