how to make your home cozyCozy. COZY. Co-zay. Cozy is the best word in the English language,  and its equivalent in other languages is the best word in those languages too. What does it mean? It means deeply, soulfully comforting. It means all is well. It means warmth, peace, protection. It means indulgence. It means retreat. It means check your worries at the door–this space is for calm regeneration only. It means everything is going to be okay. Raise your hand/voice if you want/need that in your life/home. Yep. All of you.

It is a huge concept with a huge power for good in your life, but creating cozy home isn’t honors math. It can easily be broken down into steps. Doable, cross-off-the-list-able steps.

Step 1: Get textiles. A cozy home is ripe with tactile comforts in every shape and form. You want squashy pillows, soft throw blankies, a warm, foot-friendly rug. Textiles are the number one way to pump up the visual and practical (and emotional) coziness of a space.

Step 2. Get lighting. General overhead lighting is important for the function of a room, but it does absolutely nothing toward a cozy ambiance. If you intend your space to be the stage for intimate, bonding, heartfelt activities, you need to get the lighting right. The cozy pools of light created by lamps are just the thing. One lamp is better than none, but ideally you have two or more depending on the layout and function of your space.

Step 3. Get arranged. The arrangement of a space does so much for it’s coziness, and it is the cheapest and fastest way to boost your coze factor. In other words, start here! Draw a scale model of your space and furniture, and test out different ways to put the space together. Choose an arrangement that promotes togetherness and conversation, and creates a sense of shelter. Symmetrical arrangements are great for a sheltered feeling because they register as complete and closed-in to the senses– as opposed to lopsided, unbalanced, or vulnerable. Also, creating a spot in the room for a single person to withdraw for some ‘me time’ is great, when possible.

Step 4. Get tables. Coffee and side tables are essential for a cozy space
. They are basically an unpaid butler. “Here side table, take this empty wineglass.” “Very good, ma’am.” “I can’t see this magazine, side table.” “Allow me to turn on this lamp for you, sir.” “Oh, I am not nearly as comfy as I deserve to be, coffee table.” “Feel free to stretch your legs out upon my back, m’lady.”  “I’m bored, coffee table, entertain me.” “Very good. Would you care to play a game of solitaire. Or perhaps a round of Bananagrams?” You get the idea. They also offer a sense of completeness to your design. Like your space has really got it’s act together.

Step 5. Get sentimental. The most important thing to do when creating a cozy sanctuary is to fill it with the things that will make it personally meaningful to you. Family heirlooms, display pieces with funny stories behind them, a few photos, interesting souvenirs and tchotchkes. Anything and everything to mark your territory. When you have guests over, they may not connect with the things you have out on a personal level, but they will definitely pick up on the feeling of individuality and history they will be surrounded by, and your pieces will generate conversation and connection. Your home will become an exciting and comforting destination for all.

Those are the basics. Take this list and run with it! Your family, your children, you friends and colleagues– but most of all, YOU– will be so thankful for your efforts. You will all have a safe place to retreat from the world, and relish the good things in life. Comfort, beauty, quality-time, and self-indulgence. Mmmm. Cozy.

Love and guts,