After a long day, who doesn’t like to come home to a peaceful, comfortable home? We crave shelter, and protection from the storms of the outside world. We need time apart. Perhaps it’s because our ancestors gathered around fires in caves that we are drawn to intimate spaces.
When you’re in an appealing, cozy space, you feel sheltered, embraced and safe. Relaxation follows and then a sense of peace. Who wouldn’t want that in their home?
The Danes have a word for it, hygge, (pronounced 'hooga') which translates to coziness. “It may be hard to say, but that hasn't stopped people finding out that hygge might be a recipe for a happier life...In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There's nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life.” We can all learn from the Danes how to embrace the everyday fun of family and friends doing simple activities together. And we can create spaces which promote closeness.
What cozy isn't
Some associate cozy with clutter. However, clutter is the enemy of cozy. Clutter causes distress and discomfort. Cozy on the other hand induces comfort.
Settle in with us as we explore the ways with which you can design the perfect cozy space where your family can cuddle up, have a cup of tea or read a good book. No matter your design style, there are ways to create coziness in your home.
Warm colors make you feel snug
White light is composed of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Red, orange and yellow are considered warm colors. These are the colors we see when we look into a glowing fire or a lit candle.
Looking at a color wheel, you can see that warm colors are the opposite of cool colors. Sherwin Williams paints says, “Colors with yellow undertones will seem warmer, while the same color with blue or red undertones will appear cool.” Using tints, hues or shades derived from the warm side of the spectrum is the first place to begin developing a cozy space.
Image Credit - Sherwin Williams
Cozy up with color
Bring color into your life through with color on your walls, in upholstery or in accents. Just remember, don’t apply color to every surface or you’ll feel like you’re drowning in it!
Start by selecting a neutral palette. Layer in warm color accents to test which tones suit you. Let the color create a rhythm as it moves around the room. Remember the law of odd numbers...groups of three, five or seven are more visually interesting than even numbered groupings. Following this design precept you might use seven warm hued pillows on your cream linen couch. Other ways to introduce warm colors are, for example, to drape a butternut colored throw on your sofa. You’re not limited to paint or fabric. A collection of tchotchkes, such as brass boxes, or brass cabinet hardware, or red or yellow lamps will also serve to bring warm accent colors to your room. Many a designer has been heard to say that a room isn’t complete without a pop of red.
David Weekley homes designed a cozy living room for this Carolina Park home. The room features luscious, warmly colored walls and dark floors which define the space. The windows are softened by curtains with a brown chevron pattern and gold toned pillows bring warmth into the seating area.
David Weekley - Carolina Park
Use texture to create a cozy space
Slick surfaces leave you feeling cold, make you think of ice. The glimmering translucence of ice is the antithesis of cozy. Now, picture an old, weathered barn set in a country landscape. Instantly you relax.
Add texture with hand scraped flooring, nubby upholstery, fluffy rugs, seagrass wall coverings or velvet curtains. Walls may be treated with stucco applied in a hand-troweled finish, giving them a look commonly found in the southwest.
In the Carolina Park home above, texture is added with an area rug and through the use of natural material art work over the mantel.
H & H Homes created a cozy dining area depicted below by defining the space with a painted ceiling beam, a fluffy rug, and by hanging velvet curtains at the windows. The addition of velvet chairs amplified the comfort factor. The result? An inviting dining area.
H&H Homes - The Pines at Gahagan
At Cresswind Charleston, designers crafted a headboard from reclaimed timber. This method of adding texture is very popular and can be seen in home design magazines, Houzz and Pinterest.
Kolter - Cresswind Charleston
As with color, resist the urge to add in too much texture or reclaimed wood. Restraint is good. You want to have enough texture, but not too much.
Create small seating areas
With wide open floor plans, seating is “out there”, leaving people exposed. There is no place to have a tête-à-tête. When you define a small nook, you create a sense of retreat. But how can you define a small space within a giant room? The solution is to use furniture to define a charming sitting area within the room.
K. Hovnanian Homes - Four Season at Lakes of Cane Bay
Master bedrooms are a superb place to create a small sitting area, perfect for a heart to heart. K. Hovnanian created an intimate sitting area in this bedroom at The Lakes at Cane Bay. While mostly neutral grays, the clustered seating embraced by the full height curtains causes a sense of enclosure. This is just the spot for morning quiet time and coffee.
Use indirect, warm lighting to create coziness
While recessed ceiling lights, or “pot lights” are very popular, when used alone, your room may feel sterile. Not only will a room feel sterile with overhead lights, you may have harsh shadows and extra bright areas and dark areas. In a room like this you’ll be thinking you are about to be interrogated.
Warm up your room with the use of attractive lamps and light bulbs in warm hues. Table lamps are one of the best ways to bring coziness to your home. Did you know, there’s a growing trend towards using table lamps on kitchen counters? Warm pools of light in a kitchen at night instantly say “you’re home.”
Don’t have room for table lamps? Use floor lamps to conserve space, and spotlight a reading nook or favorite comfortable chair. You’ll find yourself plopping down there just to catch your breath.
Don’t forget ceilings
Look up! There’s an entire room surface which can contribute to the establishment of a cozy space. Most of us forget ceilings. But bringing touches of coziness to this overlooked surface can totally transform any room. From classic approaches like tenting with fabric, to lowering the height of the ceiling to painting a ceiling a warm color, there are many techniques to design a restful, inviting and cozy area.
Coffered ceilings are a time-tested way to add detail and bring a human scale to a room. In this Ashton Woods bedroom, notice how the coffered ceiling has been accented with darker wood. The lowered height of the ceiling and the quietness of the wood’s natural tone create an intimate, warm space.
Ashton Woods Homes Master Bedroom
Visit model homes for design ideas
Charleston area new home builders invest lots of design time into creating inspiring model homes. Models are a great resource of design inspiration. And as you can see from the examples in this story, there is no shortage of cozy design in the Lowcountry. Now, are you feeling more at ease? Good. Then our work here is done.
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