Cosy living in 10 easy steps!

There are no strict rules for what constitutes cosiness, but we have a few tips and tricks to help you create the perfect space to relax and feel truly at home.

Your own four walls are so much more than just bricks and mortar: they’re a safe haven, a source of inspiration, a place to recuperate, to relax and sometimes even to work. It’s important, therefore, to have an idea in your mind of how you want to make use of the space and how it needs to function – long before you pick up a paintbrush! With that in mind, here are our top ten tips for creating your oasis of calm…

#1 The perfect layout
#2 Furniture: careful coordination over chaotic colour schemes
#3 Embrace all five senses
#4 The right colour scheme
#5 Natural fabrics for a cosy atmosphere
#6 Set the right scene
#7 Listen closely
#8 Keep it personal with accessories
#9 Seasonal shifts
#10 All-round comfort

#1 The perfect layout

A lot goes into creating a cosy room. Even the furniture layout can influence the atmosphere. While a sparsely furnished room can easily feel cold and lifeless, cluttered rooms often feel cramped and result in sensory overload. And don’t underestimate the impact of the size of the room. Pieces of furniture can often look a little lost in larger, more spacious rooms, or clumsy and bulky in small rooms. Either way, there’s little space for relaxation and cosiness in rooms like this.

But to make sure your room is both of these things, it’s a good idea to divide it into various areas, making sure that the areas for relaxing, dining and working are clearly separated from one another. Ideally, your workspace should not be visible from your sofa or bed – this stops you from being distracted by a niggling reminder of work. Room dividers such as shelves or even rugs are great ways to divide the space. Another option is to group furniture together within the room, which helps to create a cosy, homely environment. A chaise longue is a great way to designate a reading corner, for example, and can be paired with a sofa suite, and a small desk in a separate corner for working or arts and crafts.

#2 Furniture: careful coordination over chaotic colour schemes

While it’s a good idea to have stimulating and inspiring colour schemes in kitchens and offices, living and sleeping areas should instead feel balanced and tranquil. For this, furniture is key. Although it might be tempting to choose quirky pieces in various different styles, materials and forms, this can easily go awry. You run the risk of making the room feel busy, poorly thought-out and even messy. Instead of a restful atmosphere, your eye is constantly drawn from one piece to another.

Opting for furniture with clean lines is an easy way to avoid this. It helps to create a calm, tidy environment. Use individual pieces to create carefully chosen colour accents that don’t visually overload the room. For example, a unique mix of old and new create a warm, lived-in feel.

#3 Embrace all five senses

We spend a lot of time at home, yet we often forget to create spaces which are not only visually striking, but also appeal to our other senses. Living is by no means a solely visual experience, and nor should your interior decor be. So here’s our suggestion: get to grips with the materials at the heart of your home and choose your decor based on both colour and feel (if anything, the feel of a fabric is more important!). In addition, don’t forget the positive impact that scents can have on your living space. Opt for fresh flowers, enticing room scents or scented candles. It’s the only way to truly appeal to all of your senses.

#4 The right colour scheme

Colour is key when defining the atmosphere of a room, so it’s important to think carefully about your colour scheme. Yellow tones increase concentration and work well for offices, while turquoise fosters creativity and brings a sense of playful lightness. Colours such as white and beige not only brighten up rooms that get less sunlight, but also help to create a positive atmosphere of order and lightness. They’re also great base colours for your own unique colour scheme!
And remember: cosiness is a personal thing. One combination that really works is layering the same tones! To counteract the sometimes clinical, cool feel of white, combine different surfaces, structures and materials. For example, pairing a heavy, knitted wool blanket, a pure white floor runner and a cosy, cream-white sofa in a woven fabric creates a snug atmosphere.

#5 Natural fabrics for a cosy atmosphere

Like colour, fabrics are another great way to either marry or create separation between different living areas. Sleek, smooth surfaces fail to provide a focal point within a room, and can lead to a flat or one-dimensional feel. Meanwhile, the eye is naturally drawn to harmonious mixtures of fabrics, as the combination of the different textures adds depth.

Wood is another great way to create a homely, warm ambience. A natural material, wood has been proven to improve air quality and, furthermore, it exudes warmth. With its diverse grain, it has a certain richness. The same can also be said of wool and felt, with their versatile yet captivating textures which are still soft to the touch. Bringing these natural textures into your home adds a certain vibrancy that can only have a positive impact upon your wellbeing.

#6 Set the scene

The right lighting makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of a room. While a dark room can drain your energy, cool, blue lighting is more reminiscent of a doctor’s surgery or a modern office than a place to relax. Shadows, light placement and the number of light sources – as well as its colour – all influence the overall feel of the room. Depending on the intensity, colour and contrast, a room can feel completely different with just a shift in the lighting.

Rooms without any shadow, for example, can lack depth, a little like a minimalist entrance hall. For living and sleeping areas, therefore, you should create pools of light with a mixture of direct and indirect lighting. You need three sources of light. Every room needs a basic (ceiling) light with a functional, bright bulb for everyday use. For workspaces and reading corners, opt for an individual lamp that can focus the light more directly. These two direct light sources should be complemented by indirect light sources, which help create a varied and relaxing space.

#7 Listen closely

Whether a room feels homely or not is, at first glance, all about looks. Does it meet your expectations? What are the main colours and accessories? And just as the right lighting can impact the overall feel, so can the acoustics of the room itself.

For example, living spaces created with communication at the forefront of their design, for example open-plan living spaces, are often made of modern materials such as concrete, glass and other smooth materials. Yet they sometimes suffer from poor acoustics, as the sleek surfaces amplify even the slightest of noises, creating loud echoes. The result is a space which fails to fulfil its purpose of effortless, open communication.

Rugs, room separators and curtains are the most effective solutions to this. They cushion the room somewhat and help create more pleasant acoustics. Curtains also soften the hard edges of bare windows, and enable you to shut out the outside world on those dark and dreary days!

#8 Keep it personal with accessories

Although the right furniture is of course the essential foundation for a cosy space, decoration and soft furnishings are the true heart of your home. They add character and make your space truly unique. But remember that less is more! Too many accessories can make the room feel overdone, piecemeal and cluttered. Instead, opt for individually selected, personal items such as photos. Not only do they add personality, they are also heartwarming reminders of treasured memories, and make your space feel more inviting. By focusing on a few select accessories, you can create individual colour accents and highlights, which, while eye-catching, don’t overwhelm.

#9 Seasonal shifts

Cosiness is by no means just a winter phenomenon. Every season has its own unique take on the term. Warm materials and colour combinations reign supreme in winter. Homes are replete with candlelight and heavy, warming scents such as cinnamon, pine and almond, while spring instead sees us reach instead for pastel colours, breezy linen fabrics and lively tulips. In summer, however, we grapple instead towards loud, full-of-life colours and fresh meadow flowers to add a summery scent on those rainier days.

But there’s no need to redecorate your entire home every season. You can easily mix up smaller accessories such as cushions, tablecloths and bedding – as well as candles and vases – to suit the season. It’s amazing how much difference it can make!

#10 All-round comfort

Furniture and decoration are important considerations for a cosy home, but they are by no means the only factors. Be sure to take time for yourself and make a conscious effort to decompress after a long day. Resist the temptation to open your laptop and opt instead for a hot cup of tea and a book. Throw on your favourite pyjamas and let yourself sink into your own little oasis of calm.