If there’s an element many of us like in our homes, it’s a sense of coziness, especially around this time of year.
“As the days get shorter and colder, we all gravitate towards cozy spaces. The great thing about creating a cozy space is that it can be done anywhere on any budget,” says Shay Holland (opens in new tab), interior designer, and star of HGTV’s Unfinished Business.
It’s also easier than you think, whether you rent or not.
So if you need to add a dose of cozy to your bedroom, living room, or your entire home, here are eight ways to make a space feel a little homier.
1. Use textured baskets for decluttering
No one likes a mess, particularly in smaller spaces. So, if you’re trying to up your cozy factor, start by cleaning up.
“People sometimes think that making a home feel cozy means adding layers and layers of stuff and heaps of decorative objects. But the opposite is true—cluttered spaces often make us feel anxious and restless, especially in smaller homes,” says Holland.
“Cozy spaces are thoughtfully pared back so they offer an invitation to grab a blanket and snuggle up. They radiate a sense of permission to rest and relax that cluttered spaces often lack.”
Once you’ve edited your objects, you can re-think how you store them, choosing cozy and stylish storage containers in knit, woven, or felted materials, like these Water Hyacinth Bins (opens in new tab) from Container Store.
This 3-pack of macrame storage baskets in a variety of sizes bring an element of cozy texture into your decor, while still feeling cohesive and intentional.
This wooden and rattan storage basket is a more sturdy option, ideal for holding heavier items like bottles, books, and for sliding under a side table.
2. Consider more color
Color has a big impact on the ambiance of a room and how we feel in it. So, if the vibe isn’t as cozy as you would like, it might be time to add more color. You could even go as far as to repaint your space, if that's an option, according to Holland.
“The color can be light or dark but should have a warm undertone. Undertones and saturation levels can be a bit scientific but in general, cozy colors are easy on the eye. So even though orange is on the warm spectrum, it is associated with an energy and vibrancy that is better suited to fast food restaurants.” Says Holland.
The designer also tells me it’s best to opt for satin or flat finishes so that light doesn’t bounce off the walls. “These finishes tend to feel more soothing and calming.”
Repainting is also a smart idea for small spaces because it’s a major change that doesn't take up any floor space. Best of all, it is inexpensive and you can easily do it yourself.
3. Re-evaluate your lighting
The right lighting can instantly make your home feel cozier. Interior designer, Audrey Scheck of Audrey Scheck Design (opens in new tab) recommends choosing bulbs with a warmer hue instead of a cooler, blue light.
“A warmer yellow light bulb will instantly make your place feel cozy. Color temperature is denoted in degrees Kelvin, and you want to aim for a bulb around 2700 kelvin.” Says Scheck.
These types of light bulbs are usually marketed as warm white or soft white because they offer an orange-tinted, cozy, warm light.
“Another great lighting trick is to utilize lamps around your space to create moments of ambient light instead of overhead light,” she says.
Light fixtures are another great way to add design impact to a smaller room or home, without taking up a large amount of floor space. For example, table lamps for reading, overhead lighting for working, and pendants to add personality or wall sconces to “create a mood,” says Holland.
Remember, not all sconces need to be professionally installed. You can plug the West Elm & Rejuvenation Cylinder Adjustable Sconces (opens in new tab) right into the wall and take it with you to your next home.
4. Light candles
Beautifully scented candles emitting a small flame can make a room feel extra feel warm and comforting.
“The flicker of a burning candle is an instant way to bring warmth into your space,” explains Scheck. This Diptyque mini candle set (opens in new tab) is the perfect way to add just a little bit of light and scent to any room.
Scheck also recommends choosing wall decor for more cozy vibes “You can also use decor or artwork to draw attention to the fireplace to accentuate the coziness of the room.” She says.
5. Layer textiles
Layering textiles is another way to make a home feel cozy. Scheck explains, “Incorporating layers of throw blankets and pillows will instantly help lounge areas feel cozy. When sourcing textiles, stick to a cohesive color pallet to ensure that the pieces you choose work together in the same room.”
It’s hard to go wrong with a plush faux fur blanket, like this one from Anthropologie (opens in new tab), which comes in a variety of colors, styles, and designs.
6. Choose real plants and fresh flowers over faux
While faux plants and flowers are an easier choice, fresh plants and flowers improve the ambiance of a room far better. “Adding organic materials such as fresh flowers and plants makes spaces feel more relaxed. Dried stems are also a great option if you'd prefer something more low-maintenance,” says Scheck.
Holland recommends going with plants that have robust and abundant leaves. “Then supplement it with trays of greenery, flowers, and vegetables in a bowl. Pair living elements with natural materials like jute, reclaimed wood, cotton, and stone to bring so much life to a space.”
If you don’t have a lot of extra space in your home or a table to put the plant on, consider a hanging planter or basket.
7. Blend old and new
Scheck likes to blend old and new furniture and decor to make a room feel cozier. Don’t know where to start? She recommends sourcing from local antique malls, and flea markets, or searching on websites like Etsy (opens in new tab), Facebook Marketplace (opens in new tab), or Chairish (opens in new tab).
8. Make everyday items pretty
We all need things like soap pumps, hand towels, and cutting boards. Scheck says choosing the most stylish versions of these products can elevate space. She also notes, “If you are in a small space, it's particularly important to be selective about your decor choices.”
Consider adding reusable soap dispensers that match your decor and selecting storage and organization pieces in your home's color scheme.