Maybe it was your grandmother’s house in the woods, or the tiny apartment your best friend lived in right out of college, but most of us have been to at least one place that was so cozy, comfortable, and inviting you just instantly felt at home.
What was the secret to its appeal? And how comfortable is your house? If the answer is, “Well–it could be cozier!” we have some great ideas for you.
The answer to creating a cozy and comfortable home lies in pleasing the senses.
Our bodies’ senses are hands-down our best guides when it comes to feeling cozy and at home.
1. Most of us are sensitive to chemicals (certain artificial fragrances fall into that category) and the toxic effects of many home furnishings, building materials, and cleaning products. One secret to a cozy and comfortable home lies in sticking to as many all-natural products as you can. Which house would you rather walk into, one filled with gases from fiberboard cabinets and new synthetic carpeting, plug-in chemical air “fresheners” and chlorine-based cleaning products, or a home scented subtly with beeswax and lemon furniture polish, and the earthy smell of all-natural sisal rugs?
2. Rather than relying on chemical air freshener products, we can use potpourris and simmering spiced cider to give our homes a welcoming homey scent. Try Spicy Harvest Simmering Cider Air Freshener or Three Potpourris.
1. Nothing says “home” like the sight of soft warm light from beeswax candles, firelight, or lamps. If you don’t have a working fireplace, the glow of beeswax candles will do beautifully to create that fiery soft light our ancestors associated with the safety of home. And most overhead lighting tends to be harsh, so lamps set invitingly on tables are often a better choice for room lighting.
2. Colors that are pleasing to you are a vital element in the cozy home. Warm colors in the cooler months and cool colors in the warmer months tend to make our bodies feel more balanced, but your favorite colors–whatever they are–will always be pleasing to you.
3. Items of interest, like paintings, art objects, artifacts, and things from nature–can make a home feel cozy and special. Beauty is a very subjective thing, but our eyes enjoy resting on things we consider beautiful; it makes us feel at peace.
1. No matter how good a house smells or looks, if the surfaces you sit or lie down on are hard and unpleasing, it just won’t feel cozy. Soft, natural fabrics, seating with plenty of cushiony “give” and comfort, mattresses with just the right blend of firmness and softness–these are essential to a cozy home.
2. Textures that are interesting and intriguing invite us to explore, and we feel at home in the delights of discovery. Try bringing in different natural textures–stone, marble, wood, leaves, shells–that invite touch.
3. Surfaces that feel dusty, dirty, greasy, or sticky won’t lend themselves to coziness. The degree of cleanliness needed for coziness is a personal matter, but most of us agree: too much dirt and grime doesn’t feel very good to anybody.
1. Try just sitting still with your eyes closed and notice what sounds you hear. Is there a lot of noise pollution in your home? Such as a refrigerator that rattles loudly, a television or radio blaring, the noise of construction or traffic or lawnmowers or leaf blowers outside? A white noise maker can help to filter outside noise if you live on a busy street; a wind chime placed where you will hear it indoors, or a tabletop fountain might help to give a serene note to the sounds in your home. Do what you can to reduce the noise pollution in your home: switch to alarm clocks that are not as jarring and keep volumes turned down whenever possible.
Sometimes the way to coziness is through the taste buds! The delicious meals you have cooked and eaten in your home are all an important part of the picture. If you get in a food rut, try a new recipe (especially if it will smell wonderful as it cooks) to increase the coziness factor in your home. If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up for our free food newsletters, Eat Well Naturally and Green Cuisine.
1. Then there is that intangible “something” that can really add or detract from a home’s cozy-rating. Call it vibe or energy or atmosphere–if the people in your home are tense and unhappy, chances are the house won’t feel all that cozy. It is truly a circular thing: the more of an effort you make to keep a cozy home that pleases all the senses, the happier its inhabitants will be–and the cozier your home will become.
2. If the energy in your home feels weird, feng shui can offer ways to fix it. See Balance Your Home Energy with Feng Shui.
By Annie B. Bond