“Home” should be as comfortable as possible!
If your home doesn’t meet that description, here are ideas to help you achieve it.
By Tammy Adamson-McMullen
Does the word “home” conjure up sensations of comfort for you? Of safety, serenity and sanctuary? Of a warm and cozy embrace? Hopefully this is true for you, but if not, there are steps you can take to make your home more comfort-inducing. This is something to aspire to at all times—and maybe now more than ever.
1. Take Inventory
The first step toward making your home comfortable is to take an inventory of each room, asking yourself, “What is keeping this space from being the coziest it can be?” It could be that there’s too much clutter, or that your furniture is arranged in such a way that you can’t maneuver easily within the space. Maybe critical shelves are placed too high for you to reach—a common culprit is laundry shelving above washers and dryers—or your closets need a sort-out and additional storage bins. Make a list of problems and then delve in to correct them. You’ll find that most are solved easily with a bit of tidying, rearranging, resorting and rehanging.
2. Include Furnishings
You should take inventory of your furnishings, too. If sofas and chairs are sagging, have them re-stuffed or do it yourself. If they’re beyond repair, then replace them as you’re able to do so. Do the same with frayed area rugs, broken window treatments, faded artwork and so on. As your budget allows, remove and/or replace anything that takes away from your sense of enjoyment.
3. Take Stock of Linens
Does your bedding need updating with softer and more luxurious sheets and bedspreads? Are your bath and kitchen towels worn and in need of replacement? Would your beds, sofas and chairs be snugger with new throw blankets and extra pillows? It’s easy to get into a rut with old linens, so take stock to see what might make you feel more luxuriated.
4. Assess Window Treatments
You also should access your window treatments to see if they offer the style and function you desire. There are so many window types to choose from—draperies, blinds, cellular shades, Roman shades, shutters and more—that offer so many benefits, such as privacy, light control, energy savings and automation. One of the best options to come along in recent years are top-down/bottom-up shades, which allow you to control the exact amount of privacy and light that you need. But even a simple set of sheers can be the right option in the right space, so consider your options.
5.Think About Paint Color
Paint colors have a huge impact on how you feel in a space. Generally, warm colors (those with a red or yellow base) tend to be the most soothing. They include many hues we find in Mother Nature, such as terra cotta, earthy browns, olive, sunny yellow and metallics like bronze and gold. That being said, if cooler colors are your preference, then you won’t feel at ease in a warm color scheme. Cooler colors (those with a blue base) include all shades of blue, icy pastels, lavender, blue-greens like aqua and sage and many metallics in the silver family.
If you have a warm color scheme but cooler colors “speak” to you, or vice versa, then it’s time to repaint! Before you start, develop a color scheme that works with your furnishings and style, and make sure the scheme is harmonious from room to room. One tip: Monochromatic color schemes can be extremely calming, especially in bedrooms to encourage sleep.
6. Consider Wallcovering
One of the best ways to cozy up a space is with wallcoverings. Whether applied to one wall or throughout the room, wallcoverings are unique in their ability to add color, pattern and texture—all important elements of a comfortable home. When choosing wallcovering, make sure it isn’t too busy for your space, which can create a feeling of discord. Also, pay attention to the texture of your wallcovering which, depending on how thick it is, will add varying degrees of warmth. Textures range from foils and light embossing to grasscloths, linens, paperweaves and heavily embossed designs.
7. Try a Mural
Murals, which are popular in all home styles, can be incredibly transformative. Many also are easy to install, with just a peel-and-stick application. Try adding a mural that transports you to your “happy place”—maybe a sandy beach, a snowy mountain or your favorite travel destination.
8. Look Underfoot
Nothing says “comfort” like something cushioning underfoot. Carpet, of course, is the obvious comfy choice. Carpet adds style, warmth and softness, and recent improvements in water- and stain-resistant technologies make them easier to care for, too. But don’t discount hardwood and tile, which have the advantages of bringing warm tones, natural beauty and elegance to a space. And, of course, both hardwood and tile can be cozied up further with well-placed area rugs.
Resilient floors that imitate wood and tile flooring are good choices, too, plus are easier to maintain and softer underfoot. Cork flooring likewise is more cushiony and has the added benefit of being made from a sustainable material.
9. Bring in Nature
You might have noticed that many of these ideas include natural colors and materials. We tend to feel more relaxed in Mother Nature’s bounty because it appeals to our basic instincts. Stone, wood, water, natural textiles, greenery—all of these and more can make your home feel more like a sanctuary. As you cozy up your home, consider adding natural elements or at least realistic imitations, which can be more comfortable for your budget.