Whilst super-slick style and chic accessorising should never be renounced (we love that look far too much to do that), sometimes there is a time and a place for a cosy decor scheme especially during colder, winter months. Whether it’s due to decreasing temperatures or you just want to give your home a more inviting vibe, cosy interiors are one of life’s little pleasures.
Creating such a space takes a little bit of style know-how though. “Coming home to a warm, welcoming and cosy environment is such a great feeling and it can be relatively simple to master, if you stick to a few basic design rules,” says Jiin Kim-Inoue, head of design at Finchatton.
Whether it’s achieved through textures, lighting or appropriate colour palettes, creating this kind of environment should be a priority at this time of the year with quality cashmere, table lamps, impossibly plush rugs and seasonal scents being the call of the day. Try Jiin’s tips for a seamless seasonal transition.
Texture is one of the foundational principles of a cosy space and is often the first thing people think about when trying to add a warming layer to a room. In fact, textiles rich in texture – like cashmere, wool and fur – are practically synonymous with coziness. Jiin explains, “These luxurious fabrics create instant warmth versus colder fabrics such as linens, leathers and silks.” Keep the balance right by accenting cool leather upholstery with knitted or tartan cushions and breezy linen bedding with velvet runners or a cashmere throw – both of which can be easily changed depending on the season.
It’s important to think of a material’s composition too. Plain and basket weave alpaca wool throws, for example, will offer completely different looks with the plain knit being much less textured than a thicker basket weave knit. Visual textures are also important. A wallpaper which has a dimensional look might not be physically textured but it gives the appearance of a physical texture. Surface textures like this are a great option for those who don’t want to load their home with extra accessories or for rooms where adding layers is difficult.
It’s important to strike the right balance between soft and hard finishes.
Lighting is key at any time of year but even more so in autumn and winter when daylight is in short supply. Luckily, clever use of lighting is an effective way of achieving an intimate mood.
By their very nature, two of the four main lighting categories – ambient and mood lighting – offer a soft, atmospheric glow and should be a go-to for creating a cosy space. Not only do these kinds of lighting add an important layer to a lighting scheme, they’re also brilliantly flattering as well, counteracting the flatness caused by general lighting.
Soffit lighting, up lighters, table lamps, floor lamps, and even candle and fire light are all fine examples of atmospheric lighting. Bulb choice is key when thinking about the brightness and hue of your light as well. Jiin suggests, “It’s important to choose lights that give off a natural, yellow light rather than a stark bright white one.” Investing in a dimmer switch system will give you even more control of your lighting as well.
For more information on lighting, see our Ultimate Lighting Guide.
“Clever use of colour can be a really useful way of making a space feel warm and cosy,” reveals Jiin, “which is particularly useful when dressing large, open rooms.” So, when thinking of palettes, which colours should make it to your cosy room mood board? The expert goes on to explain that “neutral colours with accents of other warm colours such as camel, mustard yellow, moss green, and burgundy red are fantastic. They are also good alternatives to the more traditional reds and oranges, which are often not popular colour choices in homes.”
But a word of warning from the wise – Jiin cautions “when using strong warm colours, do so sparingly – the majority of colours in a room should be neutral, with small instances of brighter tones.”
Warm woods – like mahogany, cherry and walnut – are ideal as well thanks to their rich aesthetic and lovely natural patterns.
Clever use of colour is a useful way of making a space feel warm and cosy
Something which really makes a room feel instantly warmer and more inviting is the addition of some plush flooring – luxury rugs or carpets are a must for a welcoming space. Compared with tiles, wood and marble, soft floor coverings retain heat and allow you to enjoy padding around at home without the need for slippers.
“Rugs are a great way of introducing warmth to a home and injecting a pop of colour. The contrast between warm, soft and cold, hard furnishings works really well visually. Plus, rugs can be removed easily in the warmer months if the room becomes too warm. Rugs are like a pair of shoes that complete an outfit.”
A wool or silk rug with a thick pile (opposed to killim or flat weave designs which aren’t as warming) can’t be beaten for their cosy properties and will help conserve heat through winter months. A long-haired shag pile or fur rug are other alternatives for really chilly rooms.
Not only can soft flooring offer comfort and heat but they can also add both a visual warmth to a space and help to alter the shape of a room. Rugs work remarkably well as anchors for intimate furniture arrangements which create zones in a space and, again, offer a sense of closeness.
Too much cool daylight can make a room feel impersonal and flatten a space. This is particularly true of north- or east- facing rooms and autumn and winter months when sunlight will be at a premium. It’s a smart idea to switch out your lighter window treatments for thicker drapes when the weather turns cooler (especially in relation to energy conservation).
“When choosing curtains for cooler rooms in the home, consider warm, rich colours such as deep red or navy,” advises Jiin. But don’t assume that window treatments have to be bland – “They can be lined in bright, contrast colours such as mustard yellow in velvet to liven the mood and these will help bring a feeling of warmth into an otherwise cold room.” Upholstered curtains – especially when lined – will lock in heat and create a cocoon-like environment.
Jiin also suggests including a less opaque window treatment. “It’s also good to layer with wool or cashmere sheers so even during cold, dark months, you can still benefit from the winter sun. These will help deflect the light from the windows into the room.” Preventing glare throughout the day and blocking any views into your home from the outside at night are both important elements of a intimate interior.