How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

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mathiverse
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How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by mathiverse »

Some homes are cozier than others. I have no idea what the difference is exactly. I do know most modern or minimalist designs are not cozy even if they are nice.
  • Does anyone have an idea about what principles and tactics people use to make a house or apartment cozy?
  • Does anyone have any book, video, or other learning resource recommendations?
  • Would the book Home Comforts by Mendelson help here? It looks somewhat promising. Does anyone who has read the book have an opinion on it?
  • Are there alternatives to browsing Pinterest/YouTube/etc until I get some intuition about how to accomplish the cozy aesthetic?

chenda
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by chenda »

Have a feature wall using bold colours, use secondary lighting in corners such as uplighters and lamps rather than centralised lighting, use curtains rather than blinds and subdivide an open plan living area into different functions, avoid big expanses of open walls. Although there is a fine line between cosy and cluttered .

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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by jacob »

Not an expert here, but our living room has actually been judged by a national mainstream audience and described as "cozy" by some. I think it's more of a "you know it when you see it" (note the many books that have been written about "hygge"), so the following rules may be a somewhat required or indicative rather than a sufficient condition. Indeed, if you look at the cover of your book, which I did after thinking about the rules, you'll see four things (confirmed):
  • A substantial amount of green leaves. (Not just a single flower in a vase.) And for the love of ... no plastic plants!!
  • A source of warm subdued lightning. Scandinavians tend to cheat and use lots of candles. The right light material curtains can do a lot here!
  • Soft fabrics and intimate space (so that people sit around the same distance from each other as they would normally stand when talking in a group). Natural wood can substitute as long as you can see the grain.
  • Doesn't look like a catalogue but doesn't look messy either. IOW, the optimal number of things on a horizontal surface is 3 or 4, not 1 or 25.
IOW, here's how to ruin it.
  • No plants.
  • Fluorescent lights, blinds or heavy curtains.
  • Leather couch system that seats 7 and people sitting in all corners of the room. People should never be so far from each other than one feels like raising one's voice is necessary to be heard across the room. Sitting arrangement not equidistant and people pointing in different directions (usually towards a TV).
  • Clutter and projects that are not related to human interaction. E.g. a piles of work papers, art supplies, school bag, ...
And the prime mistake that most make: Arranging the room like a movie theater with every seat pointing in the direction of a 40-50-60"+ TV that takes up an entire wall. There are two ways to fix this for avid TV watchers. Either keep the TV smallish (ours is 28") and only have your favorite seats pointed towards it (this is what we do---this does mean that visitors can't really watch TV with us, but presumably this is not why the come and visit(?)) or hide it in a cabinet, which admittedly is pretty hard with the current size standards. I think the one thing that destroys "hygge" is making the TV the central piece of the room.

Slevin
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by Slevin »

Will submit a bunch of fragments because this is something I think about tons, and I would submit a lot of reference pics as well, but I'm packing for a move right now, so everything is in boxes.

Warm lighting is very important, and where the light is coming from is very important. Light coming from above is going to tend to be very unflattering. You want warm light sources to come from roughly a horizontal plane to where you are sitting or standing. And you want it to be filtered. Multiple sources produces the best effect. Sun plus curtains is the best. When you don't have the sun, I would highly recommend paper filtered lanterns running warm bulbs (<2800k). Ikea regolit on a plug in pendant lamp is an option available to literally everyone for <$20 (and you can probably DIY something similar for way less). Fairy lights (warm white christmas lights) designed well across a wall are also top notch and you can run for the whole year. Make sure to run those as LED as well if they are gonna be near the greenery, and those are also often extremely cheap. Frosted glass is also pretty decent at filtering warm light. You can see this with a lot of the mid century lamps and pendant lights and such. Just way less cheap and accessible and it wants a "fancier" vibe to go along with it.

bostonimproper
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by bostonimproper »

“Cozy” means different things to different people. Any particular reason you are averse to making a Pinterest board? I feel like the most important thing is to first figure out your own preferred design aesthetic(s). Like: Are there certain design styles that you vibe with (e.g. Japandi, cottagecore, coastal, dark academia if I’m thinking if more “cozy” modern styles)? What textures and materials are you most drawn to? Do you like more minimal or maximal spaces? What does your preferred color palette look like? Do you prefer light and bright or dark and moody or do you want a balance of both? etc.

Once you have an understanding of the elements you like, then it can be useful to dive into the interior design basics like common room layouts, color palettes, and (imo, most importantly) lighting design.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by Western Red Cedar »

A Pattern Language has been discussed on the forums and talks about design at different levels. I haven't read it yet, but it briefly addresses how to design living areas for different sized households (see 75-79):

https://arl.human.cornell.edu/linked%20 ... nguage.pdf

+1 on plants and avoiding clutter. Another simple option for dealing with the TV is to cover it with a well-designed, light blanket/throw. Simply covering the black mirror really changes the mood of the room and offers a subtle visual cue to do something else.

chenda
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by chenda »

I always have my salt lamp on in the hallway. Somebody bought this for me and I would have dismissed it as a bit of consumerist junk but actually it's really quite nice, especially if you don't like coming home alone in the dark. In hotter climates consider an indoor fountain.

mathiverse
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by mathiverse »

@all: Thanks for the ideas! I see a decent path forward to improving my space after all that feedback.
bostonimproper wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 12:56 pm
My aversion is to having to browse for hours before I have a good idea of what might be the next step not a particular platform.

white belt
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by white belt »

Do you have a particular space you are trying to revamp? If you post some pictures perhaps the more aesthetically-minded forumites can point you in the right direction.

mathiverse
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by mathiverse »

white belt wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 2:39 pm
Oh, that is a great idea. I do have two particular rooms in mind. However, I have several low hanging fruit to pick before more detailed advice is necessary.

white belt
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by white belt »

Thinking about it more, I think it would be even better if forumites would post some pictures of their spaces that they feel are very cozy. That could provide some design inspiration and we know that copying is the first step on the CCCCC learning scale from the ERE book. I know @Ego often posts pictures of upscaled furniture that is "on display" in his home. I'd be very interested in this as someone who is trying to improve some of the aesthetics of my living space because I've found it does have an impact on my mood. In this crowd, let's assume we're not just going to go to Ikea or some other store with $1k to buy all new furniture.

The tiny house and van life movements can also provide some inspiration for how to pair functionality and aesthetics in a small space.

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mountainFrugal
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by mountainFrugal »

Image
Day Time

Image
Night Time- little blurry

As far as aesthetics go, we think about this a decent amount. "Mountain Adventure Cozy". Our living room is only moderately tidy because we use it for a number of things including drying out gear by the fire (boots and skis), sitting, drawing, reading (book shelf wall), fly-tying, writing, etc. (see desk on left). We harvested this spruce tree as a Christmas Tree. It was next to a large ponderosa creating the potential for a fire ladder from ground to lower canopy. It is easy to keep it alive for a few months just with water, so we enjoy it every evening until it eventually dries out and gets put into the woodshed for further curing. Our walls have a number of landscape photos that we or friends have taken, or really cool retro maps to add to our adventure vibes. Some of the furniture is new (one of the chairs), one is a floor model discount special, some are thrifted, and some has been with us since we first moved in together. We do not own a TV, the fire is plenty of entertainment for most of the year. Once I finish the kitchen remodel in our van I will post some photos of that.

Add: It took is a year and half to dial this in. We are in a rural area so the thrifting/craigslist options for high quality things are limited. We literally had lightweight backpacking chairs in front of the fire for the first year and half until I decided the posture of sitting in there was making our hip flexors too tight messing up my running stride. So we found other options. The lights behind the chairs (unlit) are warm LEDs. These are usually on when we do not have the xmas tree.

Henry
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by Henry »

Men tend to think a framed autographed football jersey does it. Women think throwing scarves around the room circa 1970's Stevie Nicks thinking she's a witch and ingesting cocaine through her asscrack does it. I'm no interior decorator but I would suggest avoiding both. I like MountainFrugal's room with the exception of that sad ass Charlie Brown looking tree. It takes up too much space and It blocks the natural light from the window. I'd put a small tasteful object there instead. A little sculpture maybe or something that doesn't rise above the window frame. Christ, I feel like I should hand back my nutsack after writing fru fru shit like that.

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mountainFrugal
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by mountainFrugal »

Henry wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 11:24 am
I like MountainFrugal's room with the exception of that sad ass Charlie Brown looking tree.
This is by far not the saddest tree we have had! Lol. We do have a little Ganesha sculpture that was given to us a gift that sits on the windowsill when the tree is not there.

chenda
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by chenda »

Henry wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 11:24 am
I like MountainFrugal's room with the exception of that sad ass Charlie Brown looking tree. It takes up too much space and It blocks the natural light from the window.
It's a Christmas tree.

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Ego
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by Ego »

mathiverse wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 12:04 pm
Are there alternatives to browsing Pinterest/YouTube/etc until I get some intuition about how to accomplish the cozy aesthetic?
A few questions are in order. Do you want your place to appear cozy or do you want it to be cozy? Cozy for you or for visitors?

A reclining chair may be super cozy (comfortable) but they are not what most people think of when trying to design a cozy home. Alternatively, I believe our yellow couch and the red cushioned bench appear to be what people generally think of as cozy (I could be wrong), but neither are particularly comfortable to sit in for long periods.

Image

Henry
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by Henry »

Just looking at that couch makes my ass hurt.

chenda
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by chenda »

Henry wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:57 pm
Just looking at that couch makes my ass hurt.
Perhaps you could show us yours ? The couch that is.

mathiverse
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by mathiverse »

Ego wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:07 pm
A few questions are in order. Do you want your place to appear cozy or do you want it to be cozy? Cozy for you or for visitors?
My first priority is the physical experience of coziness for myself day to day. So the couch and bench that look rather uncomfortable wouldn't work for me even if they might fit a cozy aesthetic.

If visitors who come into the room also feel that it is cozy, then that is a plus, but not important.

Appearance is not important in the sense that I don't care if a room is picture ready, but I do want the room's appearance to align well enough visually to make me want to relax in the room. As a random, extreme example to illustrate what I mean: metal, modern, industrial-style chair that is really comfortable and cozy to experience while sitting would not fit what I'm looking for. In other words, I don't want the appearance to be that far off from the feeling I'm trying to evoke.
Last edited by mathiverse on Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mountainFrugal
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Re: How do you make a house or apartment cozy?

Post by mountainFrugal »

mathiverse wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 4:49 pm
My first priority is the physical experience of coziness for myself day to day. So the couch and bench that look rather uncomfortable wouldn't work for me even if they might fit a cozy aesthetic.
Can you list a number of experiences that you think were cozy in the past? (not necessarily publicly here). What was cozy about them? Use all your senses. Temperature, light, fabric texture, body position, color palette, emotional state, post exercise, post cold walk outside, sunshine, natural light, your clothing, your clothing interacting with the furniture, the people you were with, hot drinks, the smells (candles, framed football jerseys etc.), the sounds (Rumours by Fleetwood Mac) etc.

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