When I hear people talking about preparing for winter and “cozying” up their homes, faux fur throws and fireplaces are not the first things that come to mind. For me cozy equates to comfort, and as I see it, there are two kinds of comfort. One is the obvious comfy couch kind of comfort. The other, less obvious type, is the “mental” comfort we seek. When you walk into your living room or wherever you plan to seek relaxation and comfort, do any “tasks” come to mind? “Oh, I forgot to fix the leg of that chair” or “Damn, I need to get the carpets cleaned…” or ” I can’t believe I still haven’t patched and painted that hole in the wall!” Whatever nagging little (or big) tasks you still have to do….DO THEM NOW! If you are anything like me, it is really hard to chill and relax when you get triggered every time you walk into the room by the “to dos”. Give yourself a realistic time limit in which to complete these nagging tasks, and stick to it. You will reap the rewards, I promise!
Once you have taken care of that business, here are some less obvious and practical things to implement to cozy up for the coming long dark days of November and beyond….
First, make sure you have sufficient lighting. Some rooms are under-utilized because the lighting is inadequate. Ideally, you need overhead, accent, and task lighting. This helps create “layers” of light. Task lighting is really important for reading, or other activities that require more focused light. Second, dimmers are crucial for suppling the right amount of light. Low light is cozy and relaxing, and ideal for when you are hanging out with family or friends. Last, make sure you are using warm light bulbs (vs cool light) – a small and inexpensive way to create a warm and inviting space.
Take a look at the furniture groupings in your home. Are sofas and chairs pushed back towards the walls or are they grouped together towards the centre of the room? I see a lot of the former, and while it maximizes space in the centre of the room, it does not create a cozy feeling. Bring your sofa(s) and chairs closer together to create an intimate vignette where you can better connect with others.
Windows are awesome – the more the merrier and the bigger the better! However, in the late fall and winter months, widows have a cold effect once the sun goes down. Add some form of window covering to windows in your “hanging out” spaces. There are many options here, with fabric adding the most warmth. They also help to block out the outside world, and give you a needed break form the business of daily life.
I recently spoke with Stephen Quinn from CBC Vancouver The Early Edition this past week about cozying up your home. Have a listen, and please reach out if you need some help with achieving the comforts you seek this fall….