Though the feeling of utter peace is the ultimate goal, creating a home sanctuary is not a one size fits all project. The social butterfly and the consummate quiet introvert are going to have very different goals. The simplest way to create your own cozy home sanctuary is to tap into your human senses.
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Sight: Create a Tidy Space
Simply put, a household more easily operates if occupants are not constantly shifting through a mess. An overly cluttered home can lead to anxiety and an overall lack of productivity. Certainly no sanctuary has a pile of magazines from 2014 stacked in the corner next to random piles of athletic equipment!
Channel your inner Marie Kondo. Toss the things that don’t serve you or your space, and don’t look back. Purge, lighten your load, then organize. An organized home is the first step to a restful environment.
“A place for everything and everything in its place” is the simplest motto to live by. Furniture that performs double duty is clutch in small spaces. By organizing in plain sight, you also create visual interest and a space to humbly brag on your prized possessions. If you are in need of a less permanent but just as striking storage solution, there are a myriad of novel ways to display the ordinary.
Color: Use Warm Palettes
If you’re working with a smaller budget or you just don’t know where to start, a fresh color change will give you the biggest bang for your buck. A purposefully selected color is the perfect backdrop for any new changes to the mood of a home. The psychological impact of color cannot be overstated. It’s the best way to give a cozy home feel without a hammer.
The use of warm whites and creamy “greiges” (those colors between gray and beige) can update and freshen walls more than new furniture. What exactly are warm whites? It’s totally simple; just look for colors and whites with a hint of yellow, that’s what makes them ‘warm’. On the flip side,adding a drop of blue makes a color or white ‘cool’. Cool whites can look stark, so you may want to stick to using them for crisp trim and ceiling paint.
An accent wall of warm spiced reds or creamy blues with just a hint of yellow are the perfect way to bring soothing natural colors into your cozy home.
Hear: Create Cozy Sounds
If you have a sweeping open concept floor plan or cavern-like ceilings with beams, you may notice that it gets a bit noisy. Soften the auditory blow by layering in rugs, pillows, throws, and window treatments. Not only do they soften the room visually, but they are naturally sound absorbing.
If you are creating a meditation space, a small and simple water feature can add a layer of ambient noise to instantly transport you to a place of zen.
With all of the smart house options available on the market, a well thought out sound system is much easier to create throughout your home. Music lovers rejoice! Go as simple or extravagant as your budget will allow.
Smell: Create Fresh Scents With Natural Absorbers
Like the commercial says, it’s easy to become nose blind to our homes. But, your guests are not. Basically, every home needs fresh air. Starting the day with an open window lets out stagnant and stale air. Air purifiers (not humidifiers) can help immensely with lingering food and environmental scents.
While delicious smelling candles are available at every price point and smell profile, nothing can replace a good old soap and water cleaning. (Pro-tip: Please read your upholstery rating and spot clean before attempting any home upholstery scrub-down.)
A thorough home deep cleaning is clutch to combat an environment of stagnant smells. For day to day odor management, use natural smell absorbers such as charcoal bags, vented top containers of baking soda with a sprig of lavender or rosemary, antimicrobial odor eliminators, or sculptural air purifiers. Place near pet beds and litter boxes to tone down the “earthy” aromas that come with our furry family members.
Plus, not enough can be said about the air purifying power of plants. Go plant crazy if you’ve got the green thumb.
Touch: Use a Mixture of Fabrics and Textiles
Nothing says a cozy home sanctuary more than sumptuous fabrics. Whether you like slinky silks, soft velvets, or cozy knits, envelop your environment in fabric that you can’t keep your hands off.
Layer your bed or lounging area with textured pillows and throws to add an air of luxury to a bedroom with minimal effort. A soothing color palette can provide the backdrop for a restful night’s sleep that may be impossible to achieve with scratchy sheets and frenetic color palettes.
Making your home a place of pure peace and joy is important. Tidy up, grab a cozy spot and have a yummy cup of cocoa. Now, sit back and enjoy your new cozy home oasis!
A version of this article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Sass Magazine.
Lanna Ali-Hassan & Barri Branker
Lanna and Barri are the founders of Beyond the Box Interiors, a full-service interior design firm located in Frederick, MD and Alexandria, VA. They live by the philosophy “design for the real world” because they believe that great design should not only reflect your style and personality but should also result in livable, functional spaces that you truly love. When not designing amazing interiors for their clients, they can be found enjoying art, music, their beloved pets and exploring their wonderful neighborhoods.