When you walk into your home, regardless of whether you rent or buy, do you feel warm? Cozy? Do your friends kick off their shoes and sit right down or do they shiver and pile on extra layers?
If you find yourself tugging on a sweater every day when you come home — even in the summer — then it might be time to upgrade your decor and make your home a little cozier and more inviting to your guests.
You don’t have to break the bank in order to have a warm, cozy space that feels inviting. All you need is to soften your space, and that can be done on any budget.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to create a cozy space in your home.
Incorporate warm colors
While warm tones and colors won’t actually radiate heat, they will feel warmer to the mind’s eye. Warm colors like reds, oranges, yellows and beiges give off a more inviting feel. Although striking, deep grays, blues and blacks feel colder, and it can be harder to relax in rooms where the colors are cold and uninviting.
If calmness and serenity is what you’re after, target colors found in nature (greens and blues) and mix them with beiges and pinks for a space that feels serene but not overtly cold.
Choose warm lights
You’d be surprised how much of an effect lighting can have on your room. If you take a look at a box of light bulbs, then you’ll see many numbers for watts, color rendering index (CRI) and color temperature, among others. The number that you need to look at is color temperature.
The color temperature, measured in Kelvins, tells you how bright the light will be. A bulb with a Kelvin measurement of 5000K is about as bright as daylight. For a warm feel, you’ll want a light bulb or fixture with 2700K color temperature. This color of light is less white and bright and more mellow and soft with some yellow hints in it.
For even warmer lighting, candlelight options below 2000K set the mood. In your room, keep the bulbs in your table lamps and fixtures at about 2700K and then add LED candles around the room for when you want to soften the lighting even more. Having options allows you to soften the mood when you’re feeling romantic or just want to spend a warm evening by yourself or with some good friends.
Plug in a diffuser
Scent can have a major effect on how you feel about your space. Whether you prefer essential oil diffusers, plug-in diffusers or incense, the scent of your home can make visitors welcome and warm the moment they walk in the door.
Scent is very particular for each person, but if you do want warm in your scent, try one with cinnamon, clove, sage, nutmeg or cedar wood.
Add blinds and/or curtains
Even if you have a tremendous view from your apartment or house, you will need to add blinds, curtains or even both. Blinds help you keep your privacy, and if you invest in more expensive ones, then they can also block the bright morning light or keep the cold air from seeping through the windows and into your home.
But blinds rarely ever add too much to the decor, so for a warmer, cozier feel, add a set of curtains to your windows to brighten up the space while also keeping it warm. Heavier curtains, especially velvet or those with additional lining, will help block out cold air that might come in through windows. If you find your bedroom chilly in the morning, heavy, velvet curtains could block that chilly air and keep you warm as you get out of bed in the morning.
Curtains also add some style and design. If you rent your apartment or home, then you might not have the option to paint walls or hang art from the wall. Curtains can elevate the space without violating a lease.
Pile on throw pillows, blankets and poufs
Warm colors and a nice sofa can only do so much. If you really want your living space to feel cozy and more inviting (even if you’re on a budget), add in some throw pillows, blankets and even a pouf.
Fuzzy pillows soft to the touch, and chunky, soft blankets obviously add warm. When you have friends over for a movie night, they can snuggle up with your pillows and blankets.
For added seating and table space, a pouf pulls double duty. In warm colors, these furniture options provide versatility, which can be a game-changer in a small apartment.
Switch your sheets each season
In the summer, you want cool, crisp sheets. But in the winter, those cool sheets can feel like a shock to the system.
When the weather gets cold, switch your sheets for flannel ones. They hold heat better, and they’ll feel warm when you go to bed at night.
Invest in a good rug
Have hardwood floors in your home? How about concrete floors in your basement apartment? While these floor options can make sense depending on the unit, there’s no doubt that they’re cold, especially first thing in the morning.
To make your space feel cozier, add area rugs throughout your space to make walking around more pleasant. In long hallways or narrow kitchens, lay down a runner, which is a long, narrow rug that will make walking and cooking much more enjoyable. In living spaces, the rug should be large enough so that all furniture can have at least two legs on it. In bedrooms, the bed should have the bottom two feet on the rug and an extra foot or so on each side so your feet touch a warm surface first thing in the morning.
Of course, area rugs can be expensive, so if you don’t want to buy a large one for your bedroom, add runners on each side of the bed instead.
Personalize your space
A home with no photos or decor can feel bare and cold. Liven it up by adding framed photos and meaningful decor and artwork.
When a space feels lived in, it feels warmed and more inviting to guests. If you’re renting and can’t hang photos on the walls, choose a few nice frames and fill them with your favorite photographs.
A cozy home starts with a space that is clean, well maintained and run by a thoughtful property management company. Check out some of the properties available from Atlas Lane in Washington, DC here.