Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cozy Rooms

Do you ever find yourself saying: "Why don't we spend more time in this room?" In just one weekend you can add enough warm touches to create a space you'll never want to leave.


Regardless of your decorating style, there are some surefire elements that will instantly make your room more welcoming.

Decorative pillows. Add big, sink-in throw pillows to your sofas and chairs. Use a fabric color or pattern that stands out against the seating. If you use solid fabrics, consider touchable chenille, velvet, or silk.

Slipcovers. Loose-fitting slipcovers make any room look more casual. If you don't have the time or money to have one made, use a one-size-fits-all version.

Ottoman. Nix your hard-edged coffee table in favor of a kick-your-feet-up ottoman. It's more relaxing, and gives you the opportunity to introduce more cozy fabric into the room.

Fabric window coverings. Blinds and shades are efficient, but not very friendly looking. This room uses fabric panels instead, secured inside the window with tension rods. If you keep your blinds, warm up the window with a valance, a swag, or stationary panels on the sides.

Cushions. A single chair or bench is a good candidate for plumping up. Add a seat cushion using a fun fabric that doesn't appear anywhere else in the room.

Throws. A nubby wool throw blanket for winter (or lightweight cotton for summer) is perfectly welcome thrown over the arm or back of a sofa.

Screen. Floor screens help to visually enclose a space and bring a room into scale. Just sitting near one makes you feel a little more protected. This screen is the ultimate in comfort because it's upholstered, adding padding and a touch of pattern to the room.

Rug. Area rugs help define conversation and sitting areas, and they add texture and pattern to a room.

Plants and flowers. Don't forget natural elements in your design scheme. If plants thrive in your room, so will you.

Family photos. Nothing personalizes a room like family photos. To keep from cluttering tabletops, choose several favorites and create a wall display with uniform mats and frames.

Low lighting. Harsh overhead lights suck all the charm out of a room. Instead, use adjustable ceiling-mounted lights and/or lots of lamps. It's much cozier to use several lamps, each with a low-watt bulb, than one lamp with a 100-watt bulb.

Conversational grouping. Take notice of how your major seating pieces are arranged. People should be able to conduct a comfortable conversation with their neighbor. To do so, pull furniture away from the wall, closer to each other, with chairs and sofas facing each other. Make sure each seat has a table within reach for setting down drinks.