Toss aside outdated notions that a “cozy” home means plaid-bedecked lairs and dark, bookish hideouts lit by flickering fireplaces. Increasingly, designers are proving that a cozy home can mean plenty of other things. Among them? That homes cast in pigment-less palettes, punctuated by textural fineries can also be considered incredibly cozy. While these rooms may not adhere to a textbook definition of “cozy,” they are perfect for encouraging guests to curl up and linger. If you’ve been looking for ways to turn your home into a snug gathering spot—without a proliferation of plaid in the mix—here are a myriad of ideas to get you started. Also, if you’re on cozy kick, be sure to check out these 10 cozy paint shades designers love!

Design by Mendelson Group, Inc. / Photo by Eric Piasecki

Soft Landing

For a West Village family room, the design firm Mendelson Group used a surplus of texture to transform it into a cozy haven. Rather than simply paint the walls, the firm applied a cloud-like texture in a soft ivory hue. The treatment works to create an insular, cocoon-like effect that’s as calming as it is cozy. A geometric ceiling serves a similar purpose, essentially “capping” the room and making it feel more like an intimate jewel box. Elsewhere, the firm turned to tactile textures to bump up the cozy factor. A shag rug cultivates major cozy, as do upholstered tweed ottomans (which, we might note, the firm purposely swapped out a traditional, hard-edged coffee table for). Lastly, the firm sprinkled floor pillows around the space, as a not so subtle wink-wink that it’s okay to cozy up on the floor if the notion strikes!

Design by Still Johnson Interiors

Flaunt a Fireplace

When it comes to crafting cozy gathering place, a fireplace should never be ignored, says the Birmingham, Alabama firm Still Johnson Interiors. “Arrange furniture around the fireplace,” they recommend. “Even when not in use, the fireplace triggers internal relaxation.” Fight the urge to position your sofa or accent chairs directly in front of the fireplace. Doing so will essentially blocking your fireplace and diminish its cozy-generating properties. Instead, do as the Still Johnson team does and use seating to frame it. You might also notice that the team opted for sofas and chairs with ample, over-stuffed silhouettes. Forgo modular or thin-cushioned seating in rooms where you’re striving for snugness. Pillow-y forms encourage guests to settle in and get comfortable for the long haul. 

Design by Laura U Design Collective / Photo by Michael Hunter

Drape It 

Windows have plenty of assets—making a room feel cozy gathering place isn’t one of them. To soften windows’ hard edges, consider draping them in footages of fabric. Laura U Design Collective of Houston, Texas did just that in the sophisticated bedroom above to achieve a stunning, and decidedly snug, effect. Dressing your windows in bolts of fabric is an especially deft move if you have oversized windows or sliding glass doors. Not only will outfitting them in polished pleats make a room feel more snug from an emotional perspective, they can also literally lift the mercury by keeping cold drafts at bay. Opt for velvets, mohairs, and tweeds for the maximum warming effects, and don’t be hesitant to spring for an extra drapery panel or two. More panels mean more of those soft folds that make a room feel sumptuously padded. 

Photo courtesy of White Webb Interior Design

Annex an Area 

Sometimes it all comes down to simple geometry. One of the easiest way to make a large room feel more like a cozy gahtering place? Splice it down into a smaller room. The firm White Webb Interior Design did just that in the living room above by hanging a curtain to fashion a luxe lair out of an annexed nook. A custom wall treatment and wall-to-wall daybed makes the area feel like a cozy den within the larger room. Try this technique in oversized loft spaces as well as studio apartments. While the White Webb team selected a light linen curtain to define the two spaces and keep things feeling airy yet snug, a heavier curtain fabric could generate even cozier vibes.

Design by KES Studio / Photo by Karyn Millet

It’s Unanimous! Move in a Sectional

When we asked designers for their best tips for designing a cozy gathering place, the resounding reply was, add a sectional! “Nothing says cozy quite like an oversized, cloud-like sofa with plenty of lounging potential,” says Laura U. Design Collective. “Select a fabric that’s so soft that your troubles simply melt away.” Equally charmed is the Mendelson Group. “We love a sectional for a sense of coziness,” says the firm. “Layering patterns on it will only add warmth and interest.” KES Studio, who designed the restful retreat above, seconds this, “You want fabrics that make people feel welcome and comfortable,” the firm reports. Sectionals with an added lounge feature, be it a chaise or an attached bench like the sectional above, can also encourage snuggling, especially with an artfully draped blanket stationed near by.

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Lead photo design by Still Johnson Interiors


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May 5, 2022

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