Crawl Into Cozy

 
I’ve always had an adversarial relationship with February. Nothing personal, it’s just in the way.
 
I’m one of those optimists who thinks March is a Spring month, and if February would just kindly step out of line, the rest of us could get right to the budding flowers and warm sunshine part. Instead, February is that person who only has a few things in their cart, but ends up wanting a price check on every item, and is shocked –shocked!!!– when the store won’t accept an out-of-state check backed up by an expired license. Just. Move. On.
 
Some of you at this point are thinking that with shifting weather patterns in Virginia, March is now considered a winter month. Some of you would wish to share that opinion with me, thinking I would welcome your enlightenment. Some of you would be very, very wrong. March is Spring. Let me have this.
 
There is an upside to this almost heartless month, the cold weather and drab days are a perfect time to try your hand at the fine art of coziness. Cozy is a state that is universally loved, rarely pursued, difficult to define, but easy to create. We grew up craving and creating cozy spaces with piles of pillows, forts, or clubhouses, but along the way that creative candle burned out in the thin atmosphere of adulthood. We gravitate to it when we see it – who can resist a cute little reading nook or a thick pile of soft blankets and pillows on a guest bed- but we rarely make an effort to create that space for ourselves. Let’s change that.
 
When creating a cozy space, it helps to look at the definition of cozy, which is usually described as something that gives a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation. That gets us most of the way there, but to create a truly cozy environment you need the extra element of association. A truly cozy spot will have some elements to remind you of pleasant times from the past. 
 
Start by finding the spot you want to transform. Smaller areas are easier to change, whether it’s a room or the corner of a larger space.  Next, picture its use and the perfect piece of furniture for you. It could be your favorite style chair for reading, a big bean bag chair for listening to music, or an antique French day bed if you are transforming a little used bedroom into the place the family fights over. Be selfish here and find the piece you want to spend time in. Ignore trends, ignore style, and focus on comfort and pleasant associations. 
 
Next, look at the natural lighting in the space and make the most of it. Have a window with a great view? Bring your chair or bed closer to it, or use a room divider to make it a more private space. Too much light? Add another layer to your window treatments or hang a smaller stained glass window in front of it. If you have good light but an average view, consider doing some micro landscaping outside, or simply hang a bird feeder to add some motion and visual interest. When the sun goes down I’m a big fan of soft lighting, so I’m all about low-wattage bulbs, small lamps, fairy lights, and dimmer switches. 
 
Now it’s time to incorporate elements into the space that make you feel comfortable. Focus on texture like soft textiles (rugs, pillows, blankets), relaxing colors, and warm accents like rich wood and interesting houseplants. Candles are a great touch since they add light, movement, and scents. Life is too short to burn bad candles and splurge on the nice ones. Seriously, a good candle will burn longer, smoke less, and smell heavenly. 
 
Finally, add objects that connect you to positive associations. Are your very favorite books scattered around the house or boxed in a closet? Pick your top titles and display them in a small bookcase. Add a shelf or two and put together a collection of your favorite odds and ends. Extra points if they’ve been sitting in storage because you haven’t had the heart to get rid of them. And don’t forget the power of pictures of your favorite people or places. 
 
Experiment until you get the space that’s perfect for you. On a cold, busy day, if you find yourself daydreaming of being there, congratulations. You have mastered the art of cozy.
 

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