Grey. It’s that time of year in our part of the world: grey sky, grey mountains, grey streets. Evening comes sooner and the city turns cool and damp.

What cheers us as the grey takes over? The trees! Orange, gold, yellow, red, butterscotch brown… Every time a flaming tree comes into sight against the grey it cheers us. Outside we have it for just a couple of months, but inside we could have it all year long if we decorated our homes to amp up the cozy.

Remember that coziness implies a certain casualness. No one feels cozy in a room where they can’t put their stockinged feet on the couch. In a cozy room you need to be able to drink a warm drink, eat a bowl of popcorn, and loll on the floor with the dog.

If this makes you tense, pick one room to keep pristine and formal. Proclaim it a no-popcorn zone. Make it as picture perfect as you want, and when you need your hit of serenity, go in there and inhale the perfection. But in rooms where you want to live, where a family can laugh and relax and be together, let the cozy come in.

Let’s start with the easy and obvious: warm colours. Of course the colours of fall leaves are warm and cozy: reds, yellows, and oranges. But any colour can be warm in the correct tone. A bluish red is cool, but a yellowish red, like tomato soup, is warm.

Even blue or green can be warm and cozy if rendered in the right tones: a yellower green or a greener blue, well-placed, can be just as warm a colour, in the context of a whole room, as red. So you can make your home cozy, for example, without giving up on the pink you love (salmon pink is warm!).

Even more influential than colour, however, is texture. Cozy carries with it the idea of safety, warmth, rest, and the textures you choose for your home décor can evoke these feelings. Lush fabrics bring the cozy: velvet, faux fur, cashmere, wool felt, and of course anything that reminds us of a sweater. Cable knit pillows and throws, for example, or a giant knit pouf or ottoman.

Using texture to make a room cozy involves judicious use of layers. A faux-fur throw draped over the back of a sofa and a few soft pillows can invite you to have a nice nap, but two or three throws and a dozen pillows can veer from cozy into cluttered and suffocating. Think hard of how the room is used; there has to be room on the love seat for people as well as pillows!

That’s why it’s best to scatter cozy accents throughout a room: a deep carpet, a pair of lush velvet curtains, extra throw blankets stored in a handsome basket. A few real plants and trees give a room coziness as well – what’s a comfy Victorian study without a palm tree or a few ferns?

As for more permanent surfaces, think natural materials: wood, cork, brick, unfinished stone. A focal wall of rough brick or stone warms a room right up. Make a room cozy forever with wood panelling or ceiling beams, or wood trim around windows and doors.

And bookshelves are a perennial image, after all, of the cozy home. The most traditionally comfy are built-ins. A whole wall of bookshelves gives you the most options for displaying not only books, but precious family heirlooms, kids’ art, souvenirs of travel… reminders of loved ones and dear memories is a very special kind of cozy.

Want the ultimate in-home cozy? Install a fireplace or two. Of course a wood-burning fireplace comes to mind first. When our kids were growing up, Christmas morning wasn’t Christmas morning until dad lit the fire in the fireplace.

But not everyone wants or can accommodate a fireplace with a chimney. No fear! There are any number of options these days, from gas or propane fireplaces that emit real flames and heat, to electric or water vapour fireplaces that give you all the cuddly atmosphere of a fireplace without the heat or fuel. You can perfect your Sunday afternoon reading-and-taking-a-nap-on-the-couch time with the right fireplace.

In my head one of the ultimate cozy luxuries is a fireplace in the bedroom. Nodding off for the night while staring at the dancing flames…that is some expert-level relaxing right there.

The comfortable folks at Reid Developments can help you renovate your home into coziness this season. Contact them today!