I believe that we all want our homes to be cosy, but smart and stylish too. And therein lies the challenge. Somehow ‘cosy’ is one of those words that has a subtext signifying small, cluttered, crowded, messy. So here at ELLE Decoration we’re redefining cosy to connote warmth, comfort and good cheer! It’s the difference between perching on a sofa and sinking deeply into one.
In short, in our lexicon, cosy means ‘designed to provide solace to the human body’, which is what all of our home-making goals should be about; the creation of a space that soothes the soul. In truth, this is often easier said than done. Indeed, I struggle in my own home as it stubbornly insists on staying in an eternal state of unfinishedness (note how I’ve extracted myself from culpability here). I dream of the day it’ll be completed (via dust-free magic?) and swear that I’ll never ever renovate another old house again. I think we all know this probably won’t be the case.
But then why do any of us embark on housing projects? Is it the seduction of crafting a space that’s just that little bit better than the last one? Probably. But what interests me at the moment is that for many people I know, ‘better’ doesn’t necessarily mean bigger. Today, better often revolves around improved insulation (sound and heat), superior efficiency (from layout to boilers) and smarter technology (everything controlled by your iPhone), on top of the ever-prevalent need to build in as much storage as is humanly possible. Also, more and more I’m seeing the clever use of top lights and clerestory windows to sneak in extra light where you might not have expected it, hallways being particular favourites.
But if you’re not in the market, or mood, for a structural overhaul, it’s good to know that there’s lots to be achieved with atmospheric artificial lighting, especially now that the evenings are getting longer again (see p107 for our guide to everything you need to know). But sometimes cosy is simply a matter of a lot of thick rugs, slubby throws, fluffy blankets and feather-light duvets (see our edit on p166). As autumn beckons, this is definitely the time to get your bedroom dressed accordingly. Nothing beats snuggling down with a book or movie in the depths of a dark evening, listening to the weather doing something horrid outside. It’s a pretty affordable and marvellously indulgent way to update a whole room without recourse to a tool box, too. Add in a purring puss or sleepy dog (for pets alone truly maketh home: see p57) and the scene is surely set for glorious ELLE Decoration-style cosy comfort. After all, as William Blake wrote, ‘In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy’.
First published as my Editor’s Letter in the November 2015 edition of ELLE Decoration UK