Warm & Cozy Home Decorating Ideas

What makes a house feel inviting and encourages family to linger? You'll love these nine easy ways to up your home's cozy factor.
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Love Your Living Space

The most important aspect of a house is not its size or whether it's a ranch or a cape or a colonial. What's truly essential is whether your living space is a place of comfort and warmth, somewhere in which your family wants to stay and cocoon. There's no better time than now to see to it that your home has these comfy qualities. Here, a few tips to get you started.

1. Decorate with Keepsakes

People often feel that items on display need to be collectibles or of a certain value, but often the most interesting display includes sentimental family keepsakes. Photos, of course, top the list. They don't have to be of professional quality -- a group of favorite snapshots enlarged and framed can make a wonderful wall display. Other treasures, such as heirlooms and souvenirs, are also great to show off. A bowl of beach stones from your family's summer vacation in Maine will not only look beautiful on the coffee table but will also bring a smile to loved ones' faces because of the memories they evoke.

2. Gather Them 'Round

Create plenty of seating areas where family can hang out together. Forgo formality: Choose furniture that's casual and comfortable enough to curl up in. Group the major pieces, like a sofa and some armchairs, in a formation that encourages face-to-face interactions (as opposed to the common practice of aiming all seats toward the TV). Also, designate a spot -- it could be a table -- as a permanent game area where people can gather to play board games or work on in-progress puzzles.

3. Dim the Lights

Changing the lighting is one of the most inexpensive yet dramatic ways to warm up a space. Overhead lighting is often too harsh, so rely on wall sconces and table and floor lamps that will create softer pools of light. Also, avoid high-wattage bulbs. Several sources of low-level lighting (40 or 60 watts) will lend a much cozier feel. Or create versatile lighting options using dimmers; inexpensive dimming attachments (available at hardware stores) will work with any plug-in light source.

4. Top-Down Mood Makers

After choosing wall colors, window treatments, and floor coverings, many home decorators forget all about what's overhead. But the hue and design of a ceiling can make a big difference in a room's ambience: painting it a deeper color than the one on the walls will make it seem lower and the room more intimate, as will adding beams, molding, or other architectural elements.

Continued on page 2:  More Inviting Ideas


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