The tiny house movement may have gained popularity in recent years, but many Americans still dream of living in a big home with spacious rooms, high ceilings and sprawling open-concept floor plans. But after the furniture is all moved in, some homeowners have issues with purchasing a home that’s so big. A spacious house can actually feel quite empty, cold and uncomfortable. And when you don’t feel comfortable in your own house, it can be hard to be yourself behind closed doors – in the place you should feel most like you.
How To Make A Big Home Cozier
“The reason big homes don’t look cozy is that everything is usually spaced out and distant,” says Kayla Goldstein, interior designer and owner of Kayla LLC, an interior design firm in upstate New York. “[To me], the definition of coziness is close together and small, something that is hard to accomplish in big rooms or big houses.”
While it may be difficult to achieve, making a big home feel more comfortable isn’t impossible. Here are some ways to do it:
Break The Room Into Sections
“Big homes are great, but are often lacking in that ‘cozy’ feel because there’s an overabundance of negative space,” says Courtney Keene, director of operations at MyRoofingPal. “The best way to make a large home feel cozier is to make ample use of space.”
It can be hard to use a huge space for just one purpose, so our experts recommend using it in several ways, instead, each with a dedicated area.
“Create several smaller, more intimate spaces within a large space; for example, a reading nook, TV and family hang out area or office area,” suggests Marty Basher, a designer with Modular Closets. “Section off areas using rugs, furniture and lighting.”
To make smaller spaces within a large room feel even more intimate, use a screen to separate it from the rest of the room. Just make sure the same design flows through every section. Remember that, while the areas may serve different purposes, they are still located in one room; so, keep the design style cohesive throughout.
Strategically Arrange Your Furniture
When it comes to arranging your furniture, you don’t want to create too much space between the pieces in each section of the room. Too much space can make the area feel empty or too sparse. It can also make your guests feel like they need to shout to have a conversation.
“Make sure that the distance between the furniture is no more than 18 inches, so it isn’t too far apart,” says Goldstein.
If you’re arranging furniture around a coffee table, make sure everything is complementary, size-wise. A tiny coffee table will get swallowed up by big, bulky pieces and the off-balance pairing will create too much space. To soften the look even more, replace the coffee table with a large ottoman. This furniture piece can fill the space in a way that is less rigid by removing sharp edges and corners and replacing hard surfaces with cushy ones.
“Another good way to make sure a room is cozy is to create a conversation circle,” suggests Goldstein. “You want all your seating furniture to be facing each other so that the space is conducive to connection.”
Spotlight The Focal Points
A focal point is one of the first things a person notices when they walk in a room. It stands out among everything else, draws the eye in and can set the tone for the room. Many designers typically recommend choosing one focal point for a room, but Basher recommends more than one focal point for spacious rooms.
“Having only a single focal point in a room expands the space,” he says, adding that “having several will section the space off a bit and make it feel smaller.”
To enhance the idea of comfort, Goldstein recommends choosing a focal point that “leads to warm feelings” and suggests either a fireplace or a stove, if you have one. It doesn’t have to be so literal either. Those warm feelings Goldstein mentions could be the more sincere “warm and fuzzy” kind, too. For those kinds of feelings, she recommends a family gallery wall featuring photos of your loved ones.
Make Tall Ceilings Feel Lower
Tall or vaulted ceilings are an architectural bonus in many homes, but they can also create a lot of empty vertical space. To help remedy this, install tall plants and lighting fixtures that reach up into the space and make the ceiling feel lower. You can also hang a big light fixture from the ceiling, which helps fill the space a little more.
Consider Your Paint
Your paint color can also impact on how tall a room looks and feels.
“For rooms with particularly high ceilings, two-tone walls are a great way to create a cozier feeling by tricking the eye into thinking the ceilings are lower than they are,” says Rob Peterson, owner and CEO of Paint Denver. “Another trick is to paint the ceiling a darker color than the walls, even if just slightly. This will make the ceiling appear lower, making the room feel cozier. These tips work particularly well in large living rooms.”
These tricks help with the vertical space of a large room, but what about the breadth of the space? Peterson has another pro paint tip: using darker colors.
“Light reflects off of lighter-colored surfaces, making spaces look larger and more open. Opting for darker, less reflective colors on walls can make a room feel cozier than using a typical white or cream,” he says. “Pair these deep-colored walls with light-colored trim to accentuate the borders of the space and break up the expansiveness. These tips work well in any room of the house, especially living rooms and bedrooms.”
Curtains and other window treatments add gentle touches to the hard, blank surfaces walls and windows create. They help make a room feel warmer and more intimate by providing privacy, absorbing sounds to reduce echoes and keeping out the literal cold. Curtains also help fill negative vertical space and reduce bright outdoor light. While natural light is never a bad thing (and helps improve your mood), it can sometimes feel too stark in a calm, intimate setting.
Illuminate Rooms With Warm Lighting
Bright lights can feel sterile and uninviting and can make you feel too seen, almost like you’re under a spotlight. Use warm lighting to feel more comfortable in your home. It promotes relaxation and is said to be more soothing than cool lighting, which is said to make you feel more alert. Warm lighting puts off a reddish, orange or yellowish glow. To achieve this type of lighting, use light-diffusing lampshades, light a fire in your fireplace, hang string lights, turn on a Himalayan salt lamp or light some candles. When it comes to light bulbs, use incandescent ones or choose more energy-efficient LED bulbs in a warm glow or soft white color. You could also install a light dimmer to go between cooler and warmer settings.
Layer In Fabrics
Rugs absorb noise and provide a warm cushion between your feet and the cold, hard floors of your home. Meanwhile, plush pillows and throws provide delicate touches and help evoke feelings of comfort and a desire to be engulfed in softness.
Use Natural Elements
There isn’t much that survives in cold, harsh environments, so when you see bright, flourishing, living plants in a room, the space automatically feels warmer and more nourishing. Houseplants and fresh flowers add vitality to a room, help clean the air and can boost your mood. Decorating with natural elements can help you connect with nature, cultivating an almost-primal sense of belonging and comfort. These feelings will overflow into the overall vibe of a room. Another reason using natural elements makes your home cozier is that the organic shapes of natural pieces help remove stark lines that feel restrictive and unforgiving.
Make Your House Feel Like Home
When you finally feel at home, you feel safe to be your true self. A house feels most like home when you fill it with things you love, so don’t be afraid to surround yourself with those things. This will also help you show off more of who you are, including your personality and your passions. To achieve this, incorporate favorite items from your childhood home and trinkets from your travels, hang pictures of your loved ones or put up a piece of art that speaks to you. Don’t limit yourself to only the physical items you love. Fill your home with people and pets you love, too. Adopt an animal, start a new family tradition, measure your growing children against the doorframe, host a party or family gathering – begin to build memories in your home that last long after its tangible features are gone. The more your space sparks positive emotions, the cozier you’ll feel in it.
However you make your home comfortable, Rocket Mortgage® by Quicken Loans® will help you feel comfortable financing it. We provide a personalized and convenient mortgage experience centered around you. Get started today.
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