Whether you’re entertaining or spending an afternoon alone, making a few simple changes to your home can turn up the comfort:
1. Repaint your front door.
Before guests set foot in your house, they’re going to notice its curb appeal, or the state of your home’s exterior. To put it another way, it’s hard to come back from a worn, chipped, and scuffed front door. Luckily, this has an easy fix: You can repaint it yourself or hire someone to replace it for you.
2. Light up your entryway.
Soft lighting is inherently welcoming—especially for anyone arriving at night. Depending on the style and size of your entryway, you could install pendant lights or wall sconces or illuminate with a floor or table lamp. Make sure lighting is ample enough to highlight a coat rack or shoe bench where guests can shed their belongings, without being overly harsh.
3. Declutter all common areas.
Minimal clutter is a cozy home staple. So, walk through your house from the perspective of a home stager: organize paperwork, donate old knick-knacks, and consider investing in some decorative baskets to store shoes, clothes, magazines, and electronics out of sight. (These tips will also come in handy when preparing to sell your house.)
4. Make space.
Once the clutter is contained, take another look at your living areas. Is furniture packed close together, making it hard for guests to move freely? Is it easy to get to and from the living room to the dining area, kitchen, and bathroom? Rearrange and remove furniture, as needed, so pathways are clear.
5. Cover or replace worn furniture.
Furniture that’s seen better days—whether it’s stained, discolored, or torn—doesn’t necessarily scream “cozy home.” Consider buying new furniture, if it’s in your budget, or look for gently used replacements on Facebook Marketplace. Another option is making or buying a slipcover, starting at around $30.
Dreaming of your dream home? You can use an all-in-one Renovation Loan to purchase or refinance and customize exactly as you’d like.
Ask your local Academy Loan Officer for details.
6. Add seasonal items.
You can set the cozy home scene by bringing in elements of the season. In the fall, this might mean pumpkins, gourds, dried leaves and flowers, and clipped branches. In the winter, you could arrange pinecones, evergreen boughs, moss, and winter berries on the mantle or in a vase.
7. Upgrade your dining table.
If you see your home as being a hub for the holidays—and other family gatherings—a new dining table is a worthy investment. Make your selection based on your preferred material, shape, and size. A table with a leaf and bench seat can be helpful for accommodating larger groups. You can save money by shopping secondhand (as long as it’s in good shape) and at local factory outlets.
8. Create a seating area.
Having a spacious dining table helps when hosting meals, but what about coffee, dessert, and cocktails? Set up an area in your home to seat guests during the in-between times so no one’s left awkwardly standing. Arrange armchairs around the fireplace, buy barstools for the kitchen island, or move an L-shaped sectional sofa and a coffee table into a breakfast nook.
9. Put down a rug.
If you have hardwood or tile flooring, a nice throw rug can help prevent that chilly foot effect. Rugs can be placed in the entryway, under beds, in living areas—and even on top of carpets. A large rug can help tie a cozy color scheme together and make a room appear more spacious.
10. Bake or burn candles.
There’s a reason the smell of fresh baked cookies is so enticing. Scents can stimulate the appetite, evoke memories, and even enhance wellbeing. So, burn a candle, diffuse essential oils, or bake bread or cookies. Three-quarters of U.S. adults, surveyed by Scentsy, say your home’s smell reflects who you are and leaves a lasting impression.
11. Add blankets and pillows.
To communicate “cozy home,” soft textiles are key. Place plush throw pillows on sofas and armchairs. Drape a fuzzy throw over the back of a couch or pile blankets in a basket. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate a warm color scheme: Think solid or patterned pillows in mustard, rust, copper, or sand.
12. Hang statement art (and plants).
The right painting or print helps liven up blank walls and provides a strong finish. Minimalist art can tie together a warm color scheme, while a soothing nature print of a favorite place can promote relaxation. You can also keep it homey by dedicating a wall—or hallway—to children’s art and family pictures. When in doubt, add a few low-maintenance plants.