I think I’ve said on here before that I’m obsessed with DIY/decor blogs. I really love seeing how people live in their homes and watching them solve the challenges of making a comfortable home given whatever constraints they’re working with (budget, pets, kids, time, location, old house, new house, decorating for a loved one who is disabled or in a wheelchair, whatever).
I was trolling through a gallery of pictures the other day of the 2015 Southern Living Idea House in Virginia, decorated by a famous designer named Bunny Williams. Her style is nothing like my own, but I loved what she said about her design philosophy. “Your home should be the most comfortable place you can imagine.”
It got me thinking about what I think makes a home comfortable. And remember, this isn’t necessarily Pete’s opinion, and it certainly isn’t the Boy’s, because his version of cozy involves throwing all the couch cushions on top of me so I can live inside a tiny couch cushion tent (thanks for that, dear child), so that means we have to compromise on things because it’s not just my home. But if I have to come up with some words that mean comfortable to me, they would probably be simple, clean, and warm.
I think the simplicity part is probably the most important for making me feel like my space is comforting. Comfort, for me, comes when all the messes are cleaned up and I don’t have to worry about the fact that I see dog hair scooting unassisted across the floor like a tumbleweed or the gallery wall isn’t completely plumb (the No. 1 reason I will never install one). I suppose I subscribe to a certain amount of minimalism in my home because there are fewer things to have out of place and because, living in a house that’s kind of simple itself, ornate furniture and decorative items would feel out of place. If I imagine a cozy corner for myself, it’s a soft chaise that is easy to keep clean, a blanket made of natural fibers so it doesn’t pill and it breathes nicely, a table that’s big enough to have a pot of tea on it without me worrying about spilling it or knocking it over (apparently, my clumsiness dictates my decorating style), and a book.
Particular much? Yeesh.
Cleanliness is kind of linked to simplicity, but I was a college student who cleaned her room before starting homework because I cannot work in a cluttered space. When Pete asks me what I want when he’s making furniture for the house, I almost always ask him to make it the way that’s the easiest to clean. Is this to say my home is spotless? NO, but I like to streamline cleaning so that I can address an area in a reasonable amount of time. Simple and clean are linked and equally important.
Finally, warm. I don’t necessarily mean warm colors. I mean that in my cozy home, the hatches are battened, the cracks are filled in, the socks are thick, and the tea is the perfect temperature (not hot enough to burn my mouth, but hot enough to feel in my belly). So, maybe I mean solid instead of warm? This girl from the prairie loves the chilly wind, but she likes it to stay outside.
Simple. Clean. Warm. Solid.
When, prompted by Bunny Williams, I think of those words and apply them to my house, it helps me think of some changes that, someday, I’d like to make so that my house feels more like those words.
First, I’ve been trying lately to add a bit of color where it counts without ruining the simplicity of the space. I think my instincts when it comes to furniture and paint colors gravitate toward neutral, and sometimes that comes off as cold. It was a big step for me to choose a colorful, patterned curtain for the back part of the house.
I’m starting to think that I need to be willing to experiment with these things in the dining room; it’s been without a curtain for months now, partly because I can’t decide on a color or pattern and then I chicken out. And also because I need to budget my fun money for something.
Particularly as winter approaches, and I won’t be able to rely on flowers to warm up the space, I’ll need to think of ways to cozy the room up.
The living room has plank walls which warm it up, and a new rug is on the docket for multiple reasons (re: dogs). Someday, and believe me this is a someday because we won’t be putting it on any credit cards (we’re not going into debt over it), I’d like to get a new couch. The more Pete and I talk about it, the more we’re thinking we’ll save a little longer and eventually get leather. It has the color and warmth we want, and it’ll be easier to clean, and I kind of like the look leather gets even as it gets worn in a bit. If we do that, I think we’ll try to buy a piece that will last us as close to forever as possible. So, we’ll see, and in the meantime, we’ll keep using our $80 Craigslist find of a couch, even though one cushion is literally falling apart. At least I don’t have to care if pizza night ends up “rub pizza all over the couch” night.
Finally, the master bedroom. I’ll be posting pictures of that one pretty soon because that room is getting a serious overhaul this winter. We’ve got some big plans for it that, we hope, will increase its functionality as an actual bedroom, which it wasn’t meant to be, and will look architecturally appropriate to the home. We’ve never decorated a master bedroom because, and I think this is the case with lots of people, it’s not a public room and those get attention first. Exciting new challenge!
So, if you read this whole thing full of all the words and few pictures (thanks for that), I challenge you. If you’re into this stuff, sit still for a second and think about your house or apartment. Think of what “comfortable” or “comforting” (maybe I like that one best) means for you when applied to your home. I get bogged down all the time in the details of what my house should look like, but the point of this whole blog is to help me figure out what our house should make us (specifically us) feel and to share that journey with you. What’s your comfort at home? Leave a comment on here or on Facebook with your words because I’d love to hear them!