It is my sincerest wish to have "Queen of Cozy" engraved on my tombstone. It's so important to me that my guests feel comfortable when they come in my home. What's more, I have to feel comfortable and cozy; I live in this place! Combing through thrift shops, building furniture, online shopping, magical research, feng shui books and morning coffee dates to brainstorm reno ideas with friends, is all part of the fun process of owning your space, and nesting within it - like a boss. Like you mean it. Are you ready to nest with intention? Things are gonna get sassy.
1. EVERYTHING NEEDS A PLACE
This rule is the most important one, so engrave it onto your soul. Everything in your home, every spoon, every vase, every little knick knack you own needs to have a place. Properly positioned vignettes are the staple to a supreme nester. Your things can't slump down on the table without a home. Your items need to be easy to find and clutter-free. You should always know where that trinket, decanter, or pillow are, because there is only one place they could be: in their home. A well-dressed mantle can feature fun items that you don't need to throw away. The mantle can be their home. But if you have too many things and not enough places to put them, you've got to get rid of some things.
2. MAKE IT COZY
Ah. Make it cozy. How do you do that? Cozy means soft textures, rich fabrics, rugs, places to lounge, mood lighting (read: lots of lamps and candles) and a bevy of neutral colours. Oatmeal. Charcoal. Slate. Sapphire. You don't want anything neon or too bright. Little pops of colour here and there are alright, but they shouldn't dominate a room. No one can relax while sitting inside lime green walls. Your colour scheme should be relatively close to colours you can find in nature. And that doesn't mean boring: nature pumps out some pretty miraculous palettes. Natural colours support a more wholesome surrounding, satisfying biophiliacs everywhere. Colours hold a lot of power: read my post on colour here. And of course, items #3, #4, #6 and #9 add to "making it cozy" as well.
Moccasins are everything. They should always be on your feet when you're at home. NOT slippers. Moccasins. This is important. A high level nester won't be caught with plush puppy slippers on her feet. She will be in quaint, discreet moccasins, and definitely have a spare pair or two sitting in the living room beside the couch - in their little moccasin home - so guests can wear them and feel cozy too. Cozy cozy cozy. I suppose you could have a tasteful slipper... but there would be some debate over what is considered tasteful, so opt for the moccasin - which as, always tasteful.
And let's not forget: purchase your moccasins from a local indigenous maker to help keep Aboriginal traditions and cultures alive and supported.
4. BLANKETS EVERYWHERE
This is the one time where those sentimentally valuable but hideous blankets can actually stay. They need to be soft, varying in sizes and cozy. Cozy cozy cozy. You can't have too many. Just make sure each one has a home, be that draped elegantly across your bed, in the linen closet, or in a woven basket in your den. NOT thrown all over the couch. Everyone wants to curl up with a magazine or book, a couple candles, a record spinning, a glass of wine - and a good blanket. You should never have to look for a blanket. And there should always be enough for everyone. No matter how many people are over. #important
5. BRASS, WOOD, WICKER, JUTE, FELT, STONE
Get to know these materials, because they should be woven through your home. Notice a common theme? They're natural or reflective of items in nature. They are made of natural colours, too. A great copper teapot, a teak buffet, a wicker chair with a cozy wool blanket, a jute plant hanger with creeping ivy, felt pillows, and an incredible set of stone serving trays. If you want to nest like a boss these items seriously need to resonate with you. You should be nodding right now.
6. IT NEEDS TO SMELL RIGHT
You guys. A stinky pad is the worst. If I can smell cat pee, everything about your cozy environment is negated. So make sure your place is clean, your garbages are emptied regularly, the litter box is emptied, and your kid has a fresh diaper. You definitely want your home to have a special scent. Simmer pots are a great way to fill a home with a cozy smell (oranges and cinnamon, cranberries and mint, vanilla) and of course, candles are always great. If you can remember they are lit, light them all the time. They're so cozy. They smell so good. Beeswax candles are the best, environmentally and fragrant-wise. Aromatherapy oils are also a good choice. But above all, just make sure it smells clean. No. Cat. Pee. When someone comes over and walks into your home with a soothed deep inhale, you know you're nailing it.
7. A TOUCH OF MAGIC
It's important to have personality while nesting. And while I love IKEA, no one wants a catalogue IKEA home. If you've collected items while travelling, give them a home on the mantle or a top a pile of thick books on your coffee table. These items should be special to you, unique, and conversation starters. My home is decorated with wooden bowls and crystals. There are suncatchers in the windows, dreamcatchers in my son's bedroom, and totems and mythical creatures framed on our walls. A touch of whimsy is important, because life should never be boring. Your home is your safe haven where you want nothing bad to happen - and I know you read those magical teen books that made you feel like life was more special. So have some things in your home that make your life feel more special. For me, it's crystals, woodgrain-everything, and incredible photographs of the True North. Since my son and husband are of Aboriginal decent, we try to incorporate things that are magically inspired from their culture as well.
8. THE RIGHT COFFEE MAKER, THE RIGHT WINE DECANTER
A Queen Nester knows how to make her guests feel welcome, and that is done by spare moccasins and always serving something. Water? It doesn't count. There are only two options: coffee or wine... depending on the time of day. Never serve wine from the bottle - give it a home in a luxurious thrifted decanter. No one should see the bottle of wine... that way you can get away with serving the affordable Barefoot wine series. And always have a spare bottle handy. You never know when someone might show up... because your home is so cozy it calls to everyone.
And in case it is before noon when said friend arrives, you need to master slow drip/chemex or French press coffee. Adding some nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice to your coffee beans is a nice touch (I'M GIVING MY SECRETS AWAY!). The experience of making fancy coffee is really nice too. AND it makes the house smell good. Refer to #6. I do recommend thrifting a really cool decanter, but shelling out the money for a good coffee system is worth it. Bonus points if it's brass, wood or stone. (#5)
There is something special about having a record player and a decent collection of records. I like the fact that you need to get up to flip the record here and there, keeping us mindful of the music playing. But if this isn't possible... or if getting up is just... too much (I get Mondays are the worst), you need to have a set of playlists available on your iPhone. Playlists are everything. They can totally influence the mood in your home. There should be different lists with different moods - because sometimes you need a dance party in your living room and sometimes you need a zen soundtrack for reading the paper on your porch.
10. YOU NEED A PLANT PET
A cozy nest needs to feel natural, and a plant is just the way to do this. Greenery helps keep the air in your home clean (important!) so make sure you have AT LEAST one, and make a relationship with it. Name it. You can't go wrong with a chunky snake plant - mostly because it's so resilient you can't really kill it. But adopting a chipper Fiddle Leaf fig or hanging a succulent in a jute hanger in your window is always nice. I would actually cry if my Monstera plant died. Adopt a plant pet. And make sure the pot is good. Also, EVERYTHING NEEDS A HOME. (#1)
* BONUS *11. YOUR ART MATTERS
I'm adding this one in because I just had a mini debate about it with my spouse - my token picture-hanger. So you get a bonus number added to this list. THE ART ON YOUR WALLS MATTERS.
It should be a reflection of who you are and what interests you. Do not hang pictures of you, your partner, friends - and heaven forbid, not your children. A giant face peering down at you while you chill in the living room is not cozy. It's not! And sorry: I don't care how cute your kid is. Mine is super cute, and he isn't on my wall. I know, I know. We alllll want to hang up pictures of our kids (I don't). Or hang our wedding pictures because we look amazing and it cost us a pretty penny.
Put that shit in an album. A cute album that sits on your coffee table. In its home! I can not stress this enough: artwork should be interesting, conversation starters, and inspire you every time you gaze upon it. Nesting like a boss means you don't have to look at photos of yourself or your family all day. Get those baby pics out of the living room.
Oh. You're mad. You're mad I insulted your wedding and your kid...
I STAND BY MY NESTING RULE. Your artwork is a great way to support striving artists, be that a friend of yours or a cool designer on Etsy. It shows your style! I like Kal Barteski, Shannon Montrose and Harry Diaz. You should know who you like, too! You should want to stare at the art on your walls all day.
And don't worry: you don't have to totally eliminate these memorable photos. You think I'd actually condone that? I have a son now! Put a little picture of your (cute) baby beside your bed or on your desk in a standup frame. Or sneak a little frame in a cozy corner vignette, so you get the warm fuzzies when you sneak a peek. These tender photos aren't meant for the walls. I make Derek keep a picture of the two of us on his bedside.
And for goodness sake, please don't hang your art too close to the ceiling. Art hanging is a skill. If you can't master it, befriend a token picture-hanger.