Divide the room visually
One of the simplest ways to create a more intimate feel is by breaking your room down into smaller zones. This is less daunting than trying to design one huge space. For instance, if your living space doubles as a kitchen/diner, create different areas for each activity. The cooking zone could have different flooring, lighting or paint and you could use furniture to define dining and relaxing areas. Freestanding shelf units are great for this purpose. Try Dwell for a great contemporary selection. If you want to incorporate a study zone into a bedroom, fabric panel dividers are a modern way of doing this. Take a look at The Fabric Box for inspiration.
Choosing the right furniture
For a feeling of unity, make sure all wooden furniture is in the same tone. Darker woods such as walnut and oak look warmer than light coloured timbers. Size is important too. Look for large-scale statement pieces which will complement the dimensions of the room. Fill your bedroom with a sleigh bed and a beautiful French armoire rather than a jumbled assortment of smaller pieces. Arranging the furniture needs thought too. Don’t position sofas and armchairs in a formal row along a wall or in an L shape. Seating looks much more inviting arranged in little groups and informal shapes. Try placing a chest diagonally across a corner to soften the angle and make a room feel cosier.
Give the room a focal point
This will help draw the eye in. If you don’t have a fireplace and real fire, fake it with the latest electric and gas fires which are available in some amazingly funky styles. Take a look at B&Q who stock both hearth and wall-mounted designs. Woodburners are fashionable at the moment too. Alternatively, create a feature wall by using a life-size mural, dramatic wallpaper, or paint effect.
Go wild with colour
Creating optical illusions with paint is a clever trick. To make a ceiling look lower and therefore cosier, paint it in a slightly darker tone than the wall colour. You can enhance this effect by continuing the slightly darker shade down to picture rail level.
In small spaces, vibrant hues can dominate, taking over the room but you can get away with almost anything in a larger space. Go to town with naturally warm colours that will create a zingy glow. Sunny yellows, terracotta, aubergine, jade, wine, mustard, scarlet, olive, all will work well. Stark whites are too sterile and keep clear of any shade with cool undertones. Wallpaper often has a warmer feel than paint, especially if you choose textured and patterned designs. Large walls can also take large scale motifs, so be bold!
Get the right lighting
Good lighting is vital in setting the mood of a room. But you’ll need more than a single overhead light fitting which on its own can feel a bit depressing. Instead, get creative with lamps that will generate soft pools of light around your room. If possible, think about having lamps on different levels – a combination of tall freestanding lights interspersed with wall and table lamps will introduce a feeling of intimacy. And don’t forget dimmer switches!
Clever window dressing
Curtains are unrivalled for upping the comfort factor. On chilly winter days, nothing looks warmer than a pair of beautifully thick curtains cascading onto the floor. They’ll help keep draughts at bay too. In warm shades, Roman blinds can work well too especially in lustrous textured finishes. Try Hillarys for contemporary chenilles and flocks, or make a style statement with colourful shutters – the newest fashion trend – perfect for tall windows. Click through to Santa Fe to see a wide selection.
The finishing touches
Probably the easiest way to cosy up a room is with accessories. Shop around for tactile soft furnishings in different textures. To transform a chilly bedroom, cover the bed with luxe furry throws and team with a deep pile, supersoft rug on the floor. Or layer up a sofa with piles of hand-knitted cushions. Opt for strokable fabrics like chenille, mohair, velvet and wool but avoid silk, polyester and anything shiny that feels cold.