There’s something about living in a northern climate that makes us crave coziness. According to Oxford, cozy is defined as giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation. Our friends in Denmark (another country with cold, dark winters) use the term hygge to describe a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable (Merriam Webster) and a hygge lifestyle is about enjoying life’s simple pleasures. But a craving for coziness isn’t restricted to winter. Cozy spaces also appeal to us when it’s raining or when we’re ill or feeling down, for instance.

What makes a living area cozy? We think it comes down to spaces in which you feel safe and comfy, like you’re in a cocoon. Some cocoons are bigger than others, so it’s not always about the size of the room. Cozy feelings generally come from textures, colours, and styles that make us feel comfortable because they are familiar. Think of a favourite chair, or a vintage blanket, or your weekend jeans. Coziness is also enhanced by comfortable temperatures (not too hot or too cold). A cozy living area reminds us of a place where we felt contented, whether it’s someplace we’ve lived or a holiday location. How you add coziness to your living space will depend on your personal cozy touchstones. To help you pull those together into a living area, we have a few ideas to get you started.

Encourage relaxation and control temperatures with an electric fireplace

Napoleon’s Astound Flexmount can be installed just about anywhere, to create a cozy living area.

Who doesn’t want to sit next to a fireplace?! Whether you’re home alone, or entertaining friends, we all gravitate to fireplaces like moths to a lightbulb. Nothing screams ‘COZY’ more than a fireplace. With an electric fireplace, you can have a fireplace focal point anywhere in your home. All you need is power – no venting, no gas lines, no exterior wall. With widths from 23-inches to 100-inches, and depths as low as 4-inches, there’s literally an electric fireplace for every space. The best part? You can use an electric fireplace for ambience year-round. Flames may be operated with or without the heater. If you need heat, an electric fireplace can warm up a 400 to 800 square foot area, depending on the electrical connection. When the heater is on, the blower is automatically engaged, to circulate heat around your room.

Did you know that there is scientific evidence that sitting next to a fireplace is good for your health? Napoleon sponsored two different studies, one of which looked at the connection between fireplaces and relaxation. Although it seems obvious that fireplaces are relaxing, it’s good to have science to back up that claim. Sitting next to a fireplace, no matter whether it’s electric, gas or wood-burning, lowers your blood pressure and helps you to relax, which is good for you. You can read more about Napoleon’s Power of Fire studies on their website and on our blog.

Add architectural interest with natural stone and brick

Dimplex BFSL33 electric fireplace insert
Dimplex BFSL33 electric fireplace looks cozy surrounded by stone.

If your living area is a drywall box, you can add touchable texture and architectural interest by installing stone or brick veneers on at least one wall. It’s a natural addition to a fireplace wall, but even if you don’t have a fireplace, stone or brick can transform your plain-Jane room into a space that reminds you of a place you admire. If you love old buildings, reclaimed bricks have the patina that comes with having been used on actual buildings. There are also man-made brick veneers that can look old or modern, depending on your personal preference. Be careful to tie in the brick colour to any exterior brick you may have around the outside. And try to restrict the bricks to those walls where they may have reasonably been brick, like an outside wall or a fireplace. There are also paintable brick veneers, so you can create the illusion of a brick wall or fireplace that’s been painted over time. This way, you don’t have to match the existing outside brick colour; you can pretend you painted over it.  

If you prefer stone over brick, you can also get different effects, ranging from contemporary to rustic. Stone veneers are real stone, cut into pieces light enough to stick to the wall. This means they can go just about anywhere. Like brick veneers, you should consider stone veneers for walls where stone might reasonably have been carried to the interior, like a fireplace wall, or an entrance. Like brick, stone can remind you of buildings you’ve visited, or wished you could. There are rough stones reminiscent of farmhouses and villas, or more contemporary stones seen in luxury homes in magazines.

Both stone and brick veneers are ideal for fireplace walls. While electric fireplaces are zero-clearance, and don’t require non-flammable wall materials, they look even more authentic with a brick or stone surround.

Create an accent with a mantel ledge or floating shelf

Many modern fireplace walls are just that – a wall from floor to ceiling, with a fireplace set into it. There may or may not be a TV hung above the fireplace. If your wall has architectural interest from stone or brick, that may well be enough to be inviting. If you have a plain wall that needs some interest, a floating shelf, or group of shelves, may work for you. They don’t require a huge investment, and they create little areas of interest, where you can display those mementos noted below. If it’s a fireplace wall, the mantel shelf can be the defining feature, especially when the wall is bare.

Incorporate important mementos and treasures

Fireplace wall with cabinets full of personal treasures
This custom fireplace wall features treasured art from years of travel.

Surrounding yourself with photos of friends and family, or favourite mementos, is another great way to create a cozy living area that reflects you. These items make your space more personal, and is more likely to instill a feeling of comfort for you. Be careful not to overdo it, though. While your guests will enjoy being in a space that is interesting and unique to you, too many personal references could be uncomfortable for them. The trick is not to veer into hoarding territory. Everyone defines ‘clutter’ differently; some folks like more ‘stuff’ than others. You just don’t want to create a space that’s so cluttered that it makes even you uncomfortable. And, you don’t want to have so much stuff that others can’t share the space with you without moving your treasures out of the way.

Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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