How To Be Cozy in the City and Cozy in the Country

Do not feel impeded by space constraints!

Much like beauty, coziness can be in the eye of the beholder. A city dweller with a small apartment in a downtown neighborhood might have a different concept of cozy than someone who lives in a large house in the country with plenty of greenery all around.

The good news is that, whether one lives in the city or the country—and whether they have a tiny studio or a giant guest magnet of a house—they can easily find ways to make their dwellings cozier places in which to, well, dwell.
Lyn Gottlieb, an interior design consultant and vice president of the Chicago-based Divas N’ Design Interior Design Group, and Chelsey Brown, head of the design blog City Chic Decor, shared their thoughts on just what curl-up design hacks exist for homeowners metropolitan to provincial.
Gottlieb noted that the idea of cozy can vary depending on who you ask. For that reason, she said, interior designers need to make sure they communicate clearly with customers in order to fully understand the homeowner’s interpretation of cozy. The idea of fuzzy blankets and fireplaces and bearskin rugs may not resonate with everyone, she said.
“That could be just completely out of the realm of what someone in the city wants to bring into their home to make it warm and fuzzy and cozy,” Gottlieb said.
One of the bigger challenges in creating a cozy space, according to Brown, is space restraints.
“The biggest difference is that it’s way easier to bring in ‘cozy’ into a country home,” Brown said in an email. “Since country homes usually have more space to work with, it’s easier to bring in multiple textiles and textures that instantly make a home feel ‘home-y.’ A city home is a bit more challenging, as there is usually less space to work with.
Having less space to work with means that the city dweller who lives in a smaller space needs to make sure they don’t make any changes to their home that could possibly make them feel more cramped, Brown said.
“Another differentiator is that, in a city home, you need to have a balance between cozy and open,” Brown said. “In a smaller space, it’s vital to keep your home feeling spacious and as large as possible. Too many cozy-like textures can make a space feel cluttered, dark and small. A few touches of leather and soft fabrics can instantly make your smaller space look cozy without giving up the illusion of space.”
Brown, who prefers to purchase home decor items online from vendors such as Amazon and Wayfair, noted that keeping a city rental home cozy, for example, can be challenging, but that it’s also not impossible.
“Textures such as leather, faux fur and velvet can instantly warm up a space and make it feel ‘home-y,’” Brown said in an email. “Additionally, layering rugs and pooling your curtains are another few tricks to making a space feel cozier.”
Also, city apartment living doesn’t mean anyone needs to conform to a specific style.
“Most people feel like they have to go 100% modern when moving into a city apartment, but that is so far from the truth,” Brown said. “You can easily mix modern with traditional in a smaller apartment while also bringing in the warm touches that you would normally get in a country home.”
A key to keeping that warm touch in a city home is lighting, Brown said. She recommends using bulbs that have a warm hue.
“Blue-toned bulbs will make a space instantly feel cold and uninviting,” Brown said.
Regardless of whether the space is in the country or the city, there are some universal tips that work well for both spaces. Brown noted that a leather chair and wood furniture are great options for small, rental spaces.
“These items will bring in the ‘cozy’ while still keeping the space looking modern and open,” Brown said.
Bottom line: Whether you are (the most adorable) country mouse or city mouse, there are ways to make your dwelling feel nice and cozy.