Cozy at Home

There are scientific benefits to feeling cozy, and that starts at home. What makes a house feel like home? What makes a space feel cozy? According to the experts, the way our homes look can directly affect how we feel. While we all differ in our preferences and tastes, there are some overarching design trends that may be more likely to make you feel a bit closer home.

The Research

The Johns Hopkins International Arts + Minds Lab is working to advance our understanding of neuroaesthetics and our biological response to art, dance, music and architecture. At Milan’s annual international furniture fair, the Salone de Mobile, top designers share current trends in interior design and architecture. During the 2019 exhibition, Johns Hopkins University researchers asked visitors to put their phones away and observe three separate rooms without talking. Each space consisted of a curated mix of furniture, textiles and sensory elements.

Visitors were given wristbands, monitoring different biomarkers, such as heart rate. Though the study was unable to pinpoint exactly why we feel homeliness during the holiday seasons, it did uncover how individual and cultural tastes can help researchers better understand the brain, which can help individuals achieve better health outcomes. 


As for which color creates the feeling of coziness, there is not an exact answer. Based on effects on heart rate, blues and cool tones may encourage relaxation, whiles reds and warm tones may evoke warm, happy feelings. Choosing a neutral aesthetic, including chocolate brown, mossy green and caramel, results in a feeling of closeness to nature.

Generally, tones like brown, tan and taupe feel coziest, they feel comforting. Adding in a few subtle colors, such as navy or olive, can elevate your palette. Earthy shades work best in shared living spaces, where friends and family gather to feel a sense of togetherness. Maybe it’s a woven basket, a wooden frame, a ceramic vase, it’s up to you.


Smooth textures, like velvet, fur and silk, can create the feeling of happiness. Let’s talk about layering rugs. For an optimal, cozy feel, choose a rug with a raised pattern or shaggy pile for the base layer. Next, add a smaller, patterned or textured rug on top. To your seating area, sdd in a mix of pillows and blankets with different textures, maybe chunky knit or woven fabrics.

Add dimension and warmth to any room with a textured wall covering, like a patterned wallpaper or a textured paint finish. Then, bring in the nature. Enhance the feeling of comfort with a wooden coffee table, a stone fireplace or woven décor. Creativity is key here, you can mix and match as you choose.

Color Temperature

Studies show that holding something warm makes people feel compassionate toward others. When you are wrapped in a warm blanket, do you usually feel at ease? On the contrary, when you walk into a sterile doctor’s office, do you feel comforted? Probably not. Too much warm light may result in a room feeling stuffy, while too much cool light can feel a lot like that doctor’s office.

To simplify it, a warm, yellowish light creates the perfect cozy atmosphere. Especially when the sun has set and it’s time to decompress for the day, this hue is the recipe to unwind.


It is easy to feel distracted and lonesome in large, empty spaces. Void of nature, there is not much for your senses to process. Using textures and acoustic materials, like carpets and upholstery, will serve to absorb the echo. Add natural ambiance to your space with a white noise machine or a smartphone app. Who doesn’t feel coziest listening to the rain?

Feeling at ease is not rocket science, but there is a science to it! With a few minor changes, your home is the calm oasis you’ve always wanted to return to.