Ask any real estate agent which words tend to be red flags on listings, and one word will come up before you can even finish your question: cozy. It’s long been code for conveying how small (and, potentially, cramped) a home can be, but it seems attitudes toward the word are starting to change. When design service Modsy surveyed more than 1,500 people on the hallmarks of a well-designed home, one word was uttered the most: cozy.
So, what changed? Our entire view of our homes, thanks to the pandemic. As the world felt more uncertain than ever, we turned inward, craving a sense of sanctuary (just see the rising interest in creating spa-like bathrooms and escapist decor). “Just as the fashion world is all about coziness, with athleisure taking center stage for what we’re wearing, people are asking the interior design world to create environments that promote comfort as well,” Modsy explained in its 2021 Wellness Report.
We’re all looking for a place where we can feel at ease, so it’s fitting that the word “calm” was a close second as a sign of a well-designed space (followed by “organized” and “relaxed”). The challenge, though, is striking a balance between the two: How do you make a space feel comfy without looking cluttered? Or Zen without skewing stark? We have a few suggestions.