five steps to a cozy bedroom

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I'm allowing myself to be a bit cocky for this post, so bear with me:

I like to think I'm somewhere in the royal family of coziness. Hygge was my thing long before Meik Wiking's book became popular in the U.S. and, honestly, before the reasonable age at which a person should even care that much about home design. I was that little girl who not only watched HGTV constantly and who made her parents take her to the Parade of Homes every year as an elementary school student.

So, it's safe to say I can make any room into a cozy haven and I've developed a little formula that anyone can use to do the same! 

STEP ONE | developing a color palette
This is where you'll choose 3-5 colors as the palette from which you'll be making decisions going forward. My suggestion is to 1-2 neutrals, 1-2 accent colors, and one metallic. Your accent color doesn't necessarily have to be the 'pop of color' you hear about. Feel free to do so, but if you're going for cozy, I tend to think a fully neutral palette is the move.

In my bedroom, the color palette is white, dove gray, burnt orange, and gold. Some easy color palette choices are white, navy, gray, and mint or white, blush pink, gray, and hunter green but you can take this in many different directions.

Typically, you will use this palette and choose your design pieces in layers. Your neutral will likely be the color for most of your big pieces (in my case, I have white walls and white bedding). Then, you layer in smaller pieces in your next neutral (dove gray nightstands and painted mirrors) and your accent color (burnt orange desk chair). Your metallic will be used for small accents and accessories (gold wishbone object, gold door handle). 

STEP TWO | adding texture
Once you have your broad color palette chosen, you can create depth by adding texture using blankets, textiles, baskets, and artwork. For instance, all of my bedding is white but I used large fur pillows and small embroidered throw pillows to create layers of texture. Since it's all the same color, it'll look interesting but still very luxe. Continue adding texture using throw blankets (faux fur, nubby knits) and even artwork like textured paintings using your color palette. An example of this is a painting I created for my room which is simply colorblocked sections of metallic gold, beige, peach, and navy.

STEP THREE | choosing multiple light sources (fairy lights, glowing low light, overhead light)
Lighting is a crucial element to making your space look cozy and put together. You likely already have an overhead light and a source of natural light, so start by playing with these. I tend to keep the overhead light off at all times because of its harshness and I like to diffuse the natural window light with gauzy, white curtains.

Next, you'll want to add in a couple of additional light sources like a glowing bedside table lamp, fairy lights, and of course, candles. This light layering technique will allow you to set a couple of different cozy moods by mixing and matching which ones you have turned on.

STEP FOUR | mixing old and new
You know how French women always talk about mixing items that are new and items that are vintage/heirlooms? The same goes for creating a cozy bedroom space. Whether you're shopping on a West Elm or IKEA budget, this is definitely possible.

If you have a smaller budget, you could get your bed and desk from IKEA, then refurbish a pair of thrift store side tables and add in small, vintage accent items you found at an antique store or that were given to you by a grandparent. A pricier option would be to splurge on an antique headboard and then keep the rest of the space clean, modern, and new. Either way, it's just keeping with the concept of old vs. new or, as they say in fashion, high vs. low. 

Using my room as an example: I have a custom-designed IKEA desk (not as fancy as it sounds, you can mix and match pretty much anything in their office section) and simple white bedding from Target. I paired those things with refurbished side tables and mirrors plus several pieces of handmade artwork done by myself or friends and little accents I've picked up from boutiques or Anthropologie.

STEP FIVE | using layers of fragrance
This final step isn't one most people often consider a part of the design process, but it's so important to creating a cozy, serene atmosphere. Layer your fragrances! Select whichever fragrance family (woody, citrus, floral, etc.) most appeals to you---note that it doesn't have to be a traditionally 'cozy' scent like vanilla, it's just whatever makes you feel happiest. Then, pick out candles, room sprays, sheet sprays, and wallflower plugins in scents from that fragrance family. 

This can also change by the season. In the cooler months, I'm a big fan of warm, woody scents so I'll have a Byredo Bibliotheque candle burning, paired with a vanilla wallflower, a waffle-scented room spray from Bath & Body Works, and then a lavender sheet spray to add a bit of freshness. In the summer, I'd probably do a Volcano candle with a coconut wallflower and room spray. 

Those are my biggest tips for creating a cozy bedroom and trust me, they work! Anytime someone walks into my bedroom, they mention how serene and cozy it feels immediately after passing through the door. And you really don't have to spend a lot of money to achieve it! Just take your time and think things through as you decorate and be sure to keep the space very clean and uncluttered.