Image by Kelly Ishikawa.

Image by Kelly Ishikawa.

This month at T&W we’re sharing ideas to turn every room of the house into a Comfort Zone. But some of the things that make a home truly comfortable aren’t as easy to define, says Jessica Bellef.

Looking at images of beautiful homes is part of my job, where noting the latest trends and pinpointing the ‘it’ colour, furniture shape or material finish is the delightful task at hand. While this kind of research excites me (I have been known to Pin until dawn), the rooms with heightened levels of comfort really fascinate me because they’re often the result of an undefinable mix of elements. Like a big enveloping hug from a loved one, a comfortable home invites you in and makes it hard to leave. These spaces relax you, as if you have pulled on your favourite worn jumper or wrapped the softest blanket over your shoulders.

Mary Randolph Carter portrait by Carter Berg.

Mary Randolph Carter portrait by Carter Berg.

In Mary Randolph Carter’s 2010 book A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life, the author and Ralph Lauren style guru explains that “comfort is born out of use, therefore the most comfortable houses seem to be the ones that have been lived in.” Evidence of daily life isn’t hidden away behind sleek cabinetry – the shoes are piled at the front door awaiting their next adventure and stacks of books teeter on the bedside.

It’s the looseness that puts people at ease, an acceptance that you don’t live in a furniture showroom or a conceptual photo shoot. Dogs will shed hair and kids will draw on walls, it’s the reality of life. A comfortable home has character, reflective of the stories and experiences of the people who live there. Travel keepsakes and handmade objects are scattered throughout the rooms, collections are on display and the accoutrements of hobbies standby.

Image by Leela Cyd.

Image by Leela Cyd.

Conversation flows easily in a comfortable home, with floor plans and furniture arrangements that encourage social interaction. Sofas and armchairs are softly worn from years of use and guests quickly sink back into cushions soon after they arrive. Bar stools at a kitchen island let food prep and catch-ups happen simultaneously, and sofas that face each other rather than the television are perfectly set up for chats and board games that go into the wee hours.

A home’s comfort factor isn’t just about objects on shelves or art on the walls. Comfort is about the big warm welcome with which you greet your visitors, the sounds of laughter and good music playing and the smell of hearty food cooking. No matter what your interior style, it is these priceless elements that will truly make your home comfortable.

Image  by Carl Dahlstedt.

Image by Carl Dahlstedt.

My top ways to add comfort to your home

  1. Choose throws and cushions that feel good to touch.
  2. Display handmade objects and treasured collections.
  3. Arrange furniture in a way that encourages conversation and interaction.
  4. Laugh out loud, play music that makes you happy and surround yourself with people you love.

Shop The Comfort Zone: Dining Room here.

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