I have lived in some pretty bare houses with the cosy atmosphere of a cell. But today, I have an incredibly hygge home that has come together over the past 2 years. And I didn’t have to break the bank to style it and make it homely. So here are some things I’ve learned along the way, on how to have a cosy home without spending a lot of money.
When my partner and I moved into our unfurnished 2-bed place, we had almost nothing to our name; no furniture and no appliances. The first month of living here consisted of graciously accepting items passed over from friends and acquaintances. Almost everything in the house was second hand, but they were functional and that’s what we needed. Over time, we have been able to add to those things, replace some of them and make our place our own. The goal has always been to have a cosy home.
It’s not perfect, and there is still room for improvement. As we are renting, we can’t have hooks drilled into walls which limits our hanging options! But other than that, we have been able to customise the space nicely. Follow my tips below to help get your house feeling a little cosier.
A cosy home needs cosy lighting
The heat and light sources in a house determines how warm the place is, literally and atmospherically! Many will argue that the right lighting is the key to a cosy space. Warm yellow bulbs are the favoured option over cool white lights. To have a more homely feel, you want to avoid anything too bright. And it’s always a good idea to mix things up i.e. rather than only having the main ceiling lights for each room, incorporate sparkling fairy/string lights and cute lamps. Have some candles spread around too, this helps the ambiance with their flickering flame and dancing shadows.
For physical heating, a nice log fire is ideal, whether it’s open or closed. There is nothing better than the glow of the fire being thrown out on the living space, the warmth that radiates through the house, or the crackling noise that echoes from within. However, if we are being realistic, not everyone can have a real fire. So you have to work with what you have there, I’m afraid. Our heat pump does not add anything aesthetically, but it sure warms the house up effectively.
You can find lamps, candles and string lights at second-hand stores. In fact, lighting is probably one of the easiest thing to find at charity shops. There is also the option of houseware shops, where you may be able to find cheap yet charming variety of lamps.
Your choice in decor will determine how cosy your home is
This one is a hard one because decorating the home is not a “one style fits all” job. Ultimately, it comes down to your own vision of an ideal home. But there is still useful advice you could follow to help keep it on the cosy side. Like, try finding a happy balance between not having enough stuff, and having too much. You don’t want an empty home but at the same time, clutter is not cosy!
Simple, white-everything seems to be popular in modern houses, especially with minimalism being a trend, but gosh is it cold. Even if you have white and grey walls like I do, you can still warm the place up and make it more comfortable with the colourful accessories you put out. For a super cosy feel, stick to warm colours.
I’ve found that second hand items like a statement mirror, or little vases, do the trick well. Of course, the #1 cosy accessories are cushions and blankets! They are a no-brainer because they instantly add warmth and comfort to a space, no matter what colours you choose. Big and bright, or small and pastel rugs are a great idea too. And then think of quirky accents that you can add to the rooms; artistically beautiful books on shelves, inviting bed spreads that are aesthetically pleasing, lamps of all shapes and sizes, little figures of your favourite animal. These are all types of things that will turn a home into a hygge one.
You don’t have to go out to buy all of these kind of decor accessories at once. Take your time browsing second-hand stores, instagram vintage shops, facebook marketplace and online sites like ebay or etsy before you find a deal on something you love. My advice would be to think of the style and colours you’re going for, make a mood board of ideal home accessories, then wait it out… don’t buy for the sake of buying.
What makes a home cosy? Life!
Pets and plants can save a house from feeling desolate. I cannot imagine not having my two cats, they really liven up the place and make it a hygge home to me. They’re also fun and cuddly, what more could you ask for?
And the flora! The more plants, the merrier. For a nice and natural cosy effect, go for a mix of different big sprawling plants and hanging baskets. If you’re like me and struggle to keep plants alive, then succulents are the perfect option.
Trust me, I thought my place was cosy for the first year after moving in. But until a few months ago when my partner went and bought a whole load more plants, the house might have been a little bare before. They add so much feeling and colour.
Another way to really appreciate your space and add life to it is invite your favourite people over more. Having drinks, dinner parties, game nights, movie marathons or anything along those lines always makes a cosy home.
Of course, I’m not suggesting getting pets just for the fact that they will add personality and warmth to a house! They are members of the family, who over time, actually will need money invested to take care of them. You may find plants at charity shops, though – so go with the fauna for the cheaper and easier option *wink*. Any garden centre will supply these too, and it’s actually inexpensive just getting one plant at a time whenever you can afford it. As for having humans over, company is free, especially if you do a pot luck-type evening. All you need to do is host in your cosy space, without the expense!
Don’t forget about the smells
I always find it weird thinking about how each house has a different smell, and that people also smell like their home. I wander what mine smells like to others! Personally, I dislike chemicals and fragrance sprays, so I ditch those in an effort to have a healthier cosy home.
There are multiple ways of creating an enticing aroma in the house. Lighting sweet smelling (natural) candles is a good one. Baking breads or cakes, brewing coffee or steaming hot chocolate. Using diffusers, hydrosols or essential oils. Burning a fruity incense. Creating a heavenly potpourri on the stove. Displaying fresh flowers.
Having other non-smelling plants will also help, believe it or not. Though they may not give off strong aromas, plants help keep the air fresh and circulating better.
Small candles, especially tealights are easy to find and cheap. Again, you’ll probably have great luck in charity shops. Baking is relatively inexpensive, especially if you only need basic ingredients to make bread or cakes. Essential oils can be up there for the initial purchase of a bottle, as well as the diffuser, but for the amount of time they last, it works out to be a good investment. Hydrosols are on the cheaper side and can be sprayed on linens, furniture, carpet and curtains instead of harmful sprays.
Tip: Whatever you use, ensure that it is not harmful for you or your fur babies (if you have pets).
I hope all of this helps you figure out how to have a home with a more hygge feel to it. The important thing here is to work with the space and the budget you have, make it your own and don’t rush it. Your cosy home will come together over time, just as mine did. You’ll enjoy summer mornings with the sun seeping through the window and the smell of coffee and plants in the air, just as much as dark winter evenings with the candles flickering, toasty blankets wrapped around your feet and the smell of the steaming hot chocolate in your hands.
If there is one thing I have learned from gaining all that is needed to make a comfortable and enjoyable space, it’s that other people can be very helpful and generous. Ask around if you are looking for something; friends and family or strangers on social media. There are many facebook groups (e.g. “Broke Boho”) for home decor inspiration done cheaply out there too, and the members are always happy to help.
Where are you on your journey of transforming your house into a proper cosy home?