I think cozy very well might be my favorite word. Although we appreciate and adhere to simplicity and minimal decor at home, cozy is the word that comes to mind when setting out to decorate each nook and cranny. If it’s not warm and inviting and doesn’t feel like a hug, we don’t care to have it here. This is why cozy comes first, comfortably taking its place before minimal in the decorating line up, because if you start with something too simple and too unadorned, the vibe you might unintentionally be creating is one that feels boring, bare and bleak. Minimal with attention to detail is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It is these intentional acts that add charm and personality to your home, and is what makes it a place unlike any other out there, because it was created and crafted by YOU!
This post is to show you that there is an easy and affordable way to create a space that is both simple and cozy. You can practice restraint in your home and still make it a place that feels like a cottage nestled up in the hills in the countryside.
10 Steps To a Cozy & Simple Kitchen:
- Add antique art. We have been collecting antique art for years and years and have some of our favorites displayed here in the kitchen. My grandparents, and great-grandparents even, had their plaster walls adorned with some of the very art we have here in our home. Knowing that they looked at the same pictures we look at while chopping and stirring makes me the happiest. When set against neutrals, antique art pops. It is given a place to shine and adds warmth to any space. I found these beautiful old still life paintings of fruit at a flea market here in Kansas City for five dollars a pair. Five bucks! They are worn and tattered and too darn perfect. The muted tones add so much depth to this space while not making things feel too garish. Antique art will always be a staple in our home.
- Put a tiny lamp on the counter. I found this gem at a thrift store back when I was pregnant with Stella hoping for a sweet nursery light. Since then, I have moved it about a dozen places (probably more than that to be fair) and think it fits perfectly under our cabinets right here. I love turning it on the in the early mornings while making coffee or when days are dreary and bleak, like today. I used an Edison light bulb to really give this space a glow, a nifty trick for you. In fact, almost all our light bulbs are of the Edison variety. The glass base with this particular lamp really shines when it’s turned on and yet it doesn’t take up hardly any room. Such a lovely addition to our kitchen, I think, and if I recall I spent two dollars on that lamp base. Score!
- Layer your neutrals. I have talked about the wonder of layered neutrals, whites specifically, before in this post, and I cannot emphasize it enough when it comes to decorating. Layering shades of whites and creams and browns and grays is the one way you can achieve cozy while still keeping things simple. Our walls are white, our cabinets are cream, our chairs are light brown, and the old floorboards are a honey color. We’ve got a beautiful wood butcher block which adds a natural material to anchor the room, white giving off an air of warmth. We’ve got wood bowls and baskets, all found from thrift stores, nestled in on countertops and on shelves. Intentional layering turns a space into a magical one, but make sure to keep the color pallet one that is on the lighter side so you maintain a feel that is both clean and airy.
- Pay attention to the light fixtures. I cannot take credit for this one because our good friends renovated this beautiful space before we moved in. Weird, huh? We are friends with the previous owners! Their choice of lighting was superb and is one of my very favorite things about our kitchen. The fixture over the breakfast nook is an old bakery whisk and the pendants over the island are schoolhouse fixtures found from Home Depot. We knew when we saw this house for the first time that this kitchen would be the inspiration for the rest our home with regard to simple yet cozy decorating. Paying attention to details such as lighting makes all the difference in a space and doesn’t have to be expensive. Since moving in here we have removed all the lighting (minus the antique chandelier in the dining room) and replaced it with fixtures that echo the 1920’s. Doing so has transformed each room and has helped us put our stamp on this home.
- Keep your countertops clear of clutter. While we have a big ol’ kitchen island, I like to keep it clear everything other than a small vase for flowers and maybe a candle. This is a general rule we follow to help keep our home clutter free and relatively clean. When you have things stacked on countertops it just looks dirty even though it may not be so. Being very selective with what you choose to display is important when wanting your space to be a simple one. Go ahead and take all the stuff off your countertops and see how clean your kitchen now looks! Seriously, it’s a game-changer, folks.
- Light candles and diffuse oils. The glow of a candle and the smell of essential oils diffusing is, for lack of a better word, essential in our kitchen. I love the flicker of the tiny flame and the smell of botanicals purifying our air. For the most part I burn beeswax candles, but if I cannot get my hands on one I like, I opt for soy. When it comes to diffusing oils the combinations are endless, and I add around 6 drops per 4 hour diffusing session. Some of my favorite ones for the kitchen are:
- Thieves + Cinnamon
- Purification + Lavender
- Lemon + Pine
- Rosemary + Orange
- Geranium + Balsam Fir
- Eucalyptus + Peppermint
- Bring fresh flowers indoors. About once or twice a week we replenish all the flowers in our home with blooms from the garden or market. If you have space, even room for a little pot, I suggest you grow your own flowers in the spring and summer months. We grew all of our flowers from seed starting in pots and I transplanted them later on in spring. It’s really special to be able to step outside into the fresh air and snip a flower for your table. Sometimes all you need is one bloom in an old apothecary bottle to really make a statement. I specially love the look of that yellow sunflower in the amber bottle.
- Display practical items in a beautiful way. The Shakers knew a thing or two about practical, well-made, simple design. Their philosophies surrounding the home are ones I both respect and admire, because pairing down and doing things well takes time and dedication! Their peg rack invention was genius. Being a homemaker and stay at home mama, I appreciate having items we use all the time within reach stored in a lovely way. Peg racks and little shelves help make this possible. And while you’re at it, start swapping out cheap cleaning tools and other household items for ones that are more durable and mindfully made. Wood brushes are old fashioned are still around for a reason, they are wonderful! I am going to be doing a post on all my cleaning tools later on this month for you!
- Add no-sew cottage curtains. You can read about how to do this little craft right here. These linen curtains took about ten minutes to make and I adore them. They add cozy in a flash.
- Go antiquing! Go thrifting! Head to your local flea market! Our kitchen is full of items that have had another home. The old furniture in our breakfast nook, the schoolhouse chalkboard we use for quotes and meal plans, almost all the mugs and kitchen tools, our wood-framed art, and little accents old wire baskets, really give our kitchen heaps of charm. Also, old furniture is way better made than anything made by a machine. I cannot tell you how many times we purchased something at a big-box store for a quick fix without waiting to find the perfect antique piece and we ended up donating said item or even worse, throwing it out because it broke. Sad. Over time we have learned to practice patience and purchase items we love from places that celebrate the wear and tear of old beauties. And because there are so many pieces in our kitchen that you simply cannot find made by manufactured and commercialized stores, it makes this space feel unique to us, and therefore, a treasure to our family. Pieces found at flea markets not only make your space beautiful with respect to their patina, but also helps weave a meaningful story into the fabric of your home.
I hope this post gives you some ideas and helps inspire how you go about decorating the heart of your home. Happy weekending! x Amanda