Do you have any tips on making large spaces feel comfy and cozy?

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By: Nick NunnsCC BY 2.0
My husband and I just bought our very first house together. It’s an amazing, and terrifying experience. We are almost done with the remodeling process, and are moving in soon.

The house is HUGE at 3077 square feet. But we’ve always lived in small places. The rental we’re moving out of is 550 sq ft. I have no idea what to do with so much space. What little furniture we have is apartment-sized.

Do you have any tips on making large spaces feel comfy and cozy, but not cluttered? I’d appreciate any advice you can give me. –Toni

Comments on Do you have any tips on making large spaces feel comfy and cozy?

  1. Try hanging a quilt or tapestry on the wall. It will take up a lot of space and add a lot of color easily. And as you fill your space with more furniture you can easily take it down.

    Also area rugs can anchor your furniture into a defined area, like a room within a room.

    • Area rugs are the best! We have a VERY large living area on our lower level and use about half of it for our actual family room and the 2nd half is more a workout area. We have a large rug over the family room and then have two sofas at right angles with the back of one towards the workout space. This creates a more comfortable space within a space.

  2. I think a huge part of what will work for you is how you define cozy and comfortable. I’m at ease with a sparsely furnished room and white walls as long as the couch feels good under my butt and I have a ton of plants or artwork throughout my home.

    You might prefer to paint the walls a warm color to make the rooms feel cozier. Or, you could invest in some furniture that isn’t just comfortable, but visually takes up space (if not literally). Some of my friends like to have one wall occupied by bookshelves because that tends to signal the room is a place for introverts. Some bold or dramatic curtains could help, too.

    Good luck and congratulations!

  3. Agreed on the fabric tip above! Curtains can help with that too! Also, we built wall shelving into one corner and it really helped maximize the vertical space while also filling it. And pull things in from against the walls, resist the urge to line a big room with tiny furniture, it’s okay to have some empty space behind a couch or table or whatever.

  4. I think part of it also is coming up for a use for that space. My husband and I live in a 3/1 house. We use the bathroom, two bedrooms, and the kitchen. That’s it. So obviously we turned the extra bedroom into a guest room. Then what do I do with the family room and dining room? I didn’t want furniture we wouldn’t use because then it would just because a catch-all for clutter and I’d constantly be trying to keep it clean. I turned one room into a library/storage room. I put up a bunch of bookcases and shelving units so it looks like it’s full o’stuff on purpose. The family room is pretty much just full of furniture we don’t use. It’s a work in progress lol.

    So use the big house as a chance to explore things you want to dedicate space to. A gaming station? A craft room? A library? A BDSM dungeon? Find uses for space and then find things that you like that fill that use.

  5. I found that big lush rugs (try flokatis or nubbly wool rugs), giant throw pillows (or floor pillows, those are awesome!) and curtains really help create a warmer cozier environment in larger spaces. If you have rooms that are too big for one use, dedicate two complimentary uses for them and arrange your furniture as such. Textiles are a huge helper in defining comfy and cozy. Oversized knit throws, etc.

    I don’t have a super big house, but I love big chairs that can fit two people. They are so comfy cozy! I wouldn’t buy a lot of them, but rather one per sitting area. That way you fill the space, but don’t overwhelm them.

    I once saw a house with a hammock hung inside the living room. Awesomesauce! I wish I had room for that!

    If you have lot’s of natural light in your house, you can maybe experiment with darker coloured walls in certain rooms in order to heighten the comfy factor. And then use your textiles to bring in bright focal points of colour.

    Big pieces of art will help draw focus to certain areas and points as well. I would stay away from small pictures unless you do a giant gallery wall, or keep them contained to the smaller rooms. Small art in a big room tends to showcase how large the room is, and makes it feel airier.

  6. I second (third? fourth?) the above comments about changing up what you use the rooms for. My roommates and I had a similar situation. We all moved from small student housing/apartments into this huge 4 bedroom house together. It was easier to fill the space with stuff (6 people bring a lot with them) and to organize it all, but we had rooms like a formal living room and a random small room off the master bedroom that we didn’t know what to do with. Solution: formal living room is a mega office with each of our desks in it with our little work areas when we need them, and we turned the random room into a library/music nook. As for making it cozy, it definitely depends on your definition, but we LOVE our blankets and pillows thrown over and piled around our couches in the living room.

  7. We had a similar issue with space when we moved in here – but we had a bed and a hand-me-down couch and that’s it furniture-wise. Six years later, we have four distinct areas in the living room – the wet bar (already built in when we move in, but we added stools), the work out area (weight bench and adjustable dumbbells), dart area (mounted board, line, etc), and TV area (couch, chair and a half, earth toned rug, coffee table, TV, numerous gaming systems, bluray player, etc). That’s worked well for me.

    What my parents did with their place (and lack of offices) was buy two sided bookcases from a store that was closing down and arrange them to create “rooms” within their very open home.

  8. On the other side of that coin, don’t feel like you have to fill up all that space NOW.

    I’m facing this exact same thing – moving from a one bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom home later this month, and while I’ve got plans for every single inch of space, if I did even 10% of those things right away, I’d be broke in about 5 min.

    When I rush to buy things, I tend just buy anything I like – instead if I take my time I find pieces I like better, that all fit together cohesively.

    So my advise is to just give yourself as much time and space as you need.

    • I second the advice to hold out on some purchases until you find something you love.

      As I’ve gradually moved into larger and larger living spaces, I can spot the home furnishings I bought because the room looked empty versus because I WANTED IT SO BAD. Most of the things I bought to fill empty space haven’t stood the test of time – through the moves, I’ve culled them and either sold them or given them away because I didn’t feel any emotional attachment to them.

      In our new home, our living room is almost double the size of our old living room, and I’m actually enjoying looking at the empty wall and wondering what I’ll put there. It’s fun to browse craigslist for old solid-wood bookcases and tables. Eventually I’ll find something that’s “just right”, but for now I’m enjoying the waiting.

  9. My front door opens directly into the living room. The room has 10 ft. ceilings, which dwarfed my furniture, and it never felt “cozy,” or like a space we wanted to hang out in. A friend made a comment once about considering the function of the room and that it should be conducive to conversation; it was kind of a baskets moment for me. So I created two separate areas in the living room– the “entry/traffic” zone and the “hang out” zone. It’s not a gigantic room, but making a landing pad for incoming traffic on one side and putting the seating area on the other immediately carved out a “cozy,” comfy space to hang out in. (I did need to re-evaluate my furniture and get rid of a couch that had never fit the room) It feels so much better now. I could see it working in a larger space, by defining distinct areas, with rugs, art, plants, bookshelves, etc, as others have suggested, and grouping your furniture to make it feel more intimate within the larger space.

    • Agreed! Split oddly large rooms into two! Our living room is a little too big for us as is, so we put the couch in the middle as a divider to make the couch side the living room and the other side is our library/clearly defined hall to the rest of the apartment.

  10. I love having plants in all of my spaces. You can get large house plants like lianas, spider plants, or a corn plant. If you’re into plants that double as security, select something prickly (cacti, grapefruit, roses) or poisonous (crown of thorns).
    But if you have pets, steer clear of lilies and poinsettias – I am particularly fond of plants that pets are allowed to eat, like cat grass, cat nip, or clover. An indoor herb garden is also a nice touch, and you can enjoy fresh herbs year-round, I like lemon balm because it is also nice to make cozy tea with.

  11. GIGANTIC ARTWORK!!! Our home is about 1400 sq. feet which is more than enough for us 2 humans and 3 cats, except when it comes to artwork. The ONLY time I ever think I want more space, is so I’ll have room for bigger artwork!

  12. Beautiful painted folding divider screen thingies! If you’re not into buying one or you’re not into the styles you find, you can find tutorials online for how to make them.

  13. I read and loved the advice to “avoid the dancehall look” meaning “don’t put every single piece of furniture right up against the wall.” Float your couch in the middle of a room, find cool end tables/coffee tables/ottomans/footstools to give some function and definition to your seating areas, set your TV or china hutch at an angle to make things interesting and take up a bit of space.

    Our living room felt absolutely cavernous when we first moved in to our house – it’s completely open to the kitchen and the combined area is almost as big as our last apartment. But once we put in a couch with a chaise longue attached, the living room became visually separated from the eating area and the whole thing feels cozy.

  14. We did basically the same thing in January. We moved from a maybe 600 square foot apartment into a 2400 square foot 100 year old house. It felt huge! At first, we didn’t really use the front bedroom, but now it’s storage for all our tools and projects; it’s supposed to be a guest room and now that we have a bed for it I guess we’d better get it cleaned out. We also didn’t use one of the living rooms… then we switched and didn’t use the other living room… but now we use both for different things – one is TV and family room, the other is computer, games and more quiet space. It really didn’t take as long as I thought it would to get used to the space (I walk a LOT more during the day doing stuff now) and to give spaces purpose. Once the space has a purpose, it’s pretty easy to fill it, either with purchases or hand-me-downs.

    Relatedly, invite people over to see your huge, empty house and be amazed at how much furniture and stuff they want to get rid of and give to you. We had to start turning stuff down.

    Anyway, that would be my best advice – give a space a purpose and then practice doing those specific things there. Figure out what you need to make the space work for what you want to do in it, rather than making it look pretty and then later realizing it’s not functional.

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