Your new lake home is your haven. It should welcome you every time you walk in the door. To do that, you need to make your home cozy. Yes, in real estate speak, cozy usually signifies “small”, but we’re talking ambience here, not size.

You don’t need to completely redecorate to make your home cozy. You just have to make it feel warm, comfortable, and inviting. It’s doable in just about any space, if you follow some basic ideas.

#1. Warm it up.

When you say “cozy”, people often think of a crackling fire in the fireplace on a cold day. But if you don’t have a fireplace or if the temperature doesn’t need a blast of heat, you can still utilize warmth to cozy up a room. Shift from cool colors, like blues and greens—to warmer ones, like earthy tones and autumn hues. Accessorize with the same theme—wood instead of shiny chrome or slick black. Use woven baskets for storage or accents, and earthen pottery instead of crystal, china, or other delicate materials. And even though the weather may be too hot for a roaring fire, it’s never too hot to light some candles to warm up the atmosphere.

#2. Set up a nook

A nook provides a cozy, intimate space where you can enjoy some peaceful time. Maybe you create a reading corner with a comfy chair, side table and a collection of books. Or you have a small parlor setting, with just a table and one or two chairs, where you can languish over a cup of tea or coffee. You can set up a nook anywhere that you can make space to indulge your private moments.

#3. Sink in.

A cozy room is furnished with pieces that make you want to sit or lie down for hours on end. Choose an overstuffed chair with a matching ottoman, a couch with plump pillows that say, “put your head here”, and accessories that encourage you to get comfy and stay awhile—like a stack of books or magazines, a chess or backgammon board set up and ready to play, and a soft lap throw to snuggle under.

#4. Soften up the flooring.

From hardwood or laminate to ceramic tile, a floor can underscore your room in a big way when it’s uninterrupted from end to end. Add an area or throw rug here and there to accentuate spaces (like the aforementioned nook). The splash of color and texture will instantly make your room cozier.

#5. Turn down the lights.

Switch your bulbs from cool to warm light. Install dimmers on your lighting so you can reduce the brightness. Use table lamps and wall sconces instead of overhead lighting. And light up some candles for the warm glow that gives a cozy feeling unlike any other!

#6. Tidy up.

A cozy space is free of clutter. You don’t need starkness. Just remove the excess. A few books or magazines are better than a large stack. Minimize the items on display to reduce distraction. Choose those decorative pieces—photos, sculpture, art, accents—that make you feel especially happy and relaxed.

#7. A blooming pleasure

There’s nothing like a vase of flowers to give a room that cozy sense of place. You don’t need an expensive arrangement. A vase, pitcher, bowl, or other container filled with colorful blooms is a small investment with many happy returns.

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