This post is sponsored by Arhaus.
Last week the weather around here finally changed, and it’s starting to finally feel like fall. I’ve been dreaming for months of curling up to read under layers of cozy blankets with a cup of hot tea, with candles burning and maybe a fire going, and that time is finally here.
We moved into a new-to-us old house last February. Late winter and early spring were unseasonably warm, so this is the first real opportunity we’ve had to get cozy around here. When Arhaus invited me to choose a few items to create inviting reading areas in our home I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I’m a longtime fan of their unique, high quality, well-designed home furniture and decor. Today I’m sharing some personal favorites and giving away a $500 Arhaus gift card to one lucky reader.
This decorating thing doesn’t come naturally to me; I wasn’t born with the gene that lets me instinctively know how to make my home inviting. But I’m not as hopeless as I used to be. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way, and today I’m sharing them.
It’s not hard, if you know what to pay attention to. And readers have an advantage, because establishing a dedicated reading area is one of the best ways I know to cozy up your home for fall. Want to set up your own? These are the 7 things I’ve learned to pay attention to.
1. Pick the right spot.
Maybe for you this means a sequestered corner or room; maybe it means the middle of the action. Pick what works for you. We fall into the latter category around here. Two favorite places for reading are right at the front of the house, in rooms we all spend a lot of time in: the living room, and the adjacent library.
2. Establish your foundation.
A substantial sofa, a plush wingback chair, an upholstered bench—these are the bones of your reading area.
If you love your foundation pieces, fantastic: it’s easier to build on a beautiful foundation. But back when I first moved out on my own, I loved the colder months because they were so forgiving to my furniture, which had seen better dayswhich had seen better days—especially our hand-me-down leather sofa that literally had giant gaping gashes in the cushions. In the summer, this was unfortunate, but in the winter we just layered on a few blankets and it looked beautiful and curl-up-able, gashes and all.
3. Make yourself comfortable.
Once your foundation is in place, add the elements you need to enjoy your reading area. Do you have someplace to set your cup of tea, or set down your book when it’s time to get a refill? Is the lighting good, or do you need to add a lamp?
At my house, we like versatile pieces that can be easily moved around as needed—a variety of small tables that can hold a glass of wine or propped-up feet or a tower of possible reading selections. I’m especially fond of this handwoven pouf that serves as a step stool to the higher library shelves, a comfy seat (especially for a kid), or a table for a handy tray, depending on the day.
4. Add interesting texture.
A variety of textures look inviting and feel cozy. The easiest ways to bring in texture for the cooler months are to choose accents that contrast with your foundation pieces, like this faux fur throw that looks like it’s begging to be touched draped on a shiny leather sofa, and pillows in a variety of textures and fabrics. Sometimes when a room feels “off,” thinking about the balance of matte versus shiny helps me right things.
5. Add a pop of color.
Some people love the look of a monotone palette, and I’m one of them—but I wouldn’t want to live with it everyday. I feel most at home when there’s a nice punch of color in every room, whether it’s a pretty vase, a pillow, a big bunch of flowers, or a great piece of art.
As a reader, I’ve always left books lying around for practical purposes, but I finally realized I could strategically use them to pretty up my home space as well. Whether you choose a single title or a big stack, those books add visual interest, a pop of color, and—if you choose them right—will make you happy every time you look at them.
6. A little (or a lot) of storage.
Choose smart storage that fits the needs of your space. Maybe that means a tall bookcase to store lots of books, or an end table with a shelf that can hold a few books-in-progress, or a concealed ottoman that can hold extra blankets and pillows.
I added a few durable baskets to our favorite reading areas this fall, and I love the way a simple basket full of books or blankets cozies up the space. The square living room basket holds books I want to read next; this round basket holds folded blankets, ready to be cuddled up with. The big library basket holds books in limbo—ones that I’ve pulled off the shelf (to loan to a friend, to talk about with one of my kids, to donate to the Little Free Library down the street) and ones I’ve previously pulled down that need to be re-shelved. The living room baskets have leather handles, and all are handwoven from Mexican palm leaves; they’re functional plus add great texture to the room. It’s a little thing, these baskets, but they make the room feel a little more friendly and a whole lot neater.
7. Signs of life.
Homes feel cozy and inviting when it looks like people actually live there, so work some signs of life into your decor—fresh flowers, houseplants, a poky little puppy. (We don’t actually think of Daisy as home decor, a dog curled up at my feet while I read sure does make me feel cozy.)
Light the candles. Don’t be afraid to leave a book lying on the coffee table; it’s evidence that there’s a human being somewhere nearby, and that’s a good thing.
Another good way to show signs of life is to live with the things you love, whether that’s a carefully selected stack of books, a funky succulent, a meaningful photo, or a pretty piece of pottery. Fill your home with things you love, and it will feel—and look—like home.
I loved perusing the Arhaus site and store, and wanted to share a few more favorites that I couldn’t squeeze into my home. Arhaus utilizes sustainable materials including recycled natural resources such as copper and stone. Additionally, Arhaus has held a long standing commitment to never use wood from endangered rain forests. Many of their pieces include functional elements like hidden table leaves, washable slipcovers, and construction made to last for generations.
I shared a few more of my Arhaus favorites on Pinterest: click here to see my inspiration board.
UPDATE: The giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified.
Today Arhaus is giving one lucky reader a $500 gift card to Arhaus to cozy up their home for fall. To enter to win, visit Arhaus here and comment back on this post with the link to one item you’d love to have. Giveaway ends Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. (Must be 18 to enter; Arhaus employees and their family members are not eligible.)