5 Non-Negotiable Home Comforts Interior Designers Can't Live Without — "They Make a Home You Can Curl Up In"

Designers agree that these five key elements are non-negotiables for comfort in the home

A bedroom with added accent lighting for added comfort
(Image credit: Doublespace. Design: Barbora Vokac Taylor)

When designing and furnishing a home, it's easy to get sidetracked by the latest design trends and the look and feel of a room, but enduring comfort should always be your number one priority.

'Comfort comes from having space that you can curl up and unwind and spaces that rejuvenate you during the day. Think Hygge,' says Shelagh Conway, principal and founder of Austin-based Triple Heart Design. 'It literally means content and comfortable.'

So when it comes to creating a cozy home, what are the factors you should always focus on to ramp up the comfort? We've spoken to the designers to find out their non-negotiables for creating a comfortable modern home.

1. The perfect cozy seating

A living room with slouchy beanbag

(Image credit: Lisa Cohen. Design: Kim Kneipp)

First up, a proper couch or seating that focuses your living room and provides a comfortable spot for unwinding at the close of each day is a non-negotiable.

'We adore a love seat - a modern-day version of the settee,' says Nina Grauer of Dekay & Tate. 'This type of sofa is a more compact, cozier size in that it is typically fit for two people, but can even work well for just one. Some love seats are almost like oversized club chairs, whereas other love seats can function more like mini sofas.'

They are great for small living rooms, in front of windows where you may not have room for a large sofa, or, even in very large spaces that need another form of seating but cannot handle another full-sized sofa.

Sectionals have become so much more popular in recent years in large part as a response to the way we are living now, points out Georgia Zikas of Georgia Zikas Design. 'With the amount of time we spend at home, comfort and versatility is key - not to mention room to lounge,' says Georgia.

Sectionals offer all of those features, and can even double as storage or extra sleeping space if they house a pull-out bed. 'These workhorse sofas truly deliver so much bang for their buck, and in this day and age, you can get gorgeously stylish sectionals that complement your overall design,' says Georgia.

In this example by designer Kim Kneipp, a strategically positioned bean bag in the corner of a living area becomes a cozy spot for rainy mornings and reflective reading.

2. Clever integrated tech

A living room with hidden TV disguised as a canvas

(Image credit: Montse Garringa. Design: Cuaik CDS)

The way your tech integrates into your space is important to create comfort too. Integrated tech that feels seamless is best - think side tables with USB charging ports that reduce the need for extension cords draped across a living room and consider clever ways to hide away messy cables that can create visual clutter.

'Remove any distractions that could keep you awake or cause stress, like work-related items and yes, the TV too,' says Joshua Smith, principal and founder of Joshua Smith Inc.

In this example by Cuaik CDS, a hidden TV, cleverly disguised as a canvas, adorns the area, serving as both a functional entertainment element and a striking piece of art.

3. Added texture

A living room with textured materials

(Image credit: Jonathan Hokklo. Design: Jessica Gersten Interiors)

Fabric and texture are also non-negotiables when it comes to comfort. A layered scheme can bring comfort and softness to your furniture. Consider a mix of velvets, sheepskin, bouclé, cotton, and linen. 'It's all about textiles,' says designer Ksenia Mezentseva.

Texture isn't just important for the added softness, but it can help with the acoustics of a room. 'Carpeting your bedroom or adding a soft area rug helps soften any harsh noises like footsteps,' says Joshua.

'Modern window treatments also help to dampen any outside noises. Consider long-flowing treatments for a soft, ethereal vibe and consider a sound machine for ambient noise that will help to drown out distractions and steady the mind, allowing the body to relax and recharge.'

4. Perfect lighting fixtures

A bedroom with added accent lighting for added comfort

(Image credit: Doublespace. Design: Barbora Vokac Taylor)

Lighting might not be a tactile element of your home's design, but it is hugely important to create a space that feels comfortable and cozy. Anything too bright can create a room that feels bright and sterile.

'Soft lighting from floor and accent lighting from table lamps are best versus harsh overhead lighting,' says Joshua.

‘Lighting is essential in creating a cozy space, so make sure to have fabulous lighting that can be dimmed,’ agrees Shelagh Conway, principal and founder of Austin-based Triple Heart Design.

‘Create moods in each room so that you can let the sunshine in during the day, and wind down to a softly lit space with the sunset. Follow the rhythm of Mother Nature - she sets the mood so well,' says Shelagh.

Finish off your balanced lighting scheme with candles placed throughout the home, adding a warming light and releasing therapeutic scents that will ramp up the coziness.

5. Natural decor

A bedroom decorated with houseplants

(Image credit: Lisa Cohen. Design: Kim Kneipp)

Finally, fresh flowers and plants go a long way to create a comfortable home. Not only do they help the air quality in your room, but they bring a comforting pop of greenery to your home.

'Fresh flowers are a non-negotiable for me,' says Ksenia. 'They add a feeling of natural “life” to your home – the smell of freshness, the sign of spring and new beginnings,' says Ksenia.

'Layering in items that are special to you also helps to create a sense of coziness and comfort,' adds Chrstine Carney director of design at Blackberry Farm Design. 'The final touch should always be an arrangement of fresh cut flowers.'

In terms of plants, snake plants, cheese plants, and devil's ivy work well and make for great low-maintenance plants for indoor gardening, while potted orchids, cyclamen or holiday cacti.

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Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.