More and more we're seeing the emergence of cold boxes, aka apartments that get the job done (which we're grateful for), yet leave our hearts and souls a little lifeless when it comes to the cozy factor of the space we reside in. It seems like the art of creating apartments with beautiful built-ins, small details, and anything thats not stainless steal has just gone out the very boring window. I get why, it's more affordable (and copy/paste-able) to not care about those things, but for the people who do care about those things, it's heartbreaking.
While the space I live in has a lot of character with the ceiling and proximity to outdoor space, etc, the kitchen and bathroom definitely give off a more modern blah cold bland vibe as they lack character within the features themselves. While the bathroom is still on my list to "cozy-ify," the kitchen was one of the first things I added charm to since its a main focal point in the studio space (a few before and after's below).
I recently got a comment on TikTok where someone asked me "Do you have any tips for making more modern, cold spaces feel more cozy and curated like your home?" I imagine that she's currently living in a colder box, and wants to warm it up a bit. Before I dive into reccies, let's assume you're not allowed to paint or add removable wallpaper or removable floor tiles, which would all warm up a space in a major way, we're talking extreme renter friendly ideas below:
Lamps. Warm bulbs. And more lamps. Lamps will warm up your space immediately. Say goodbye to the big bad scary overhead light, find a little baby one for your kitchen space and it will cozy-ify it almost instantly. I promise it will make cooking much more enjoyable.
A second to lamps, are candles. Even if you don't light them where you store them, having them around gives off a very cozy vibe, will probably remind you to light them more often, and when you do want to light them you can just move them to a safe space for an open flame.
Change out blah handles/knobs for something with a little more character. Etsy has loads of great ceramic knobs, Anthropologie does as well, and I'd check out local antique stores too if you can. This is usually a pretty budget and apartment friendly way to update a space quickly, just hang on to the older fixtures so you can replace them back when you leave.
Add various textures! Textures are a great way to warm up a space and create visual dynamics/depth for the eye. A few examples could be to add a runner rug in in the kitchen and hallway, thrift a ceramic jug from you're local donation shop and fill it with collected wood utensils in the kitchen, flowers in a vase can also be a great "texture," hang art in the bathroom and kitchen (art can be photos/paintings, but it can also be shells you've strung together or a ceramic spoon you love), blankets and pillows (get a few various organic textures within these. For example a jute pillow and linen pillowcase from Etsy paired with a wool blanket can add a collection of dynamics on its own).
Grab some woven/wood/marble/etc trays from the thrift store or Home Goods and create "nest" spots for similar items. By making these groupings you're giving items a home, but also taking the focus away from a bland counter and putting it onto something that feels homier.
Art! Please don't buy dentist office art (aka mass reproduced art), go on Etsy, spend an hour at your local thrift shop, commission a piece, or make something yourself! If you want your space homey and less commercial, stop buying commercial pieces.
Hopefully these tips were helpful and if you're still not sure where to start, you can always hire someone to help you out! You can peep my services here if you're looking for a little more personalization with recommendations :) I offer personalized mood boards, decorating, gathering, and more.
Have a topic you'd like to see next week? Shoot me a message on social or send me an email :)