The Insider: How to get cosy


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The Independent Online

Each post on the addictive blog of designer Abigail Ahern reads like a love letter to your home. And her trademark style – in a nutshell, "elegant cocoon" – is particularly enticing on these short, chilly days when we're all too skint to go out. Here are her tips for cosying up...

Light-bulb moment

You can't create a cocooning nest with just a couple of lights. I have more than 10 in each room: beautiful glows and shadows create drama and intrigue.

Magic touch

Adding texture softens a space. Create visual friction: pair opposites such as metallic leather with slubby wool; put seagrass matting on a shiny floor. You can't overdo it.

Centre stage

Move furniture away from walls – yes, even in the smallest rooms. It's more nest-like and inviting, rather than doctor's waiting-room-like.

Show your

Stuff Lots of layers – flowers, candles, ornaments, pictures – make a place feel lived in and loved.

Made in the shade

Charcoals, greys and slates make a room cosy. Try Farrow and Ball's Down Pipe, the Paint Library's Teal or Dulux's Dusted Moss.

Try this on for size

Play with scale: supersized pieces in small rooms or vice versa create an Alice in Wonderland vibe that intrigues and invites.

Breathe easy

Scent adds cosiness as it makes you feel relaxed. I'm hooked on pot pourri from Santa Maria Novella (117 Walton Street, London SW3, tel: 020 7460 6600). I dot tea-light holders of it all around the house; the smell is phenomenal.

'A Girl's Guide to Decorating', by Abigail Ahern, is published in paperback by Quadrille, priced £12.99, next month

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiorsat