So much of interior decorating is about aesthetics — making a statement and drawing the eye through the use of interesting forms, colors, or textures. But somewhere along the way, it became about feelings, too, and not just the fleeting sense of satisfaction you get walking into a room full of visually-pleasing objects.
Nothing has made that more clear than with the rise of the comfort decorating trend this year. The concept of comfort decorating (or comfortcore if you really want to be Gen Z about it), revolves around the idea of choosing decor because of how it makes you feel, not how it looks. These objects evoke feelings of comfort, security, and connection, and are often grounded in memories. You know that tattered baby quilt from your grandma you’d never admit to still sleeping with or your favorite college mascot mug that you feel the need to hide behind your matching glassware? Comfort decorating dictates that you proudly display these prized possessions front and center because they spark joy and enrich your life.
With the holiday season inherently focused on prioritizing connection, honoring tradition, and making new memories, it feels only natural that we’d turn to comfort decorating this time of year. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that all holiday decorating is comfort decorating in a sense. Whether it’s displaying meaningful heirlooms or indulging your senses in all the coziest comforts, here are ways you can create a space that feels like a big, warm, never-ending hug.
Lean Into Nostalgia
If there’s a time and place to fully lean into nostalgia and tradition, it’s the holidays. Nostalgic items encourage us to take cherished moments from the past and ground them in the present. Considering we celebrate the holidays every year, chances are you have no shortage of sentimental holiday tchotchkes from years past to pull from. Hang up the quirky vintage ornaments from your childhood, arrange your mantel with antique family heirlooms passed down through the generations, or display old family holiday photos. You can even layer in new decor — as long as it’s something that fondly reminds you of an old memory. Think: Novelty ornaments collected from your travels or a wreath you DIYed with a friend.
Add Thoughtful Touches
The beauty of comfort decorating lies in the fact that you don’t need to have a discerning eye to participate. It isn’t about curating a picture-perfect space, but rather one that’s a reflection of you and your life. For example, if you’re the type of person who finds joy in having five different beverages open at any given moment, why not introduce a specialty drink fridge to your living room or bedroom? Keep it stocked with all your favorite drinks — because there’s nothing more comforting than easy access. Or perhaps your favorite color is pink, or your happy place is the beach — you could opt to decorate using pops of non-traditional magenta for the former and creatively incorporate seashells on your tree in place of ornaments for the latter. These are the personal touches that will bring your space to life and make it feel unique.
Appeal to the Senses
You know how when you’re feeling anxious, naming things you can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste can help ground yourself in the present? The same idea applies to comfort decorating — mindfully filling your space with objects that engage your senses can help you feel connected to your surroundings. Think about things like soft furnishings, ambient lighting, scented candles, familiar sounds. For example, you could sit on your sofa with its plush pillows and cozy throw blankets, surrounded by soft, flickering candles while you enjoy the sounds of a crackling fire and your favorite holiday album on repeat. Take a moment to yourself with a crisp, refreshing Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Focusing on the comforting ginger flavor will help you really get in touch with your senses.
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