Decorating Ideas | Lifestyle | Living Rooms

Creating a Comfortable and Relaxing Home

What makes a comfortable and relaxing home? We all have items and rituals that we do to feel comfortable at home or relax after a busy day. What are yours?

My lake house living room has been almost 2 years in the making, even though it is pretty much complete, it will never be done as I like to update and refresh seasonally.

Update: See how the decorating of this room has evolved.

It started with the fireplace makeover. Yesterday, the two pieces of furniture I have been waiting for have been delivered, so I can finally give you a glimpse.

I have to warn you in advance… this post is not Pinterest pretty or styled to achieve “Likes” on Instagram or Facebook. Far from it.

Instead, what I am about to show you rarely shows up on blogs about decor and/or lifestyle. I am not exaggerating when I write this, not one bit!!!

Adding comfortable leather recliners to your decor

In the world of decorating and design there are three items that are considered well… not “design-worthy”. It is the best way I can word it. My house now has all three…. popcorn ceilings, ceiling fans and now I can add… two leather recliners. :-)

I agree that what I added may not be as pretty as a stylish upholstered chair in a colorful fabric, but they sure do “up the comfort factor” quite a bit in my living room.

Creating a Comfortable and Relaxing Home in 10 easy steps

They are the seats I know everyone will want to sit on when we have family and friends over.

Fall living room ideas that offer pure comfort.

My only regret… I wished I had added them sooner.

How to make raffia tassels for fall decorating

A few years ago I wrote a post titled, How To Decorate So You Feel At Home.  I refer to this post as my decorating manifesto.  In the post, I write about how I enjoy my home from the perspective of all 5 of my senses and plan it first and foremost for function and comfort.

The recliners deliver on both. They rock when we need a little thinking time. We can watch movies when the chairs face forward, but they swivel when we want to gaze at the fire or out to the lake.  A motionless chair just doesn’t come with these factors. We would forever be trying to shift them to accommodate our needs.  The room is small so these chairs have to do it all.

How to decorate a home with recliners and still have style.

The chairs are from Southern Motion. Model name: Shimmer. Leather in the color Toast.

When I refer to my house, I speak about the walls, fixtures, flooring and the studs that make it stand. When I refer to my home, you will read words such as haven, comfy, cozy, and personal.

Home for most of us is more than just a house. When you have a home, you know the feeling… it is the only place on earth that you feel TRUE COMFORT.  You know it every time you walk through your front door. No fancy hotel or perfectly styled room we see on Pinterest or Instagram will ever offer us the same feeling, EVER!

Creating a Comfortable and Relaxing Home using leather recliners

In this fall season of nesting, comfort is what it is all about. It breaks my heart to see so many people without a place to call home after theirs have been destroyed by the winds and flooding brought on by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.  All their possessions and furnishings gone. No place to find true comfort until they can remodel or find a new place to call home.  It could take months and or years for them to find this true comfort in life again. I think of this every time I open the door to my home and don’t take any part of it for granted.

Creating a Comfortable and Relaxing Home using motion furniture that reclines, swivel and rock.

After the recliners were delivered yesterday, I smiled and sat on them with glee. I spun around, rocked and reclined. Last night while watching a re-run of Fixer Upper, I fell asleep in the reclined position. Pure bliss… :-)

No that I am in comfy cozy mode, I thought I would share a few more ways I like to up the comfort factor in my home.  I am sure you have some, too.

10 Ways to Create a Comfortable and Relaxing Home

1. Find the Perfect Seating

Before we had the recliners, we had a sofa and two outdoor chairs. The sofa was comfy and we recently bought a new one from Pottery Barn that is even larger that adds to the comfort factor in the room. The chairs on the other hand, didn’t recline and felt too stiff to sit in when binging on Netflix or reading a page turning best-seller late into the night.

My advice… don’t purchase any chair or sofa without sitting in it first. Seating can look beautiful and styled for a photo in a magazine or catalog to entice you, but the bottom line (no pun intended) to ask yourself...  Is it comfortable when you sit on it?  Do your feet touch the floor? Is it deep enough to put your feet up under you? Does the fabric feel good against your bare skin? Is it good quality?

You also can’t rely on the reviews of others since we all come in different body types and sizes.  I thought I had the perfect recliner chosen at La-Z-Boy. It was perfect for me and my personal style, but when Ed sat in it, he didn’t find it comfortable. It also could not be made up to both glide and swivel. He then began to try all the recliners in the furniture stores in our area until he found one that he found super comfy that could do both. Luckily, I found the chair comfy, too.

2. Dim the Lights

Ideas to create a comfortable cozy home.

When the sun goes down, having the ability to dim the lights in your living room or any room for that matter is the fastest way to make a room feel more relaxed and comfortable. I have dimmer switches installed in almost every room. Don’t forget your bathroom. It is the ideal place. Think of how nice a soak in the tub would feel with the bathroom light dimmed and candles all around.

Replacing a wall light switch with a simple dimmer switch is inexpensive and one of the easiest home improvement projects you can do. If you can’t do this, consider lamps that have a dimmer switch already installed. The lamp in my living room has this feature.  You can find them at places like HomeGoods, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx where they sell higher end lamps at a discount.

3. Light a Candle

How to use candles when decorating a home.

No dimmers?  The soft glow of candlelight always makes my home feel instantly comfy-cozy. I especially love the effect more in the fall and winter.

4. Make a Cup of Tea

Home comfort rituals

Drinking something hot in a warm mug you can wrap your hands around is a sure way to make you feel more relaxed.  This is even more true when you are at home. I drink a lot of tea, but at the end of a long day, I don’t need any more caffeine. Herbal tea is soothing and calming and gets me ready for bed. Sleepytime is one of my nighttime faves.

5. Putter

Nature crafts to make to decorate your home for autumn

Taking time to simply putter around your home does not require any special furnishings. It is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things you can do at home.

What is puttering? It a nutshell, it is time wasted wisely. A term coined by author and decorator, Alexandra Stoddard back in the 1980’s.  Her definition was not the same as defined in the dictionary that states that puttering “is not busying oneself in an ineffective way”. Alexandra disagreed with this, she found puttering was a time to make new discoveries, time to be alone, to dream and to get in touch with yourself. When you unwind alone, un-pressured, you see things differently than when you are trying to cross off a to-do list.

When you putter your mind is free to make all kinds of associations, and whether you’re paging through magazines you’re not yet willing to discard, or sorting through your linen closet on a whim, you enter into a sort of fantasy world – one where you are free to let your mind travel to new thoughts and ideas. Plan for this kind of essential unstructured time alone. It will allow you to be influenced by your private feelings and in turn makes your life better at home and elsewhere.

Here is an online read I found over at NY Magazine with a fun take on the joy of puttering:  Why Women Love Puttering?

Some of Alexandra’s books will stand the test of time, Living a Beautiful Life and Feeling At Home are my favorites.

6. Have a Beauty Night

Makeup-drawer-purge-and-organizing idea

When I was growing up every so often my sister’s and I would have what we termed as “Beauty Night”. The 3 of us shared the master bedroom that my parents gave up since it was a bigger room that would hold 3 beds. When we took over this room, we also got another benefit…the master bath became ours alone.  We had it filled with all sorts of lotions and potions that claimed would make us look like movie stars. When we had a beauty night we would put a facial mask on, paint our nails, trim hair, etc. I may not have my sister’s by my side anymore, but I do still enjoy having a “Beauty Night” on my own. It is a relaxing way to unwind and take care of yourself after a busy day.

Now that I have a super comfy recliner to relax in when I put a facial mask on, I will feel like I am at a spa.  The mask paired with any of the other items on this list will surely make you feel comfortable and relaxed.

7. Become Unplugged

Free download to help you organize files on your computer right on your desktop. | In My Own Style

Part of being a blogger requires me to be online all day. Over my summer slow-down, I realized I didn’t need to be on social media as much as my blog and blog readers are my number one focus and where my energy lies. I find when I try to be on every social platform, I get too stressed out and don’t enjoy life, even in the comfort of my living room.  Unplugging from all of it once in a while grants me the time to live my life and persue my dreams and not spend hours scrolling watching others live their lives.

Free computer desktop background can be found here: Desktop Screen Organizer

8. Listen to Light Classical Music

Classical music score

When I want a lift, I listen to show tunes and pop music. When I want to relax, I prefer to listen to instrumental music, usually light classical is what I like best. It helps me clear my mind since there are no lyrics.  This paired with #9 below is my quick and sure fire way to feel comfortable at home in no time.

9. Enjoy a Glass of Wine

Ways to cozy up a home

After a long day and I have closed up my computer, a glass of red wine always helps me transition into my comfy mode. Sip it slowly and combine a few more of these relaxing elements to the mix! Just keep it to one glass though, having too much wine may end up making you feel tired, not relaxed.

10. Freshen the Air

Fall essential oil recipe for a diffuser.

There is nothing worse than to come home and find your home smells stale, like wet dog or a litter box that needs to be cleaned. I sneeze at most home fragrances and don’t like scented candles, but I have found that diffusing the air with essentials oils always makes my home smell good in a healthy and subtle way.

I like the way lemon, grapefruit, lemongrass and orange make the house smell and buy the inexpensive brands that they sell at the health food store to diffuse in the air. I found my favorite blend, called Clean Home at TJ Maxx for a few dollars. I will probably never find it again, but it was mostly lemon and perhaps peppermint in the blend.  Lately I have been trying out a few diffuser recipes. I especially like this one called Brisk Air. It is perfect for fall:

BRISK AIR  Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe

  • 4 drops orange
  • 3 drops lemongrass
  • 3 drops fir

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How do you make your home comfy cozy? What items do you add or rituals do you do to find your bliss at home?

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39 Comments

  1. Those recliners look like the one i FINALLY picked out. I have back and neck problems, chronic, so a comfortable chair was essential. I went to soooo many stores and sat in soooo many chairs and was about to give up when I found mine. Some have asked me why I purchased one so big…comfort. I hope your chairs are as comfortable in the long run as mine has been! :)

  2. I’m reading Liz Marie’s book a little at a time with a cup of coffee. Me time! I agree with you, home should be what makes us comfortable-not what makes a pretty picture- Great if you have both but comfort first! For this reason, I have ceiling fans in several rooms. Always enjoy your blog.

  3. Such a wonderful post. Thanks Diane for letting us know a cozy house is a “Home”. The house is awesomely decorated and the furniture shapes the house extremely dreamy. Looking forward to more from you Diane.

  4. My home has popcorn ceilings and at least for now I’m stuck with them. LOL! I don’t have leather recliners but I have a double sofa recliner that is so comfy that I’ve been known to fall asleep.

    I moved in October and I’m having fun turning a house into a home with comfort being my priority. It will never be featured in Better Home and Garden. However, it is slowly becoming my happy place and a refuge from the world.

    Thank for sharing your comfort tips.

    1. Hi Beth – Love what you said.. a refuge from the world. You are so right. Creating a comfy relaxing home is #1 in my book. Enjoy creating your happy place.

  5. Diane I love your blog and this post was particularly inspiring. I have deleted quite a few blogs I had been following as they do not appear “real” to me. Being a senior, living in my parents basement (about 900 sq. ft.) taking care of them, the house and the yard (also a sucker for animals – 2 dogs, a foster failure cat and 2 foster kittens) I spent far too much time and money in the past trying to get “that look” only to realize that my look is quite alright and that is due largely in part to you and your wonderful blog. You definitely won’t be deleted! Thank you.

  6. What a wonderful, comfort-inducing post! I’m in line with a lot of other people commenting – I’m in MO and would never be without ceiling fans – even in winter. They just keep the air from sitting on top of you. Hoping to move, we were amazed at the number of newer homes that didn’t have ceiling fans. Can’t be without them! And I LOVE your new chairs! When my babies were little, the leather couch was so much easier to clean up. As they got older and we switched to fabric, that was a nightmare. I’m happy to say we’re back to leather, and I won’t have anything else, kids or no kids. I love how they feel warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. And who knew I was puttering when I didn’t know that’s what it meant! I tell my husband almost daily when he calls and asks what I’m doing, and it’s usually “oh, just puttering around.” Thanks for “warming” up my days!

  7. Can I ask where you got your white slipcover from? Any I have found are always beige or off white…very frustrating!!!

  8. Hi Diane! I live in Texas, and wouldn’t make it through the summer with out my ceiling fans! Popcorn ceilings, meh . . .i can take’em or leave’em! I use to had recliners and consider them the bain of every decorators’ existences! But, hey I’m getting older and can appreciate being able to raise my feet up.. Thanks for being honest and living and.blogging about real life.

  9. Oh a big hint to your girls!

    Anyone in the South surely does not say no ceiling fans!!!! Unless they are totally inexperienced. And as far as popcorn ceilings….. if they are in good condition then no problem! The only problem I had with them was in the ceilings of bathrooms in one of the hotels I managed years ago. Hard to clean, y’all know? And very stupid in a bathroom shower!!!

    Recliners are great if you have the room. I have my daddy’s old recliner and the fabric is disintegrating, but I won’t throw it away. It is so sturdy and comfy, just needs to be recovered. I love the two you bought! They are more than perfect for your room! If I had the money, I would buy one like yours in a soft gray. You have such a beautiful living room. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Cannot thank you enough for these fabulous tips. Your blog is practical and style honest and approachable. Your take on design is refreshing and honest. (Could we have been related in a past life!? ?)
    Seriously, I appreciate your time, energy and style.

  11. I always enjoy your posts but this one is especially great. You are always an inspiration to me. I am a putterer and must remind myself that it’s not a waste of time! I used to read Alexandra Stoddard years ago, I will have to dig her books out and have a look at them again, I remember enjoying them the way I enjoy your blog. Popcorn ceilings! It sometimes feels like I’m the only person stuck with them – and as a senior citizen I don’t have the energy or money to deal with them. So I’m glad to think that you in your beautiful home have popcorn ceilings too!

  12. So many good comments that also express my views. We’re in our 70’s, and recliners are a necessary part of relaxing for us. …Comfy chair, soft throw…so I’m looking forward to your ideas that will now include these chairs. Always enjoy your blog. (Loved the puttering article!)

  13. You think the recliners aren’t Pinworthy? My husband brought home a creamy leather sectional with electric recliners at each end….I kid you not! But I must admit that they are soooooooo niiiiiiiiiceeee

    ;P

    I think your recliners are pretty, BTW…

  14. Finally. A blogger who gets it. I love looking at the pretty Pinterest worthy pictures and explanations, but at the end of the day, our family LIVES in our living room. We EAT in our dining room. I’m too busy to constantly fix throws, arrange pillows, move table arrangements, etc. No thanks. We try to keep it real and love having it look nice. Swivel recliners. I’m checking out the website now. Love the idea! (P.S. As for ceiling fans…I’d rather have an ugly fan than sit in a stuffy room, any day. If the designers find them so offensive, then they should design something pretty. Just saying.)

  15. Thank you for defining the very thing I’ve been feeling guilty about – puttering! Didn’t know there was a word for it. I will gladly use it more often now. Love the recliners! We have one in our living room not quite as nice looking as yours but neutral enough to blend in with a beautiful throw over it. Every guest we’ve had has enjoyed relaxing in it & often comment how they wish they could have one in their home. It’s unfortunate how we sometimes pick aesthetics over comfort. Thank you for giving us a different inspiring view and making things functional and beautiful. By the way, where did you get the jar filled with candy corn? What a pretty way to display while also ensuring they don’t go stale. My 8 yr old daughter would love it, please share.

  16. Hello. Not everything has to be “Pinterest pretty”! As long as those recliners are comfy… it’s true that recliners are not the best-looking seats, but the colour of the leather is very nice. Lots of good naps are awaiting you… :)

  17. It was comforting to hear that you too, have popcorn ceilings….lol! I love your room….those recliners look so comfortable. I’ve always maintained that comfort was more important…but, in all honesty it seems hard to get many bloggers to admit to that. Don’t get me wrong…I want my home to look good….but comfort reigns supreme! Love your living room…and your cozy tips are spot on! ;)

  18. I would be truly unhappy without my ceiling fans! I’d have one in the kitchen if it didn’t interfere with the gas flame. The one over our bed is NEVER off – unless I am cleaning it. But I am going to have to be honest with you – I am very anti recliners – love the function but not the shape. If I had a large home with a ‘TV room’ in a large finished basement they would be great. In my smallish living room that has a fireplace – not so much.

  19. Diane, I love your “comfort style”! I am so over the “perfect” rooms and trying to make my house “design worthy”. I am from SC and recently moved back home after living in Phoenix, AZ for many years. In the South and in the desert you NEED ceiling fans, even if they aren’t considered “design worthy”. Also, my husband and I just bought 2 rocker recliners. He is 6’3″ tall and he finally has a chair that fits him! The smile on his face when he realized there was a chair that fit him is worth giving up “design worthy” any day. My home is comfortable and that makes me happy. Thanks for always sharing your tips and ideas!

  20. Hi Diane love your home, comfy and inviting and really beautiful. Agree with all your points here especially unwinding with a glass of wine and listening to good music. Love your blog thank you for all the inspiring ideas. Julie x

  21. Thank you for sharing this post!! I enjoyed it and it put a lot of things in perspective

  22. Diane, you are my favorite blogger! I follow you because you are true to yourself by not “staging” your home. After reading your post I have decided that my home may not be fashionable but it sure is comfortable. Thank you for helping me set my priorities.

  23. I completely agree. I am so over rooms that couldn’t handle a child or a dog because they are so pristine, white, and staged. I want true comfort. I want inviting rooms. I want my rooms to feel right far more than look right.

  24. I love the way you think and live, Diane. Comfort always trumps looks in my book. The leather on your chairs is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never been a recliner gal, I’ve always thought they were for big people because I never sat in one anyway that was even close to comfortable… but that’s not you for sure.

    Alexander Stoddard is a favorite of mine, too. She inspired me a lot when I was first married and I’m so grateful to the woman who gave her very underlined book to me. You know, puttering is a wonderful thing, too. I’m pretty sure it’s one of my happy places. ;)

    1. Hi Diane – Recliners come in all sizes, we saw one that was HUGE. I tried to fine one that was comfy, yet not too big. Back in the 80’s I bought and read every one of Alexandra’s books and still have them. I even met her and got to go to her house. She was truly inspiring.

  25. Awesome post today. I agree with the post above….so many blog posts just dont look like comfortable rooms that say come in and have a seat.

    Thank you for the amazing tips.

  26. Too bad for those bloggers that put style above form and function. So many of the pictures I see show homes that are draped in items that are just for show. That is not a style I wish to emulate, at all. Recliners serve so many functions, as you accurately described, ceiling fans are very necessary and serve several functions as well; cottage cheese ceilings….I have no defense for those eyesores! Around here, there are companies that remove the cottage cheese and re-texture the ceiling for $99 per room. The home instantly looks 35 years newer!

      1. I live in Orange County, California. The ads for popcorn removal are in all the local home improvement booklets that get mailed to all residents practically every week. The workers tape huge sheets of plastic up next to the ceiling at the tops of the walls, across the floor, right across to the opposite side of the room and up to that ceiling; they wet the popcorn, scrape it, retexture the ceiling’s surface. Then it needs to dry. Their job is done and soon it’s ready to be painted.

        1. Sue, That is a great deal! We priced our popcorn ceilings (SW Fl) seven years ago and it was $3000 for the whole house (garage included). Eventually, I will just learn to live with it!

          Diane, I really appreciate your comfort-first style. How nice to be comfortable in a beautifully-decorated home. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us as well as all of the inspiration… I’ve learned so much!

    1. Where do you find this? I don’t have popcorn ceilings, but I would like my tiny bathroom that was painted with old gloss paint and has the stamps removed and repainted. They really messed it up and that gloss paint is a horror. I live in Jacksonville, FL on the westside.

  27. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVED this post. I follow lots of home decor bloggers and I love so many different styles. But often, I look at their homes and think “that would just not be comfortable”. Those recliners made me smile. Making memories with people you love in a comfortable home is the goal of homemaking in my opinion. Thanks for being real. Just so much goodness in this post.

    1. Thanks Christy – I agree with you about making memories with people you love in a comfy home. It is my goal, too. I know when my daughter’s and their significant others come to visit, they are going to love the chairs. Hopefully in a few years I will even be able to rock a grandchild in one of the chairs. :-)