Scallywag

Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Do You Have a Cosy Home?

May 1st, 2015 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 42 secs

You can be yourself at home.

You can be yourself at home.

You need somewhere cosy to come home to. With all the tough stuff that life throws at us, it’s more important than ever to have a place of refuge.

People talk about home being that place. Yet, strangely, many a home is barely that. Instead, they are uncomfortably cold places where people inhabit but don’t dwell.

Yes, they have rooms, furniture, decor, bathrooms, and (mostly) kitchens of some description. Some are downright palatial in size and expensive fittings. But none of this makes a residence cosy, comfortable, and safe.

Ads lull us into thinking that only the rich can have a truly comfortable home. The message? The more you have to spend on your place, the more homelike it will be (implying at the same time that those less fortunate don’t have a proper home).

In reality this means there are houses and apartments everywhere brimful with cold steel and glass, large echoey rooms, and clever but cold decor that’s meant to impress. And some do! The media is full of residences with show home glamour that are nothing if not stunning. Yet, on their own they lack the essential qualities that could make them cosy homes.

So what are these features? Cultures the world over have special words for cosiness, comfort, hospitality, and warmth, and together they all seem to focus on similar things. In Europe, Germans talk about how Gemuetlich a place feels, while Danes refer to a real home as hygge. And the Dutch apply the term Gezelligheid to describe the comfort and coziness that only a real home can bring.

It’s hard to do justice to these terms adequately in English. But if you think of cosiness as also being about hospitality, caring, and relationships, then it kind of comes together. It also explains why a slightly tatty old home that has seen the wear and tear of raising a family or two often feels far more warm and welcoming than a grandiose designer home can.

The connection between possessions and people dwelling with them is what ultimately makes a home a cosy, inviting place of safety and nurture or, just something functional, where humans occupy a space but never engage.

Sadly, so much housing is like the latter, where the emphasis is on looks, functions, and impressing. You can buy that and retrofit it from hardware stores. But fulfilling qualities of cosiness, safety, and belonging are not and can never be found in stores at all.

Rather, they need the inhabitants to connect together, with others, and where they live. This means eating meals together, having a at least one part of the home where family gather and share time talking and listening together (where each person feels accepted, valued, and safe).

It might seem obvious but there needs to be a connection with the occupants and the things within a home for it to feel cosy. Items like little children’s scribbled pictures on the fridge. Kid’s strange clay creations given pride of place along with trinkets, trophies, and such things that families gather because they mean something to them.

We have a threadbare, worn out couch in our lounge. It has seen our children raised and had hundreds (if not thousands) of folk sidle into its comfortable cushioned corners, making themselves at home. Students we have hosted from overseas have fond memories of this tired out couch. For them, it’s symbolic of cosy homeliness – a place where we’ve gathered, talked, and hung out.

People everywhere deserve the safety and security of a cosy home far more than the latest fashions of edgy cleverness or spacious statement. You need somewhere to go and be yourself without pretence; where you can step away from the world and feel – as you step across the threshold – that you are accepted, welcomed, and above all else belong.

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