Homes & Gardens
The experts share their advice on designing a snug
SCIENCE BEHIND SNUGS Everyday spaces have a direct impact on behaviour, says Lily Bernheimer, an environmental psychology consultant and author of The Shaping of Us. In it, she describes how curved forms engender higher levels of calm than angular furniture and how house plants – real, not fake – can reduce blood pressure and increase attentiveness. Some studies suggest that the rush to tear down walls to create large open-plan living spaces in homes can have a negative effect on happiness; in this scenario, consider using glass windows, screens or partitions to carve out a semi-enclosed space, recommends Lily in her book.
LIGHT AND TEXTURE Creating a snug area within an open-plan space requires careful consideration of lighting and layering, adds Melissa Hutley of interior design studio Hutley & Humm. ‘We would design joinery specific to the room that allows for books, paintings and photographs to be displayed and suggest adding wall lights to cupboards and shelves,’ she explains. Choose warm and comforting fabrics such as velvets, wool, boucle and soft cotton. ‘Add cashmere throws on sofa arms and use an upholstered ottoman rather than a hard-edged coffee table for cosy seating with feet up.’
MUST-HAVE ELEMENTS When it comes to thinking about what’s needed to create the right environment for a snug, it should feel ‘like you are wrapped up in a vast, cosy blanket’, recommends interior designer Octavia Dickinson. ‘Achieving that mood-changing moment is vital,’ she explains. ‘I like to keep the footstool and sofa almost kissing so you need to squeeze past or almost climb in to reach the sofa.’ Then layer ‘cushion after cushion’ in different shades, sizes, plains and patterns with thick trims and surround the space with lots of picture lights and wall lights to create a relaxing and inviting ambience.
CHOOSING COLOURS Advancing colours are classified as warm tones of red, violet, orange and yellow as they give the appearance of coming towards you – and it’s these strong tones that can make a room feel really cosy and intimate, says interior decorator Emma Deterding, founder and creative director of Kelling Designs. ‘We particularly love a deep earthy orange which creates a snug effect in a room but you could also have the same result with colours such as navy blue and emerald green as long as they are rich in tone.’ Just be careful when choosing this kind of shade in any south-facing snugs. ‘Warmer tones risk making the room feel uncomfortable in the summer months so opt for a darker shade to cool down a south-facing room such as a charcoal blue.’
“I LIKE TO KEEP THE FOOTSTOOL ALMOST KISSING THE SOFA SO YOU NEED TO SQUEEZE PAST OR ALMOST CLIMB IN TO
REACH THE SOFA”
OCTAVIA DICKINSON, interior designer