Top Ten Tips For Creating a Cozy + Authentic Home


I believe spaces should be used well, beauty should not be saved just for company and home should reflect the hearts that live there and not just the trends we see around us.

I am not a designer but putting home together has been my heart for as long as I can remember. Once I became a wife and mother I had to make a choice to either have my perfect space or create a space that was perfect for those that I love.

I still love things in their place but our home is about using beauty in the day-to-day, comfort and usability more than anything else.

Where I could find examples of the tips, I have shared them below. I hope you enjoy these too and I would really love to hear your ideas!

1. Vintage. The easiest way for my house to not look like another home and to reflect my eye is to bring in thrifted goodies. I don’t think there is a room in our home without something vintage whether it is art, furniture, architectural salvage, linens or glassware. These are the things that make putting a home together so lovely for me. Those treasures you find that you know need to make their way into your home and life. So, you will not be surprised to know that vintage markets are one of my favorite things and when traveling I am looking for something vintage as my souvenir.

| Bamboo Furniture, Belgian Garbage Can, Bread Boards, Pendant |

2. Original Art. When you hear original art this doesn’t have to mean expensive art. Find pieces within your budget and slowly add art that makes you smile when you look at it each day. This includes architectural pieces, framed fibers, photography, signs etc.  We have original fine art on our walls but also vintage signs, balloon molds, concrete molds and more. Have fun with your space!

| Vintage Sketch, Vintage French Road Sign, Oil Painting, Balloon Mold |


3. Time. Allow your home to come together over time. If you don’t want your home to look cold like a showroom don’t buy it all at once from a showroom. Buy slowly from different places, vintage and new, different colors of wood, and pieces that speak to you and you will enjoy your space for years to come. Enjoy the journey of making home my friends.⠀If you have empty walls in your home that is just the sweet reminder that you haven’t found the perfect piece yet.

4. Use beauty.  Years ago I was cleaning out and reorganizing one of our cabinets that was filled with my Grandma Luella’s vintage plates, my mom’s wedding silver and my Grandma Jeanne’s vintage linens. Here was all of this beauty and it was just tucked away not being used. I knew I wanted to change this but I also didn’t want nothing to pass down to our children. I put a few pieces away to save for our children and the rest started being used. Yes, we have worn out napkins, stained more linens than I can count, have chipped and broken countless china pieces and our life is more beautiful because of it. My beautiful people deserve to use beautiful things in their lives. I didn’t want our children growing up thinking that the beautiful things were just pulled out for company. So, I don’t have as many of those family treasures as I used to but we have lived life with those treasures and that is the true memory.

5. Nature. Bring the outdoors in through flowers, flowering branches, driftwood, dried tumbleweed or a collection of shells or rocks. Whatever you find beautiful IS beautiful.⠀Become a forager of your own yard or your friend’s yard. Look around your yard for flowering branches and get to know the beauty that is right outside your own front door. I have a tumbleweed in a bowl at this very moment and I could care less that my husband thinks I am crazy! I LOVE it and it makes me happy. I also love to create outdoor “rooms” in our yard and I have enjoyed doing this in all of our homes. The world is so beautiful and does so much good to my head and heart to sit in the sun, touch the earth and to disconnect even in this simple way. Nature inside and outside of our home does wonders.

| Tumbleweed, Dried Pinto Berries, Branches, Wooden Bowl |

6. Comfort. I prefer vintage pieces when it comes to hard surfaces like tables, dressers etc. but for our upholstered pieces I am looking for design AND comfort. It has to be comfy and inviting. If it is just pretty no one will want to take a nap, read a book, or sit and talk for hours. Create spaces in your home that invite people to stay a little longer. ⠀Kelly gives me free-reign when it comes to the home except when it comes to the furniture he will use. He has to confirm that it hits his back just right, that he could watch a movie and be comfy and none of his criteria has to do with design.

| Linen Couch, Chair, Leather Chair, Mattress |

7. Lighting. My friend Melanie likes to think of lighting as jewelry for your home and I agree. The right lighting can transform a space. When we first bought our current home the first thing we did was paint the walls, window frames and replace every single light fixture. We instantly had a new home. Don’t forget about table lamps to warm up your space and to bring more cozy into your home. Candles are another way to add light and warmth to the home. I prefer unscented candles for a meal and any outdoor gathering and once the sun starts to set it can instantly add magic to your space. If you are wanting to cozy up your yard nothing makes an impact liked stringed lights. I have then all over our land and it instantly brings just the right amount of warmth and cozy into our outdoor spaces.


| Pendant, Candles, String Lights, Lamp |


8. Sounds and Smells. Whether it is the sound from a small fountain in your yard, coffee brewing, the crackling of a fire, your favorite record spinning, fresh bread coming out of the oven or a pot of soup on the stove…our spaces can instantly be transformed with good sounds and smells. Think about the sounds and smells that you love the most and be intentional about including them in your day-to-day. You deserve a space that feels warm and comfy too.

| Candle, Cat Power Album, Copper Pot, French Press |


9. Texture and Layers. I love layers in my art, clothing and home. Soften up your home with layers on your bed, cloth napkins on your table, cozy blankets next to your couch, sheepskin draped over a chair or on the floor as a rug, linen towels at the sink and pillows that beg to be used.  You have art on your walls, comfy places to sit, those wooden elements that bring warmth and a grounding to your space, good smells and sounds, your favorite vintage pieces and don’t forget the layers!

⠀| Sheepskin, Baskets, Rug, Vintage Napkins |

10. You. Let your home be a reflection of the hearts of those that live there. We have walls of books, treasures from travel, music playing, instruments, candles burning, clothes on the line, freshly cut flowers, art supplies, cups of tea left all over the house, records, bikes in the yard, art, shoes at the door from our daily hikes, my Bible tucked by my favorite chair. First and foremost our homes are for us. Let your home have a heartbeat that reflects your own. It will then be a place that your most precious want to come back to again and again. When you are comfortable in your space you are also more likely to open the door to others and let me promise you…it has nothing to do with perfection. It never did.


Your top 10 may be different and I would love to hear what you think makes a home really cozy and authentic!


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  1. Cindy Wahlstrom

    I loved this article Jeanne. We don’t entertain often but I love when others tell us our home is so comfortable. I love birdhouses and we have several inside our home. Rusty junk is what my husband calls many of my prized possessions. A French country mix is the look that most appeals to me. A bit of simple antique beauty mixed with my rusty junk and a little elegance.

  2. Gayle

    Great article. Especially to remind us to use the precious items that were passed on to us. I have made a point of doing this especially since I have retired and know that this is a time in my life I can enjoy precious memories when I pull out these items to use.
    And yes, I have sticks, rocks, and other items from nature that I treasure looking at every time I pass by them in my home.

  3. Nina B

    Jeanne, beautifully said. Your words reminded me of a writer/storyteller and humorist named Erma Bombeck who passed away before her time, long ago. wise words, hers and yours…

    “ I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.”


    1. Jan

      I loved Erma and her wonderful art and quotes. She blessed my life in many ways. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your day.

      1. Linda

        Yes Erma Bombeck was wonderful! I remember when she said to wear the new nightgown, burn the candies, etc. Wise woman.
        And I love all my vintage “stuff” and my rocks and ancient tools I’ve found in the desert!

  4. Tanya

    Lived in, layered with a collection of antiques, art, pieces of nature and comfortable furniture…I don’t feel so old and stodgy now!

    1. Amanda Craig

      These are lovely tips! Are you planning to attend the Round Top antiques show later this month?

  5. Kathryn Annis

    Great article! My home is part of my art practice – the walls, floors, and furniture are warm neutrals (creamy white walls, wood floors, leather and neutral furniture) so I have a palette to add color to for each season. My whole family understands my mantra of “happy lights” – whether lamps and candles (unscented as my daughter and I get headaches with scents) and fireplaces in the winter or cheerful lights outdoors on summer evenings, there must always be happy lights when it’s dark or gloomy. Love your ideas and your pictures are always inspiring – thank you!

  6. Vanessa Prohaska

    I understand. Great article. We bought an Ethan Allen sofa, a few months ago. Just the sofa, since the matching chair cost almost as much. Then when I tried to sell, give away or get rid of my previous sofa; there were no takers. ARC and Goodwill were too crowded. Everyone told me it was too big. – and it is!. Well we brought it back inside and place it in our family room forming an L shape . Guess what? I really like it. Somehow it just looks right, next to his fancy neighbor. 😉 Looks so vintage!

  7. Tonya Statler

    Thank you for sharing your top 10. I love “whatever you find beautiful IS beautiful” my home is very eclectic, but it seems to tell our story. Ours are pieces from places we have lives and / or visited – often in the form of mission trips. They are pieces of our hearts: Giraffes and Elephants from Sierra Leone, West Africa. Paintings and wooden bowls from Costa Rica, textiles from Guatemala, coasters from Panama. a Wood Carving from Nicaragua. It may not make sense to anyone else, but looking at them brings us joy.

  8. Nancy Bulluck

    Loved your story today! I also pick up found objects while on my walks. It may be smooth, shiny river rocks or handsome feathers from the owl or hawk. I feel they are Gifts to me from Mother Nature . Grateful.

  9. Debbie Starrett

    Oh Jeanne, as always, your words inspire me. I am encouraged that perfection isn’t the goal, rather creating a place of warmth and a soulfully purposed home is important.
    Thank you for your encouragement in making our homes, our art, and our hearts authentic and meaningful. Blessings to you.

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