Beauty scale

Every house needs a cozy corner where we can hide from the world

It’s a scientifically proven fact: humans thrive in small, comfortable spaces. That’s not to say we’re not drawn to grand, open-plan rooms, says environmental psychology consultant Lily Bernheimer, but we also like to indulge our inner hermit in a comforting sanctuary. “We need quiet places to retreat and re-energize,” she says in her book, The Shaping of Us.

Cozy nooks, opening onto a luminous expanse, characterize the houses of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, fascinated by the way cavemen lived in nature. And they are now an indispensable addition to the modern home.

“After the pandemic, people are more interested in small, intimate spaces to relax, read and recharge, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” confirms interior designer Rachel Clark of Bazaar (bazaar-london.com ). “We want a small ambient room, warm and not at all overwhelming.”

The word “snug” conjures up images of a small room in a low-ceilinged farmhouse with an open fireplace and window seat. Indeed, in many period homes, the cozy was originally the smoking room, says Jonathan Bramwell, of property search firm The Buying Solution (thebuyingsolution.co.uk), with pelmet curtains, huge sofas and a wide range of ashtrays.

The modern snug is just as comfortable as its predecessor, but more consciously zen – a place of well-being and relaxation, and it doesn’t have to be an entire room. “I create comforters in bedrooms – a comfortable armchair to enjoy the garden view or read bedtime stories,” says designer Lisa Burdus (lisaburdus.com). “I also created a ‘man snug’ for the man of the house to play his guitar and watch TV away from his wife and daughters.”

Designer, Simone Suss (studiosuss.com), meanwhile, recently created a snug next to one of the floor-to-ceiling glass walls in a penthouse with panoramic views of London. “The view was one of the best in London, but the space was cold and dark; we achieved warmth and comfort with deep recliners, greenery, blankets and outdoor reading lights,” she says.