When you’re dealing with a chronic health issue like IC, chances are you spend a lot of time at home. A lot! I have had times where leaving the house meant going to sit on my back patio. For that reason, having a cozy living area is important. And as the weather gets cooler for many of us with autumn fully in gear, cozy sounds even better.
There’s no shortage of home decoration shows, websites and magazines to give you inspiration. But the fact is, most of us don’t have thousands of dollars to redo our living area. And we, quite frankly, aren’t physically up to it either. However, no matter your budget or current flare status, there are a few things you can do to make you living area more cozy.
Have a heating pad hangout.
Heating pads are my best friend when it comes to pain management. So, I have designated heating pad spots throughout my home. There’s one plugged in and stored next to my usual spot on the couch. Another one is plugged in and with the chair in my office. Finally, I have one plugged in beside my bed. If heating pads help you with pain, too, find a spot (or two or three!) to keep them plugged in and ready to go. I like the peace of mind it gives me to know I have help nearby for my symptoms should they strike out of the blue, which happens sometimes.
Keep fuzzy blankets around.
Fuzzy, warm blankets make for a cozy living area, especially in colder months. If you’re in the middle of a raging flare and not moving around much, you’re more prone to feel chilly. Keep cozy blankets nearby. You can drape them over the back of your couch or at the end of your bed. I keep a folded blanket on the bottom shelf of the end table I sit by in my living room.
Of course a comfortable pillow for your bed is important to help you get better sleep with IC, but having toss pillows or squishy pillows add to the aesthetics of your décor while also adding function. Sometimes holding a pillow to your abdomen when you’re in pain seems to help. Other times, you can use the pillow to prop a book or device. And then, of course, you can also use them for your head to take a nap!
Enjoy nice fragrances.
Candles, essential oil diffusers, potpourri and fragrance plug-ins can add nice scents to create a cozy living area. Some IC patients are sensitive to smells, so subtle smells might work best. Go for whatever you most like. If air fragrances aren’t your thing, even consider keeping some nicely scented lotion nearby to use for moisturizing your skin but also creating a nice scent.
Have a basket for supplies.
When you aren’t feeling well, you often have things you need to keep nearby: medication, IC friendly snacks, the remote control, device chargers, facial tissues and more. Instead of just piling them on your end table or nightstand, use a basket to keep them more organized and together. A bonus of using a basket for needed supplies is that it can travel with you throughout the house. If you spend the day on your couch and then move to your bed at night, just pick up your basket to take along to your bedroom.
Decorate your walls with art you like.
Pick a few wall art pieces you like and hang them where you spend the most time. You can even print out encouraging quotes or funny sayings and hang them in a frame. Go for things you and your family like; don’t worry about whether it’s conventional or everyone’s taste. My living room has photos of my kids, a canvas of superheroes, a canvas of a beloved book character and a framed Bible verse. All of these things make me happy!
Pick the right lighting.
Soft lighting gives any room a cozier feel. You can achieve this through choosing dark or colored lampshades or changing the bulbs in your favorite light. Another option is to hang some fairy lights to softly add mood lighting. “Smart” lights with color changing bulbs you can control from your device are also a fun option.
Make your furniture comfy.
Soft seats are important for IC patients and keeping your pelvic floor happy. If you don’t have a comfortable chair or couch, consider getting a chair cushion to put where you sit and make it softer. These are much less expensive than buying new furniture but can make your living area more comfortable and cozy along with keeping your pelvic floor happier!
Get a cute lap desk.
Cozy and functional don’t have to be at odds. Keep a cute lap desk near where you spend the most time to make life easier. You can use it for eating, doing crafts, painting your fingernails, writing notes to others or coloring to relax. A few months ago, my plain lap desk broke after years of use. I bought a new one that is cute and functional. I keep it tucked between my couch and end table for easy access.
Control natural lighting.
When you aren’t feeling well, chances are decent you might have a nap during daylight hours. Look for either blackout curtains, dark curtains or dark blinds to help keep the room dark when you need it to be. There are all sorts of options for curtains and blinds that are both pretty and functional.
Bring the outdoors in.
Houseplants and flowers can create a cozy living area. Pick bright colors or whatever you like most. Keeping up with living plants is more work and maintenance, so don’t be afraid to include artificial plants in your living area to give you the same feel without the work.
Set the right temperature.
It’s hard to feel cozy and relaxed if you are too hot or too cold. Adjust your thermostat to the most comfortable temperature for you. Or you can also use ceiling fans, standing fans, small plastic space heaters or a fireplace to keep the temperature just right.
Create a cozy bed.
If your mattress isn’t very comfortable, consider getting a mattress topper to add some softness and/or support. Mattress toppers can save you money on a new mattress if that isn’t in your budget right now while making your bed more comfortable. Along with a comfortable mattress, be sure to have bedding you like. Flannel sheets, cotton sheets, silk sheets or whatever feels best to you can make you feel more cozy at bedtime. Make sure your blanket or comforter gives you the same soft and warm feeling.