If winter weather has you pulling out the fluffy blankets and extra throw pillows, chances are you’re already embracing the decorating trend known as “cwtch.” Nope, that’s not a misspelling. Cwtch (pronounced “kutch,” rhymes with “butch”) is a Welsh word that, traditionally, has had two definitions: a cuddle or hug, and a hiding place.
Currently, it’s also being used to describe a home decor fad that’s quickly replacing its Danish counterpart, “hygge” (pronounced “HOO-guh”), when it comes to enjoying life’s simple comforts and pleasures.
“I think of that rainy day when you just want to curl up and read a good book in your favorite comfy chair—that’s cwtch decor,” explains Karen Gray Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP in Warwick, NY. “Cwtch gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside when you enter into a room.”
And who doesn’t want to come home to that?
Where does ‘cwtch’ come from?
While there’s no direct English equivalent for cwtch, the closest translation is “safe place.”
According to the Oxford English dictionary, cwtch comes from the word “couch,” which translated to “lie down” or “rest” in many areas of England and Scotland in the late 19th century.
Cwtch first became a decorating trend in 2008 thanks to a blog called—you guessed it—The Cwtch, where the blogger, an unnamed Welsh pastry chef, set out to explain the word, it’s evocative connotations, and the lifestyle fad it represented.
From there, gift shops across Wales became enamored with the term and its special meaning, so much so that you’ll find it on everything from coffee mugs to hoodies.
How do you achieve cwtch?
If you treasure the comforts of home, you’re probably already well on your way to living the cwtch lifestyle. But if you’re hoping to reach peak cwtch, Gray Plaisted shares how to do it.
“If you surround yourself with things you love and make your house feel like an inviting retreat, you have achieved a cwtch look,” Gray Plaisted says.
Adding fresh flowers, fur pillows, pictures of your family on a vacation you enjoyed are ways to bring a little cwtch to a space by sparking your emotions and fostering feelings of well-being.
“Maybe it is a cozy corner with a window to just relax and daydream or read,” she adds. “It is not so much geared toward any one style or color as it is to what makes you feel good. The spaces with cwtch style have an appealing and intimate feeling. Think of fireplaces, sinking into a comfortable couch with lots of warm blankets, and fluffy pillows.”
Picture the most snuggle-ready spot in your home, and it’s likely cleaving to the cwtch aesthetic. Your bed piled high with pillows, comfy blankets, and quilts for a long cozy night of slumber is a prime example of cwtch, Gray Plaisted notes.
“I had a client who wanted to update her room with blue (pictured below), her favorite color,” she says. “It’s about what makes you feel good. I love that!”
While those creature comforts explain the “cuddle” part of cwtch, what about the “cubbyhole” definition? Cwtch decor makes the most of tight spaces to transform them into inviting nooks.
Photo by Houzz.com
The beauty of cwtch is that it’s really what you make it. So go for warm and cozy or grown-up and elegant, the choice is yours. As long as it makes you feel happy and at home, you’ve done it right.
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