I picked up The Perfectly Imperfect Home today:
For instance, picture yourself in a photo spread from a magazine like Dwell. You’re sitting with a nice cup of tea on, say, an Eames chair that floats alone on an expanse of concrete floor in front of a fire burning in a square cut into the drywall. Interesting? Sure. Cozy? Not so much. Minimalism is single-dimension decorating. Cozifiers add layers.
Cozy decorating was perfected by the English in the postwar era. The ideal of faded chintzes, comfortable armchairs, lots of soft pillows, and flowers and books everywhere exudes the glorious imperfection that is the essence of English country-house style. Yet, like perfectly mussed hair, it is quite calculated. Its devil-may-care attitude of tossed pillows and seemingly haphazard pattern combinations is a bit of a lie, but one that in the telling becomes true. In other words, cozifications create a home that looks loved and lived-in, which in turn creates a home that is loved and lived-in.
First, there’s the contrast between the traditional and the modern. “English Country House” might be the quintessence of traditional architecture and decor. Modernism is not cozy. It’s not designed to be cozy. It will never be cozy. Modernism wants you uncomfortable.
Second, the cozy approach uses the same “lie that tells the truth” that fiction does, and civilization. By cheating a bit at first, and providing a gloss of truth, cozy decor creates a space that invites the actual thing to take place. Maybe we could term it “preemptive truth telling,” that goes ahead of actual, practical, detail-oriented truth and in fact provides an opportunity to the truth-in-fact to spring into being.