For people around the world, warmth is critical to the feeling of “home.” In this sense, warmth can mean feeling loved, a cozy room temperature, or other comforting sensory experiences.

We delved into the meaning of home in our latest study of global adults, spanning 18 countries to reach over 11,000 people aged 25 to 64. This is part of a series of stories that dive into this topic.

Here’s what we learned about how warmth contributes to feeling at home:

Warmth – physical and emotional – makes people feel at home. Most people agree that warmth is an important factor in the feeling of being at home (96%) and that being at home makes them feel warm inside (94%). It’s also something people aspire to – 96% say it’s important to them that their home generate a feeling of warmth. So, what does “warmth” mean to people? As 27-year-old Shaq in the US told us, “Warm can mean many things. It can be snuggling in a blanket or a warm hug from a friend – even just the warmth of being home and feeling happy.”

Cozy home items add to a sense of warmth. For 79% of adults, furniture like sofas or beds are an important factor in the feeling at home. Soft furnishings like rugs, bedding, or towels are important to the “at home” feeling for 75%.

The right sensory conditions generate a feeling of warmth. The temperature of the room creates an atmosphere that makes people feel at home for 55% of adults. But warmth goes beyond temperature – it’s also about lighting (59%), the color of home décor (51%), and smells (54%).

The acts of cooking and eating are warm and homey. Smells are important to the feeling of home – and cooking generates an at-home feeling for 53% of adults. For 42%, eating with others makes them feel at home. As we heard from 63-year-old Melly in the US, “Barbecuing anywhere makes me feel at home. When we come together as a family, we barbecue, then I feel at home.”