With their wood paneling, warm colors, log burners, exposed beams, brickwork, chunky rugs, and squishy seating, we could lust over cozy living room ideas all year round. Plus, there are so many simple switches you can make to up the coziness of your living room without having to totally redecorate – a sheepskin rug here, a throw pillow there.
And while cozy living rooms do have a reputation for being all about tartan prints, antlers hanging from every wall, a huge open fire crackling continuously, cozy has many other more... subtle faces and can be blended into any style of living room, even super minimalist, modern spaces.
1. Layer up the textures
Get ready to hear this word a lot – texture is what makes a cozy living room. It's also a really simple way to update your living room, just switch out your cushions, throw down a rug (or two) and bring in some throws in tactile fabrics to create lovely soft layers. Natural materials like wood and rattan work perfectly in cozy living rooms too, adding even more textures and creating a relaxed, laid-back feel.
'When I want to create a cozy room it's all about texture and lighting. Add in soft and textured throws, layer on a sheepskin rug, and maybe even switch out your pillows for plushier ones.' advises Emily Henderson. 'You want the space to feel layered Then for lighting, a fireplace is of course ideal, but making sure you have 'warm light' bulbs with dimmers will also help you to create and control your level of coziness.'
2. Go for a simple Scandi style
As we mentioned, you can take a more minimalist approach to cozy living rooms. You'll often find that Scandi-inspired spaces are both simple, stylish and cozy, mixing clean lines and simple shapes with touches of texture and natural materials.
A light and airy color scheme gives a cozy living room all year round appeal too, pale greys, whites, and creams keep this room feeling fresh and not too wintery. Come the cooler months, you can always add in more cushions in deep hues and pile up the throws for a quick seasonal change.
3. Create a cocooning space with darker shades
Working with a small living room? We are often so obsessed with trying to make a small space feel lighter and brighter, when in fact sometimes the best option is to lean into those smaller proportions and choose a darker color palette instead. Not only will this create cozy, cocooning space but can blur the boundaries of the room, especially if you go all over with a dark shade – ceiling including.
'It’s a misnomer that dark colors make a room feel gloomy and smaller.' says Anna Burles, Creative Director of Run For The Hills. 'They can do the complete opposite, making a room feel ultra-cozy, soft and expansive, by creating light and shade with the natural light coming into the space and the textures and tones of the furniture you pair with the wall, floor or ceiling color.'
'We love to contrast dramatic dark walls or floors with light and highly textured furniture and textiles, rugs and curtains, making the light elements really bounce and pop from the dramatically dark backdrop.'
4. Add softness with relaxed shapes
Slubby materials and relaxed, low-slung furniture with soft lines give a living room a very laid-back feel that's perfect for creating cozy spaces. See how in this living room, the sofa has a very lived-in look and all the soft layers of linen add that all-important texture. The color palette of this neutral living room is something to note too, rather than choose clean, crisp neutrals like white and grey, opting for softer beige tones can create a more cozy, inviting space.
5. Get your living room lighting spot on
'When it comes to creating a cozy space, lighting your home is important. Setting the mood rests entirely on the lighting you choose.' says Matthew Williamson. 'Forget about using one main lighting source in favor of illuminating a few lamps around the room for a more interesting, cozy lighting scheme. This way, you can be more flexible with what you intend to light. For example, a reading corner would benefit from an elegant swan-neck wall light, while a piece of art would look spectacular on the wall between two table lamps on a credenza or sideboard.'
6. Bring in cooler tones
Cozy living rooms are often associated with warmer, neutral tones, but as this space proves you can bring cozy into any color palette. Here grey-toned blues give a fresh, modern feel while still keeping with the cozy aesthetic. Combined with plenty of wooden textures and soft layers, this blue living room feels both contemporary and cozy. Note the wallpaper too – don't shy away from adding pattern which can make larger living rooms instantly feel more intimate.
7. Take a minimalist approach to cozy
Because all it takes is a roaring fire, a pile of logs and a soft rug underfoot to make a living room feel cozy. Be inspired by this minimalist approach and make a fireplace a focal point, adding a mismatch of modern furniture creates a very stylish contrast and of course bringing in a bean bag is always going to up the coziness.
8. Make it soft underfoot
The more softness going on when creating a cozy living room the better, so keep things soft underfoot too with a soft, long pile area rug or carpet.
'While wooden floors have been center stage in many homes in the recent past, we have seen a dramatic rise in sales in the last few years, and in particular sales of carpets.' explains Jodie Hatton, a Residential Designer at Brintons. 'Fitted carpets are back, and back with gusto. We’ve seen an increase in desire for cozy, warming patterns too like tartans and stripes.'
9. Add texture with exposed brick
Exposed brick is synonymous with modern rustic living rooms, adding texture and interest to any style of space. We love how in this living room, the brick of the inglenook fireplace contrasts the brilliant white walls and minimalist furniture, adding just the right amount of rustic to make the room feel cozy.
10. Fill (but don't overcrowd) the room
Cozy living rooms should have that cocooning feel, with soft squishy furniture and furnishings everywhere you turn. So choose pieces that are going to fill the space nicely, without overcrowding it, to create that intimacy. Sectional sofas that hug the walls or ottomans that break up a sea of empty floor space will have that instant cocooning effect. Just be sure not to cram in too much furniture, you still want each piece to have some room to breathe.