29 cosy living room ideas – ways to create an ambient space to stay snug

Simple seasonal changes can transform a living room into a warming winter retreat
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  • As the main social hub of any homes the living room is the ideal place for curling up and chilling out, retreating from the world outside. Cosy living room ideas mean something different to all of us: it could be deep, enveloping colour; soft, comforting texture or simple, unrefined shapes. It comes down to a matter of taste.

    If your living room is a good size, you can afford to be experimental with rich colour. Warm shades, such as reds and yellows, can transform your room with a comforting mood, whereas cool colours, such as blues and pale greys, can have a soothing feel. Deep shades, such as purples, dark greys and greens, will create a luxurious look that can transform your living room idea into an indulgent sanctuary.

    Cosy living room ideas

    For a quick update, adding a variety of textures is the most straightforward way to up your living room’s cosy factor. Whether you favour a modern living room idea, or something more trad, chunky-knit throws and soft cushion covers will transform your sofa into a snuggle-friendly oasis, while woollen rugs will feel cosy underfoot. Choosing seating in a tactile fabric, such as leather or velvet, will lend your room a more sumptuous feel.

    The focal point of a living room in a period home is usually an open fireplace or a wood-burner, which inevitably creates a cosy feel. If your room has a fireplace, make the most of this comforting feature by positioning seating such as your best sofa facing towards it. If your room doesn’t have a fireplace, position sofas and chairs to face each other to create a more sociable and inviting layout.

    1. Cocoon with complete colour

    dark green painted living room with painted fireplace and shutters teddy material chair

    Image credit: Paint and Paper Library

    If you’re looking to introduce the latest living room trends to your living space be bold with how you use paint colours. ‘We are seeing a move towards deep, saturated shades, darker tones that create a sense of intimacy and comfort’ explains Andy Greenall Head of Design, Paint & Paper Library.

    ‘This move to a cocooning, sheltered warm feeling sees colours such as blackened denim ‘Kigali’, charcoal toned blue ‘Squid Ink’ and rich and welcoming brownish red ‘Masai’ rising to the for, and being embraced not only on walls, but on ceilings and woodwork too.’

    2. Add thoughtful paint effects to walls

    living room maximalist style half painted wall velvet sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/James French

    Get creative with on-trend paint shades. In this stylish lounge area the room is divided into two halves, with a simple living room paint idea of using masking tape to create a division.

    Here a brooding dark shade of blue fills the lower half of the room, to create a dark anchoring colour to ground the room. The top half is a softer grey shade that coordinates yet offsets the darker blue beautifully. This is a great way to add a sense of height to a small living room idea.

    3. Keep extra layers handy

    Orange upholstered storage footstool on a striped rug with green sofa

    Image credit: IKEA

    Consider smart living room storage ideas to have extra cosy layers at the ready. This sumptuous burnt orange footstool not only adds a plump extra seat or place to pop your feet up, it also provides the perfect place to keep blankets. Having a supply of layers is essential for making a living room feel all the more cosy during colder nights.

    Pull a throw over your legs while you watch a movie or boxset and feel the warming benefits in an instant.

    4. Adjust the lights

    Neutral living room with roaring fire and window-style mantel mirror. Mink coloured velvet sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    Switch off the overhead lights and flick lamps on to instantly transform the light quality of any living room. Whether a large or small space the right living room lighting idea can create a more intimate feel.

    Table lamps placed on side tables and sideboards helps to welcome more functional task lighting, for reading in an armchair for example. While floor lamps overhead can help to pool a warm glow to illuminate quiet corners, to give the space defining – rather than allowing it to be a void of darkness.

    5. Set the scene with candlelight


    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    Nothing creates a cosy ambience quite like candlelight. If your living space doesn’t have a real working fire you can cheap the feel with a curated display of candles. Fill a central point of focus with lanterns and assorted pillar candles to create a warming glow. Always be fire safe when using candles in the home, never leave them unattended.

    6. Balance alluring tones

    Navy wall panelling in a smart living room with grey sofa and wood burner

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore

    When thinking about how to design a living room, blues can create a slightly cooling effect in a room. But combine blue with gentle grey tones and plenty of texture and accessories, and you can create an inviting sense of depth, as this room shows. The balance of striking blue against soothing grey highlights creates an effortlessly chic cocooning decor.

    7. Embrace comforting textures

    A low ceiling cottage living room with blue velvet sofa and wood burner

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    If decorating is out of the question you can still transform a living room with the addition of new accessories. Not even new, you could choose to swap decor from another room to switch things up and make it feel more sustainable. Use warming colours in your living room to awaken the scenes.

    This white living room idea feels instantly warming with the presence of a rich turquoise velvet sofa and layers of orange and pink via cushions and throws. Look for tactile textiles, velvets and wools both have a cosy quality.

    The tassels on the throw draped across this sofa feels almost scarf like, a design that instantly makes you think of warming layers.

    8. Make seating the main design feature

    Corner sofa in a large living room with basket pendants and plaster wall

    Image credit: DFS

    An L-shaped sofa is not only a clever way to provide maximum seating for large numbers in a confined space; its shape automatically creates a sense of togetherness. You can achieve the same sort of effect with two freestanding sofas set at right angles to each other.

    How you arrange living room furniture hugely impacts how you use the space, and even the most simple of changes can make a dramatic difference.

    9. Decorate for comfort

    neutral Living room with coloured footstools, cushions and rug

    Image credit: Jo Henderson

    In this cosy living room, grey walls create the perfect backdrop for a comforting decorating scheme. The scheme is layered with pops of enriching tones of navy and mustard with softer addition of dusky pink and pale linen on the  sofas and armchair.

    The shade of grey on the walls creates a grounding basis for the colour palette to stand out, while making the outside walls feel strong and supportive.

    10. Insulate with window treatments

    Green living room with green blinds and green sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Window treatments not only add decoration at the windows. Whether blinds, living room curtain ideas or shutters a window treatment helps to insulate a room. A living room becomes instantly more cosy when you shut the outside world out, making the space feel more intimate and enclosed.

    Lined blinds and curtains will also add a layer of valuable insulation against the glass window panes, preventing drafts and chills from entering.

    11. Go for carpet underfoot

    neutral living room with cream carpet beige sofa and open fireplace

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore

    Consider changing your living room flooring idea to make more of an impact on the cosiness of the room. Carpeted living rooms will always feel more cosy and warm by nature because carpet looks more comforting, exuding a sense of warmth.

    Carpet, of any kind, is an insulating material because it provides a protective layer on top of an underlay that covers floorboards. Any potential drafts through original floorboards is covered and therefore the room feels warmer as a result – cosier than other flooring options.

    12. Layer rugs

    Coastal living room with log burner

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes

    Don’t fret if you have fashionable wooden or on-trend polish concrete flooring in your living room, you can simply add rugs to welcome extra warmth underfoot. Rugs can provide a short term fix to making the space feel cosy, dressing the floor with tactile designs that feel sumptuous between your toes!

    To add extra cosy factory layer rugs on top of rugs to ensure the floor is ultra cosy, extra inviting for pets to curl up on too.

    13. Find a warming focal point

    an inbuilt wood burner with a concrete surround in a large open plan living room with blue sofa and wood beams - Brent Darby

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Brent Darby

    Whether your space features a living room fireplace idea or not, use this layout to anchor your furniture around a central point. Bring your sofa in closer for the colder months to create a more intimate space – to huddle closer and create warmth. If you have a fireplace this is ideal as a warming focal point. If not try a cluster of lanterns and candles to get the same element of natural heat.

    14. Snuggle into oversized pieces

    A blue upholstered chair bed in a classic living room

    Image credit: Loaf

    Nothing provides a sense of comfort quite like an oversized armchair that gives you an inviting ‘hug’ to snuggle into. If you have the space choose an oversized sofa to be take over a corner of the living room, providing a solitary space to curl up with a good book and a cup of something warming.

    15. Sit beside the fire

    a Victorian living room with large button pouffe and wood burner

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    A wood burner idea will instantly evoke feelings of comfort and cosiness, and, because we all draw near to a warm fireplace, it will become the focal point of your room. Move your seating in noticeably closer during the colder months to benefit further from the immediate warmth.

    Due to their design it’s safe to get closer to a log burner, because the flames are behind safety doors – with an open fire always remain at a distance and have a fireguard in place, to avoid spitting embers.

    16. Dress seating with extra layers

    grey Living room with chrome arc floor lamp and glass coffee table

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Brett Charles

    Adopt a Scandi approach to dressing seating with inviting layers of extra comfort, such as sheepskin rugs and faux furs. Easy to add seasonal these tactile layers can instantly welcome a touch of indulgence and warmer to make nights in front of the TV feel all the more cosy.

    Chic grey walls and smart furniture create a stylish feel in this cosy living room idea.

    17. Seek comforting shapes

    Pink living room with log burner

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Max Attenborough

    Shape and texture are just as important as colour when trying to create an inviting living room. This pair of upholstered wing armchairs with squashy cushions are a classic example: their rounded high-backed forms look comfortably padded and the wool fabric begs to be touched. For a rustic living room idea, team whitewashed wall panelling with painted brickwork.

    18. Make a white scheme feel cosy

    White living room with white floorboards, wall panelling and exposed beams

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Paul Massey

    Make white tones feel cosy with the right finish. Team slubby linens with aged teak and matt paint for a more grounding feel, appealing to the senses by creating a calm space to relax. Low level lighting from lamps will enhance the warm undertones of the best white paint shades.

    19. Relax with neutral tones

    neutral living room with cream wood burning stove and beige sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore

    A palette of soft neutrals can look remarkably cocooning, it’s not all about dark bro0ding colours. Balancing the right grounding neutral tones create a cohesive colour palette that allows a sense of calm in a busy living space. If adding accents of colour we’d recommend keep those minimal and tonal to avoid them standing out too much.

    An upholstered footstool doubles as a coffee table in this welcoming classic room.

    20. Display elements of warmth

    Detail of a dark grey living room with box shelves and blue velvet sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes

    Make a feature of any fireside essentials to let your sense know heat is on hand. A curated log display goes a long way to set the scene for a roaring fire, where the mere thought is enough to adjust a mindset to feel cosier.

    21. Introduce luxe touches

    Black living room with dark green velvet sofa and metallic floor lamp

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

    Metallic touches such as burnished bronze and warm copper adds a warm quality to any colour scheme, particularly contrasting dark paint colours.

    The metallic finish on living room lighting ideas, furniture and tabletop accessories gentle reflects light back into the room – emitting a warm glow to create a cosy ambience.

    22. Welcome a woodland wallpaper

    Rustic living room with inglenook fireplace and roaring woodburner

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Dan Duchars

    To decorate a cosy living room choose colours and patterns that offer a rustic country aesthetic. Country living room ideas are ideal for creating a cosy retreat, a place filled with colours and textures of nature to create a sense of calm. Introduce pattern to walls with living room wallpaper ideas to suit your look.

    Unpainted beams, log burner and wooden legged furniture continue the rustic theme.

    23. Welcome warming accent tones

    Blue living room with brass and copper details and orange accents

    Image credit: Future PLC/  Simon Whitmore

    Blue walls give this country-style room a cheerful, warm feel. Fiery shades of burnt orange and brighter cobalt blue to add warmer accents to work in harmony with the warm blue walls. Adding flashes of metal furniture and metallic accessories helps to add a warming reflective quality to the look.

    24. Enrich a decorating scheme with warming reds

    Modern retro living room in dark orange with leather sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Joanna Henderson

    The effect of red walls is instantly warming. White woodwork and accessories freshens and sharpens the look. A rich leather sofa helps to invite warming tones, to reflect the effect of warming walls in a captivating red living room idea.

    25. Warm with shades of autumn berries

    Purple country living room with open fire and wooden coffee table

    Image credit:Future PLC/ Rachel Whiting

    The rich mulberry colour used for the walls here instantly creates a warm, intimate mood. Interestingly, the same hue feels cool and calm in summer, so it really is a colour for all seasons.

    26. Enhance cosy cottage vibes

    Country living room with exposed brick fireplace

    Image credit: Future PLC

    This cosy cottage living room has been given modern touches. An inglenook fireplace and exposed beams set a rustic tone, while squashy sofas, metallic occasional tables and a bold mustard wingback armchair have stylish appeal. The dark furnishings and soft textures in this living room create an intimate space for entertaining.

    27. Plump for cushioning designs

    Grey living room with grey painted fireplace lined with twinkling candles in glass bottles.

    Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson

    Upholstered, button-back furniture is another way to create a cosy, warm look. A rocking chair is also an ideal way to provide restful additional seating for a living room, to gentle embrace a comforting rocking motion. Ramp up the indulgent mood with candlelight on the mantelpiece.

    28. Welcome country pattern and prints

    Soft green living room with roaring fire and country-style plaid soft furnishings in burnt orange and grey

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain

    Adding prints that are synonymous with cheerful country style can be another simple way to make your living room feel more inviting. Choose either floral or checked prints to give your room a more traditional feel, or combine both for more relaxed, boho style. Layer the scheme with cosy tactile textures to set the perfect mood for a winter living room idea.

    29. Expose natural brick

    Living room with white painted between original wooden beams

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Robert Sanderson

    The exposed red brick of the inglenook fireplace makes it the focal point of this traditional living room. A sofa covered in a contemporary floral fabric and vibrant cushions keeps the look up to date.

    A soft palette of cream on walls and floors gives this room a soothing mood, but pops of red ensure it has a warm feel, too.

    How can I make my living room look cosy?

    You can make your living room look cosy with very simple styling measures. Firstly turn down the lights, creating a more intimate ambience. If your lights are on a dimmer reduce the brightness to give a lower level light. Failing that simply switch off overhead lights and opt for lamps instead, to cast a gentle glow. Candlelight welcome a soft light to any decor, and also offers a budget idea for creating a cosy living room with minimal effort.

    What colours create a cosy living room?

    Warm tones ‘enrich our homes and create cosy sanctuaries away from the outside world’ explains Farrow & Ball’s colour curator Joa Studholme. ‘Luxurious colours like ‘Preference Red’ can be added to the most neutral of palettes by using them in rooms we use at the end of the day, when we most want to relax and be comforted.’

    Joa explains how shades of red are ‘Incredibly chic by day and cosy by night, they bring a grounded but luxurious atmosphere that is thought-provoking as well as soothing, particularly when paired with other hues found in the natural world.’

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