10 cosy living room ideas

As the nights draw in and the weather turns chilly, curling up on the sofa in front of the TV or a good book becomes commonplace. To help you create the ultimate cosy living room, interior design experts share their simple top tips for making the most of your lounge space this autumn and winter. From soft furnishings to mood lighting, learn how to create a cosy living room setting and make your space more inviting.

1. Keep the heat in

It’s crucial to make sure your living room is well insulated for the winter months. Start with the main culprit for heat loss – the windows. ‘If they’re ill-fitting and draughty, it’s worth replacing them with double- or triple-glazed units to help retain the heat, keep draughts at bay and maintain condensation-free sills,’ says interior designer Julia Kendell.

Additionally, individual thermostats on radiators are useful so you can adjust each room’s temperature when needed and minimise fuel costs. For more advice and information about keeping your house warm, visit the Energy Saving Trust.

2. Create a bold palette

Using rich and deep colours is an effective way to give an impression of warmth, says Julia. ‘Dark charcoal and navy both look fantastic on walls and work well together, especially when teamed with furnishings in contrasting colours, such as berry shades and mustard yellow,’ she explains. ‘Wooden furniture is also excellent in combination with a dark palette.’

Bring in burnt oranges, deep reds, mustard yellows, earthy tones or saturated colours for a bolder choice. ‘Reflecting the seasons in your home is a great way to freshen up your space. To really lift these colours and bring them to life, consider a mixture of creative layouts, patterns and textures,’ says interior designer Rukmini Patel in collaboration with 247 Blinds.

Mid-century modern and industrial styles in particular look great teamed with rich shades.

living room create a cosy feel with plum, raspberry and rose blush and add subtle grey to ground the scheme go for pale pink walls and plain curtains in a darker shade add a modern touch with sculptural accessories walls painted in peignoir estate emulsion, £3950 for 25l, farrow  ball curtains made up in plain weave linen in rose taupe, £38 a metre, volga linen bluebell three seat sofa in ash soft wool, £1,680, sofacom the descartes armchair, from £780, sofacom henry coffee table, £320 leaning shelves, £310 rug, £155 all french connection hampshire mirror, £299, brissi lina side table, £65, cox  cox miller floor lamp, £230, holly’s house on sofa ralph blanket, £70, northlight homestore cushions l r copii brocade, £275, a rum fellow blush velvet tassel, £58, amara dusty pink drop, £40, holly’s house coyolate bolster, £255, a rum fellow mirage, by harlequin, £65, amara on side table graceful vase, £3995, nordic house on coffee table iron tray, find similar at design vintage twelve decorative figs, £45, cox  cox arles napkin, £11, the linen works on mantel l r tealight holder, £8, heal’s arctic vase, £20, nordic house blue dots vase, £30, cox  cox on shelves from top concrete candleholder, £25, holly’s house vase, £995 for two, nordic house vase, £15, cox  cox fruit bowl, £12, amara candlesticks, £10 each, northlight homestore bloomingville heavy structure vase in orchid, £48, out there interiors fireplace, open flre, soft furnishing,


3. Add some shine

Copper and brass work especially well with grey and navy walls. ‘You can introduce a bit of sparkle with most colour schemes if you go for small highlights such as scatter cushions, tea light holders and picture frames,’ explains Julia. ‘If you want to go further, opt for a wallpaper or curtain fabric with a metallic element in the design.

‘Another great use of metallics is on the inside of lampshades as it will cast a warm glow to the surroundings, and even when not lit will still add interest and opulence to the scheme.’

4. Cast a glow

living room of dark green and bluescentrepiece white highlights thechimney breast and fireplace, makingthemthe stars of the show

With fewer daylight hours in winter, it’s important to ensure every cosy living room is well lit. Aim for soft background lighting, says Julia, preferably with ceiling fittings that are dimmable, and a task light by the sofa for reading.

‘Low light from table lamps are an excellent addition, use warm LED light bulbs to add additional warmth and comfort to your room, the more yellow the light, the cosier you will feel,’ adds interior designer Vanessa Arbuthnott.

And, if you’ve got a darker corner, you could use a lamp to transform it into a reading nook. Try adding a ceramic-based or rattan style table lamp next to your favourite armchair or on either side of your sofa.

‘When settling down for the evening, cosied up on the sofa, you don’t want garish overhead lights which can feel too bright and cold,’ says interior design psychology expert, Niki Schafer, in collaboration with B&Q. ‘To achieve the feeling of cosy – the point at which our bodies relax and we feel a sense of safety – it’s best to sit in a pocket of light. A dimmable floor lamp is perfect to achieve this, as it casts a warm puddle of light in a specific area.

‘To create a sense of balance throughout the room, wall lights can also create soft light that doesn’t dominate. Try leaving them on a circuit of their own so they can be used as the sole source of light.’

Mood lighting is also key to creating a snug and cosy environment at home. Vanessa suggests making the fireplace (if you have one) your primary light source for cold evenings.

Julia echoes this idea: ‘A woodburning stove will add a warm glow and candlelight creates a cosy atmosphere. Enhance the effect with carefully positioned mirrors and reflective surfaces.’

5. Use home fragrance

Updating your home fragrance is a simple way to introduce the new season into your living room.

‘The ambience of your room is identified by the scent, and you can find one which not only matches the season but the décor of your room. Go for rich and warm scents combining bergamot, frankincense and amber, to match the autumn landscape outdoors and sit well with an open fireplace,’ suggests Vanessa.

6. Add rugs to hard flooring

a soft touch snuggle up and stay cosy with hygge style, feelgood fabrics, soothing colours and natural materials everyday luxury add extra comfort to seating with a toning mix of patterned and plain cushions in linen and wool living room, open fire, cosy, homely, upholstered, sofa, walls painted in ammonite estate emulsion, £3950 for 25l, farrow  ball misty rug, £1,950, woven holmfirth medium sofa in jura neptune linen, £1,750, sofas  stuff cushions on sofa l r cover made up in gisburn grey reversible, £4950 a metre, ian mankin quince twill linen, £45, the conran shop classic clarendon, £6495, tori murphy albers slate, £90 zellij, £90 both niki jones quince throw over back of sofa, £175, the conran shop sourdough geometric grid throw on sofa seat, £266 lounge lamp, £319 arc oak chair, £499 all heal’s faro chunky weave cushion, £45 new england tray, £20 both, john lewis grey throw, £60, cox  cox monolithic stool in white, £125, viaduct stoneware cortado mug, £950 saucer, £650 both rose  grey alsedo banana fibre pouffe stool 18cm, £20, ikea jacquard pestemal throw on pouffe, £39, toast small scented candles, £17 each,  other stories in the white room wallpaper panel, £105, tracy kendall wallpaper, swedish, scandinavian style

‘Older properties with exposed floorboards can be particularly draughty from below,’ says Julia. ‘Filling the gaps with flexible filler can help, or covering the floor with a room-sized rug will instantly deal with the problem.’

A rug over hard flooring can create the warmth and texture to transform your sitting room as well as enhance its visual appeal. ‘Place your rug just under the front legs of your sofa and completely under your coffee table,’ advises Vanessa. ‘Keep it neutral with a plain colour or a light pattern. You can change the entire ambience by picking a bright coloured abstract rug.’

In terms of materials, opt for chunky knit wool rugs or faux fur styles.

‘With the ability to create a design statement, soften a hard floor, or even freshen up a lived-in carpet, a rug is a brilliant starting point to transform your home in time for winter – and nothing screams cosy more than a faux fur rug,’ says Daniel Prendergast, Design Director at The Rug Seller.

‘Whether you choose to place your rug at the heart of your living room or use it to enhance and soften a cosy nook, a faux floor rug can add a luxurious Scandi feel to your living space, creating a soft and warming effect. Choose a neutral tone such as grey or ivory for a contemporary finish or a natural brown for an animal fur (yet faux) effect.’

7. Layer textures

living room bold, bird print cushions and a block stripe rug provide eyecatching focal points in a scheme of elegantly streamlined, sleek furniture and pared back accessories add texture with wool throws and chunky ceramicswalls painted in skimming stone estate emulsion, £3950 for 25l, farrow  ball floor in oak linen from the artisan collection, £8880 a sq metre, kahrs needham sofa in munro burnt orange, £849 conran solar stripe rug, from £149 alto coffee table, £229 loft floor lamp, £99 conran colour chips wall art, £119 all marks  spencer aalto console table, £220, cox  cox curtains made up in siv natural, from the spira collection, £3450a metre, the swedish fabric company cushions on sofa l r conran breon o’casey orange bird, £25 bantry weave in dark blue, £12 conran breon o’casey blue bird, £25 conran breono’casey red bird, £2950 block striped throw, £59 all marks  spencer on coffee table grey hexagon ceramic pot, £26, holly’s house loft floral tray, £1950, marks  spencer murmur stoneware teapot, £26 murmur stoneware sugar bowl, £14 both bedeck charcoal mug, £27 grey espresso jug, £17 waffle linen throw, £145 all oggetto on console table conran round vase, £35 conran bubble vase, £4950 cosy retreat large vase seen on cover, £2950 all marks  spencer murmur banana storage basket in natural, £65, bedeck soft wool throw, £60, cox  coxl with thanks to marks  spencer


The secret to a warm and cosy living room? Layering. There’s nothing quite as inviting on a chilly evening as soft, warm textures to sink into and snuggle up in. Layering and accessorising with extra throws and cushions is a must for lounging.

‘Go for a mix of throws and cushions in chunky knit, faux-fur and felted fabrics for the ultimate in cosiness. You can also add in wool and silk for a fabulously indulgent and luxurious effect,’ suggests Julia.

Vanessa adds: ‘If you have a leather or bright coloured sofa, opt for neutral or contrasting dark shades to tone your living room and make it weather appropriate. Buy a few textured throws and matching pillows, layer them up or drape them over the arms.’

Opt for oranges, reds and caramel, all great tones for this time of the year that will transform your sofa and indeed the whole room.

8. Bring the outdoors in

‘Introducing nature indoors is a great way to enhance the cosiness of your home,’ says Rukmini. ‘Pile pinecones in a vase along with silver birch to add a connection to the outdoors. Placing fire logs near the fireplace, surrounded by candles in lanterns will make you feel warm and snug as the weather changes.’

9. Choose the right blinds

pleated blinds, house beautiful range at hillarys

These pleated blinds have delicate, concertina-like folds for a soft and streamlined look, while the patterns helps to create a tranquil space. 

The right window dressing is very important during the autumn and winter months, and blackout blinds can be a great way to insulate the home. These thick fabrics help to keep the heat in during the winter and, in turn, keep it out during the summer.

‘It’s important to let the sunlight in during the day to gain as much natural heat as possible. Blinds should be open during the day and closed as soon as dusk falls. On especially dreary winter days, consider keeping the blinds down all day to retain heat,’ explains Rukmini.

Additionally, Jason Peterkin, Director at 247 Blinds, explains: ‘Wooden Venetians and shutters are often thicker and essentially act as a barrier between your windows and the room. They are particularly good at retaining heat, as wood possesses insulative properties naturally.’

10. Update curtains

autumn hues – living room curtain draped over yellow sofa

Rather than altering the whole scheme, Julia says we should give some thought to year-round options for the living room, for example, replacing lightweight summer curtains with heavyweight drapes in winter, or adding lining such as thermal fleece fabric to lightweight curtains as the season changes.

‘When it gets dark and rainy outside, drawing your curtains can make your living room warmer and cosier,’ says Vanessa. ‘For autumn/winter, beautiful linen curtains with insulating inter lining are a must. Again, choose warm colours such as reds and oranges to create the ultimate warm ambience.’

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