16 living room cosy ideas & how I’ve created the ultimate relaxation haven

cozy living room ideas shot of Sarah

I definitely feel like love is in the air at the moment. It may be Valentine’s Day shortly, however I think while the weather is so iffy, February is a great month in which to show your home some TLC. So, today, I thought I’d share my love for my newly transformed living room with you! You can find out how I’ve managed to lift this space, thanks to a carefully curated collection of design and style solutions.

If you’d like to follow in my footsteps to make your living room into a snug retreat, check out my selection of savvy cosy living room ideas. You can learn how to select textures and soft furnishings, arrange your decor to be super-cosy and choose warm lighting to turn your space into a comfortable haven. So, follow my expert advice on how to update your everyday area into a personalised nook, which perfectly balances comfort with style.

Main cozy living room
I have carefully curated an interior scheme, which adds an element of cosy to make this a super-snug retreat

My cosy living room ideas

Choose your theme carefully to create a personalised, cosy and elegant living space. Window treatments, colour schemes and soft textiles, such as velvet, can play crucial roles in enhancing the warmth and comfort of a cosy living room. Don’t forget to optimise your layout for functionality too. Consider your decor carefully and maximise storage to maintain a clutter-free and inviting atmosphere tailored to your personal style.

Choosing a theme for your living room

cozy living room ideas sofa with cushions
I have mixed elements of old with new to create an eclectic mix or prized possessions and favourite pieces in my bespoke living room

To start, I think it’s important to pick a theme for your living room. This will ultimately establish the atmosphere and influence the mood you want to create, and this can help to mirror your unique style. I see it as a foundation that will support your creativity and imagination. So, you can carefully handpick every piece of furniture, accessory and decor element to design your stylish living room.

My living room theme

When I started planning my living room transformation, I opted for a vintage aesthetic complemented by Mid-Century and modern decor. Why? Because it offered the perfect blend of old-world charm and contemporary elegance. In this room, I wanted a feeling of stepping back in time, bringing pieces of the past into the present and creating a unique mix of old and new.

French antiques

A great way in which to source vintage finds is by checking out antique shops and reclamation yards – these are perfect places to start if you like one-off, previously loved pieces, which can instantly add individuality, character and personality to a room. One of my favourite finds was this carved French antique bedside table. It’s beautifully decorative with gold accents and it’s topped with marble for luxury appeal. This special piece hasn’t made it to our bedroom! Instead it provides a decorative base for our small television – less is more when it comes to ‘the box’ in this room, because I didn’t want a TV to detract from my design.

French bedside cabinet in sitting room
The husband and I picked up this French bedside cabinet from a Suffolk antique shop – I love its marble top and pippy oak design with decorative gold features

Handmade bespoke furniture

I also found this imposing chest of drawers from a second-hand shop in Suffolk. Designed and built by hand by a man in Hull, who had since passed away, his niece had decided to sell it, hence this unique find. It’s one of those pieces of furniture which is a bit like Marmite I think – you’ll either love it or hate it! The husband and I find that it fits well in our living room and the warm tones in the wood help to add to the cosy vibes.

Bespoke chest of drawers for cozy living room ideas
I hear this bespoke chest of drawers was handmade in Hull then sold on after the furniture designer passed away

Balancing the look

My design hasn’t just been about adding vintage pieces. To create a balanced look, I have added contemporary elements, like a plush green velvet sofa and a claret velvet pouffe for contrast. My new window treatments from Hillarys also add contemporary design elements and help to evoke a sense of warmth visually. And, from a practical perspective, layering window dressings is one of my favourite cosy living room ideas. The result? A living room that exudes a cosy, inviting and personalised touch with a perfect blend of vintage charm and modern elegance.

Warm up with colour schemes

A cosy living room should feel comforting, soothing and inviting and you can achieve this with the correct colour scheme. Different tones and shades have a profound impact on our mood and emotions, and the right colours can create a sense of warmth, comfort and relaxation. So, it’s important to focus on selecting the perfect colour palette for your sitting room.

My colour choices

In my living room, I chose Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue for the walls; this darker shade helps to create a snug, cocooning feeling. This works wonderfully well with the off-white colour on the picture rail and ceiling, creating a dramatic contrast. Then, for the colours on the cushions on my emerald green sofa, I picked natural tones of mustard yellow, greens, blues and natural oatmeal colour-ways. All tie in well with the décor, creating a harmonious ambience in my cosy living space, which contributes to the overall restful atmosphere.

Natural colours, as mentioned, can add a sense of calm and security, creating a cosy atmosphere in any room. So, consider earthy tones, like browns and beiges, which will invoke a sense of nature, to enhance your room’s cosiness.

Cosy living room ideas with window treatments

cozy living space with Hillarys curtains and blinds
My window dressings have transformed my living room to make it feel more inviting

The allure of a cosy living room is in the nuances and I think window treatments are key. The right curtains and blinds can transform the entire ambience of a room, adding a sense of warmth, comfort and elegance. And the colour, material and design choices can play a significant role in enhancing the cosy vibe in a living area.

Hillarys’ process

In terms of soft furnishings, warm colours can make all the difference if you want to create a restful, cosy ambience in your sitting room. For my window treatments, I sat down with a collection of Hillarys’ sample books and methodically worked my way through a selection of different colours, textures, patterns and plains.

Samples for lounge
Hillarys has thousands of fabric samples to choose from so you’re bound to find something to suit and you can even order free samples to help you make the right choice

Living room design and fabric choices

Looking through Hillarys’ books with an advisor is a great way in which to choose free fabric samples before you buy. You can narrow down the number you want to choose by simply sitting in your room and flicking through these incredible collection folders. Your advisor will also measure all of your windows so, once you’ve made your fabric choices, everything can be made to fit. For me, samples are key however, because I need time to peruse them – my free ones arrived in the post just a few days later, so I could study each fabric sample in different lights throughout the day and evening. I also held some designs against pieces of furniture to make my final fabric choices.

In my living room. I really wanted to layer the look. This not only looks more elegant but if you choose curtains and blinds, both could be the answer to your prayers if you’re looking for thermal design solutions. Here, we’ve got a bay window, so it can feel rather draughty. However two layers (the curtains and blinds) help to prevent the cold from coming in.

Colours and textures for my blinds

Hillarys' blind fabrics in neutral tones
I love mustard yellow and this colour on my Hillarys’ curtains and blinds instantly warms up my living room to make it feel more cosy. The metal bay pole in brushed gold, which came from Hillarys’, comes with rings and I chose a ball-shaped finial to add a classic finish to my design

I’ve chosen mustard yellow for my blinds and this is a key warm colour I wanted to add to this space. I felt I could brighten up the room with a striking contrast against the blue on my walls and make this area feel more snug and inviting. I wanted Roman blinds in my living room for a more individual, sophisticated finish and I chose Lyon Sulphur for the fabric. In a beautifully tactile chenille fabric, I picked interlining to make this room feel ultra cosy. Then, for the final touch, I chose a motorised option. This has been an absolute game-changer because I can operate my blinds via the handy remote control in the room, a dedicated app on my iPhone and even my Alexa device.

Somfy remote control cosy living room ideas
My Somfy remote control is easy to set up – I can choose to raise and lower one, two or all three blinds together and choose whichever level I prefer to leave them in using the My button

Designer appeal for my curtains

As soon as I saw British textile artist Margo Selby’s Mori Ochre fabric design, I just knew I had to have it. It’s a bold geometric print, which is for the adventurous, and I absolutely love it! The mustard yellow plush velvet creates a graphic print against a backdrop of textured fabric in biscuit tones for a tactile finish. The pattern offers a touch of Mid-Century modern decor to my windows, and these curtains have become the focal point in this room. To complete the look, I chose elegant tie-backs in a matching mustard yellow colour-way.

Gold tiebacks for Hillarys curtains
I chose Hillarys’ ball end tieback hooks to add instant glamour to my window display

Layering the look

It’s not just about the colours. As mentioned, layering window treatments can play a significant role in adding a cosy feel. Picking patterned curtains, which contrast against plain Roman blinds, can create an interesting visual effect, enhancing the overall look and adding depth to your design.

Enhance comfort with plush seating

Your seating area will be important in a living room. After all, this is the room where you may want to curl up on your sofa to watch TV with a loved one, entertain guests or simply relax and unwind with a good book.

In my living room, I chose a plush green velvet sofa, an emerald green accent chair and a claret velvet pouffe. The sofa provides ample seating for three, it adds a super comfortable feel and a stylish appearance, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritise comfort and good looks in their living room. I picked velvet fabric for a luxurious feel in this room. And the best part? Velvet is a great choice if you have with cats (we do) – it’s durable, easy to clean, and most importantly, cats don’t like sinking their claws into this fabric! So, you can rest assured that velvet-clad furniture will stand the test of time.

Softening your space with cushions

Cozy space for reading with natural daylight flooding in
Strategically positioned scatter cushions help to add comfort and style to my living room

Scatter cushions are instrumental in enhancing the appearance and ambiance in a living room, contributing an additional layer of warmth, comfort and cosiness. I see them as the icing on a cake, adding a design touch that can tie everything together.

In my living room, I’ve used a variety of cushions in different sizes and patterns to create cosy vibes. I handpicked the covers from Hillarys’ Margo Selby’s fabric collection. I chose Mori Ochre and Evergreen for a more cohesive look with my new curtains. The other designs are Lora Steel Blue, to match the walls, and Ochre and Stella Mustard. I have layered the cushions across my sofa to add more comfort and luxury to my design.

Scatter cushions on Sarah's sofa
I love my Hillarys’ cushion covers – from left to right, I chose the following fabrics: Lora Ochre, Mori Evergreen, Mori Ochre to match my curtains, Lora Steel Blue and Stella Mustard

Illuminate with cosy lighting

Lighting defines the mood, shapes the ambiance and augments the overall aesthetics and atmosphere of the room. So, when it comes to creating a cosy home, the right lighting can work wonders.

In my living room, I have used a combination of ambient and task lighting. The table lamp provides a small burst of soft light, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere. Meanwhile the floor light can provide focused illumination for activities like reading. This one makes a striking statement with a feathered shade and matt black base.

The intensity of light can also play a crucial role in creating a cosy atmosphere. You could consider dimmable ceiling lights, table lamps and floor lamps, which will allow you to adjust the light intensity, creating an intimate setting for a warm living room ambiance. If you’re lucky enough to have a larger room, try placing table lamps throughout your space to create islands of mood lighting, filling in dark corners and maintaining even illumination.

Embrace nature with indoor plants and rustic elements

Adding warmth with greenery
I’ve filled my living room with real and faux plants, which helps to bring the outside in

Nature inherently instills feelings of peace, tranquility and warmth. So shouldn’t these be exactly what we should aim for in a cosy living room? By embracing nature in your living room, I think you can create a space that is not just visually appealing but also soothing and calming.

In my living room, I’ve incorporated a variety of indoor plants. Real and faux versions can add a ‘sense of life’ to the room. In addition, greenery indoors can promote mental wellbeing and create an outdoor ambiance inside, so this gets my vote every time when it comes to interior design.

Rustic elements can also add warmth and richness to your room. A variety of wood types and textures, such as pippy wood, mango and ash can instantly bring a sense of warmth and character.

Infuse fragrance for a relaxing atmosphere

The sense of scent is potent as this possesses the ability to trigger memories, modify moods and establish a particular ambiance. In a living room, the right fragrance can create a soothing and inviting ambiance, making the space feel more relaxing and cosy.

In my living room, I sometimes use a variety of fragrance options to create a relaxing atmosphere. Essential oils and candles can add a touch of luxury to the room and create a soothing ambiance. I choose fragrances like bergamot and cedarwood, which evoke feelings of warmth and relaxation. Candlelight, in addition to creating a cosy ambiance, can also add visual interest, making the room feel more inviting on a cosy night in (please don’t leave candles unattended).

Optimise your layout for intimacy and functionality

Layout of Sarah's living room
Consider the existing layout you have in your living room and see whether you can plan your space more effectively to work for you

The layout of a living room is fundamental in establishing a space that is both cosy and functional. A well-planned design can maximise space, create intimacy and enhance functionality, making your living room more inviting and comfortable.

In my sitting room, I have arranged the furniture and seating to maximise space and create a functional yet cosy layout. The sofa may fill one wall, however it has provided a welcoming seating area for three. In larger living spaces or open-plan areas, you can divide the space into zones using furniture, to maintain cosy yet functional spaces.

But optimising the layout isn’t just about arranging furniture; it is also about considering unused corners or recesses. So you could install wall-mounted shelving or bookshelves, making use of all vertical space. This may not only add visual interest to a room but will also provide extra display areas and storage space, making the room feel more functional and organised.

Transform your space with seasonal decor or choose versatility

As nature evolves with the changing seasons, your living room can transform to mirror these seasonal shifts. Switching out soft furnishings and decor can refresh the room, creating a versatile and adaptable space that feels new and exciting with each season.

In my living room however, I have chosen versatility so my soft furnishings and decor work for every season. For me, a bright sunny palette makes my room feel more spacious and cosy in the winter and it adds to my comfort and style during warmer months.

Maximising storage for a clutter-free environment

Maintaining a clutter-free environment is a good way in which to craft a cosy living room atmosphere. It creates a sense of order, tranquility and space, making the room more inviting and comfortable.

In my living room, I have steered clear from built-in furniture to create my snug space. Instead, I have opted for furniture with storage solutions behind closed doors to maintain my tidy, organised space.

Multifunctional furniture could work well in a living room however, depending on the space you have. If you have room, you could consider an ottoman footstool with storage, sofas with storage beneath the seats, bespoke floor-to-ceiling units, which are tailor-made for alcoves, and personalised TV and media storage units.

Picking the right pieces of furniture and storage solutions can all help to maintain a tidy space. So, you can enjoy a space that is practical, adaptable and, most importantly, cosy.

Create a focal point with a fireplace

Sarah's fireplace
Our fireplace is a work in progress hence the concrete hearth so watch this space as more will follow on this shortly!

A fireplace extends beyond merely being a source of warmth; it can act as a focal point and will represent cosiness in winter. Whether it’s a traditional design or a contemporary wood-burning stove, it can add a sense of warmth and charm to a living room.

In my living room, we have a non-working fireplace, which doesn’t serve as a focal point. Instead, my window dressings provide the solid structure to my room’s design. However, a working fire can add a warm glow on cold evenings and add to your cosy environment. A fireplace enhances snugness, creating a tranquil setting, and in a larger living space, it can creates a sense of intimacy, acting as an anchor in a room.

Personalise your space with cherished possessions

Incorporating a personal touch can elevate a living room from a mere space to a cosy sanctuary. If you display some personal items, heirlooms and cherished possessions, you can add character to the room and make it feel more inviting and cosy.

In my living room, these items include a nutcracker ‘soldier’ I bought in Germany on a school trip many years ago. It brings back fond memories of a really fun week away and it adds character and personality to the room, making it feel more inviting and cosy.

If you have a coffee table, you could arrange some accessories in a tray, to maintain a tidy appearance while showcasing usable and loved items. Your living room does not just have to be cosy and inviting, but also a reflection of your personality, taste and style.

The living room before we moved in

Before shot of living room
This is what the living room looked like when we bought this house

I couldn’t resist sharing a shot of our previous living room with you. This way, you can see what can be done with a space to really make it your own. The previous homeowners had a gas fire, which we removed, and we reinstated a wall to create our snug retreat too.

Cosy living room ideas

Transforming a living room into a cosy haven will enable you to use your own creativity and imagination and ultimately have some fun. It’s about considering a variety of elements from choosing the right theme and customising window treatments to warming up your space with the right colour schemes and enhancing comfort with plush seating.

But, more than anything else, it’s about creating a space that reflects you – your style, your taste and your personality. It’s about creating a space that invites you in, wraps you in a warm hug and offers you comfort and relaxation. I can’t wait to hear how you plan to create your ultimate relaxation haven!

cozy living room ideas shot of Sarah
I love my Somfy remote control, which I use to operate my Hillarys electric Roman blinds. If I’m away from home, I simply use the dedicated app I’ve set up on my iPhone to open and close my blinds as I see fit

AD: This blog is part of a paid partnership with Hillarys and I am a member of their Interior Squad 2024.