As a place to entertain, rest, and spend time with yourself and your loved ones, your living room is a unique space and the heart of your home. Whether your living room is big or small, take various measures to ensure that it is comfortable. There is no single solution for what makes a living room feel cozy as it depends on personal preference, but you can easily create a warm and welcoming atmosphere to be enjoyed all year round.
You can take many steps to make your living room cozy, such as using warm colors, layering fabrics, decorating, and adjusting the lighting. Coziness depends on personal preferences; you can also buy high-end furniture or affordable items for a more hospitable ambiance.
You can also use some advanced techniques to make your living room feel even cozier. If you would like a more thorough guide that expands on the basic steps above, as well as some advanced interior design techniques to make your living room feel even more welcoming, keep on reading.
1. Use Warm Colors and Textures
Color accounts for approximately 60% of our response to a particular object or specific place. With this in mind, we can easily decide why one place is appealing, and a product is more attractive to us than another product. The effects of color are very subtle and can affect us psychologically. The use of color is essential in making your living room feel cozy and warm.
While a living room of pure white walls can feel airy and bright in the daytime, the white walls can often feel cold and stark in some lights. Add some off-white or light beige color for a more natural vibe to your living room, or add a different pop of accent color to your living room decor. For instance, in your bedroom, you might want to feel a more soothing vibe, so it would be best to choose cool colors or neutrals rather than a dramatic bright neon orange color.
Think about the mood you want to portray in your living room and choose the wall color and furniture color accordingly. Additionally, you can add further depth by adding textures or subtle colors such as high-end burnished metal finishes or colored glazes such as copper, brushed bronze, or antique gold.
Instead of synthetic human-made materials and shiny plastic surfaces, use natural materials such as cotton, rattan, or even lightly stained reclaimed wood. Adding in unfinished, raw materials invites exciting and complex textures to your living room.
Installing plank wood siding to your living room walls can quickly become expensive, and the labor-intensive project might require a professional to plan and install it. However, there are always budget-friendly options such as wood stickers that you can peel and stick onto the walls for a wood accent to your space.
2. Layer Soft, Comfortable, and Luxurious Fabrics
Fill your living room with items you want to touch and ultimately enjoy using. A patterned or fluffy rug with texture can add warmth to a room and make it feel cozy. Since rugs on bare wooden or concrete floors can help keep in the heat, they will help you feel warmer than a cold surface. It is simple to quickly source rugs of all sizes and materials to fit various budgets, look online or browse your nearest home department store.
Also, luxurious fabrics such as fur, velvet, and cashmere can transform the room’s vibe to feel more upscale. For a more budget addition, place a faux-fur throw on the side of your sofa for a cost-effective cozy vibe to your living room.
If you do not have the budget to purchase a large rug for the living room, try layering smaller rugs in spots where you will most often rest your feet. These spots can include underneath your favorite armchair or under your living room’s coffee table.
Take a step further and stash a pair of fluffy slippers for home use near the entrance of your foyer or living room, so you avoid cold feet. You will keep your rugs clean, and your soft slippers will be more comfortable than shoes or bare feet on hard surfaces. If you have carpeted floors, you can always layer your favorite rug on top of the carpet.
3. Put Up Curtains
Curtains can drastically alter a space’s appearance and can help transform a bare area into something more exciting. They can help create a fun environment depending on the color you select and its fabric. You need to consider two factors, the size of the windows in your living room and the sunlight that shines through the windows.
If you choose warm colors such as brown, orange, and yellow for your curtains, these colors can create a cozy atmosphere when light shines through your curtains. Avoid combinations like polka dots or tacky flowers, as these can easily clash with the ambiance of your living room.
If you have lightweight curtains, try exchanging them for heavier drapes with lining in the colder months for extra coziness in the winter or fall. The thermal lining will keep the cold outside and the heat indoors, adding coziness to your living room. Hang rich jewel tone velvet curtains for an old-fashioned charm that can also work as blackout curtains to keep your living room cozy and relaxing. In the summer or spring, add texture with some macrame curtains or sheer linen that will softly diffuse natural light.
If you are on a strict redecoration budget for your living room, decide on how much money you plan on spending on curtains and drapes to know what your limits are when it comes to high-end fabric finishes.
4. Adjust the Lighting and Bulbs
There are many people decorating their living room who do not realize the enormous impact of light in a space. A living room needs to have more than one light source, as you will need a brighter light for large gatherings and smaller light sources for intimate gatherings. Use lamps to bring the lighting down to your level, making it easy for you to curl up on a comfortable sofa with your favorite book and a cup of herbal tea.
Additionally, for a straightforward budget fix, switch from cool-toned fluorescent light bulbs to warmer bulbs. Avoid bright overhead lights and instead choose lamps with dimming options. Lamps will instantly make your space feel cozier by avoiding the bright hospital-like feel by creating a softer and diffused glow. Overhead lights can often introduce glare and make you feel awake rather than relaxed.
The higher the Kelvin (k), the colder the light seems. The bulb’s temperature tells you how warm (yellow) or how cold (blue) your lightbulb is. Cool white light is approximately 5000k, while warm white light is around 3000k. There is a reason you feel cozy when you look at the flame from a candle. The color temperature is approximately 1850k, which is considered very warm.
If you are on a budget, you can take Christmas fairy string lights and hang them along a window ledge or bookshelf to create a curtain of soft glow in your living room with a simple flick of the light switch. You can also add a long string of globe lights instead of fairy string lights for a bohemian vibe to your living room.
5. Light Up Your Fireplace or Place Candles Around
Continuing with the importance of lighting, placing candles to your living room decor and lighting them regularly adds an instant coziness factor to your room. Not only will scented candles smell good, but it will transform the mood of your living room with the soft and ambient glowing light.
If you have a functioning fireplace in your living room, you can light it up and use it for the winter’s ultimate coziness. However, if your home does not have a fireplace, you can substitute it with candles. You can also purchase an electric fireplace that can plugin and provide extra heat to your living room. A few models are available for sale with 3D log details and side windows with lighting, making it look like a real fireplace while keeping the room toasty warm.
6. Use Scented Candles or Scented Room Spray
Musty and stagnant air does not make for a cozy space. Set your living room’s mood by using candles or spraying some scented room spray. You can use woody scents or create a relaxed spa-like zen aesthetic with lavender and herby notes. Scents impact your mood and can help you unwind after a long day.
Some cozy and relaxing scents can include the following:
- Apple cinnamon, a signature scent for the winter holidays combining the warmth of spicy cinnamon and fresh apples
- Gingerbread, a great fragrance with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and warm vanilla
- Chocolate chip cookie, a memorable scent reminiscent of freshly baked cookies right out from the oven
- Cedarwood, a woodsy and earthy unisex scent
- Lavender, a smell with calming properties that allow you to unwind and release tension after a long day
- Jasmine, a floral scent that helps soothe and promotes relaxation
- Chamomile, a floral scent that promotes calmness and relaxation
Make sure to buy quality candles and the correct size for your living room. If you want the scent to fill your living room, then you will need a bigger candle or candles with multiple wicks for the smell to fill the entire space. Purchase three-wick candles to allow the larger candle to burn faster for the scent to cover the whole area. If your living room is slightly smaller, then a candle with a single wick should work well.
Additionally, if you purchase multiple candles, you should either buy the same candle or allow the candles to layer over each other and burn cohesively. You do not want to burn a mint-scented candle in the bathroom and then burn a sugar cookie candle in the living room as the two scents can potentially clash with each other. Instead, choose a specific undertone such as vanilla and decide on comparable undertones to complement the same vanilla scent family.
7. Create a Relaxation Nook
Designate a chair in your living room or a side of your sofa as your quiet and relaxation nook. Throw a soft and cuddly blanket to one side, and have a footrest available to make it extra comfortable. You want this nook to be inviting and look comfortable as the goal is to make this space one of your favorite places to be in your living room. By having this relaxing nook, you will soon associate the living room as the most comfortable place.
You want to feel comfortable and very relaxed in a cozy living room, so rather than using furniture with hard edges and straight lines, try having round coffee tables and rounded corners on sofas. Squishy cushions are a must to complement and soften rigid structures. Layer sofas with different cushions size while choosing complementary pillows but varying in differing textures or patterns. Comfortable seating opens up the living room for relaxation that allows you to unwind after a long day.
If you are looking to explore options other than sofas or chairs, try hanging a squishy hammock indoors for relaxation year-round. Not only is the furniture a fun statement piece for your home, but it can quickly become one of your favorite chairs to use in your living room. For a bohemian aesthetic, hang a macrame swing or macrame chair to create a quiet corner nook. A leather massage recliner is also a great investment purchase for those that want to kick back and relax with an intense body massage at the end of the day.
Use your furniture to complement each other. While you might want to push all your furniture pieces against the wall to make the living room seem more prominent, it can backfire and make it appear that you are in a waiting room at a hospital! For example, angle your armchair opposite the sofa and create a space that gives the furniture an impression of some intimacy despite having bought the furniture from different furniture stores.
8. Place Decorations Around
Place houseplants or bouquets of flowers to liven up your living room space. For instance, you might prefer to have flowers in springtime to make it feel more welcoming. Fresh flowers can seem like an expensive splurge, but a bouquet can last a while as long as you consistently trim the stems and change the water regularly.
You can also recycle the flowers by drying them out and creating potpourri with the dried flowers. This gives you more ways to use your bouquet of fresh flowers! In the winter, place dried pinecones or a small evergreen wreath on your coffee table to make your space feel cozy while keeping the season in mind.
Books can also make your living room feel more lived-in and cozy. Display stacks of books on your living room coffee table as a well-styled neat stack of books can be satisfying to look at. They add a warm personal touch to your space and are easy to make your home cozy on a budget. Place woven baskets containing stacks of books on your living room floor to add texture and depth to your space while being a functioning organizational tool.
Besides books and plants, decorate your living room with decor that is meaningful to you, such as framed photos of your family or items that are important to you. Your heart will be kept full of significant and warm memories as you get through the day.
Try to limit the number of decorations you have in the living room because there is a fine line you walk between a space being cluttered and a space being cozy. For instance, focus on high-quality items; one large photo placed purposefully on a side table rather than dozens of smaller photo frames placed randomly in the living room that can create cluttered chaos in space.
9. Consider Child and Pet-Friendly Choices
When styling a living room that is child and pet friendly, look for items that are easily machine washable, stain-resistant, indestructible synthetic fabric, or 100% cotton. You may not be able to use velvet curtains or velvet sofa covers as it tends to pick up pet hair quickly. Washability is probably the most critical component for any piece of fabric your pet will touch.
Leather or pleather furniture is a durable choice that is easy to clean. Depending on the colors, the furniture will make your living room feel cozy and has a timeless appeal. Despite carpet being one of the easiest ways for a living room to feel comfortable, avoid continuous loop carpets because a toenail can quickly unravel the carpet.
If you have a kennel for your dog and want to keep it in the living room, turn it into furniture. For instance, your pet’s kennel can act as a table base between your armchairs or place an elegant bed that is cohesive with the rest of your living room’s decor. Finding pillows or pet furniture that share similar finishes or textures with other vital items in your living room will allow it to blend into the background rather than becoming an awkward focal point.
Lastly, choose colors for your living room that are similar to your pet’s color. The hair they leave will not be as visible, and it is a practical interior design choice. Accommodating your kids’ and animal’s needs are a priority, so choose rugs that are vacuumed easily or invest in a strong vacuum that can pick up pet hair.
Clean up your living room and have all your items be placed in meaningful places. Stowaway any loose trinkets on trays or tuck them into baskets. Clutter can cause feelings of stress, which is not the vibe you are looking for in your living room. Invest in extra storage space and keep surfaces clear of any bills or unwashed bowls of food.
Only you know the best kind of environment that makes you happy and thrive. Use and process Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method and determine if the object in your living room “sparks joy.” Rather than living with things that fill up your living room, surround yourself with items you like.
11. Add a Sound System
If your living room is coming together, but something is still missing, try adding a sound system. Music can impact your mood and alter the space to make you feel more relaxed. Not only will having a proper sound system be helpful when entertaining guests, but playing natural sounds such as rainstorms or tropical forests can trigger comfortable, positive feelings when you are overwhelmed with stress.
Storms and rain sounds have a predictable pattern, which helps us process raindrops as a calming noise. Of course, relaxing for one person can easily create anxiety in others as rain can cause feelings of helplessness and stress. But at minimum, playing your favorite tunes is a great way to relax in your living room.
12. Purchase Affordable yet High-Quality Pieces
Try to purchase high-quality pieces that will last. You can also mix high-end items with budget pieces for a more cohesive feel for your living room. Additionally, purchasing the most expensive option does not necessarily mean that it will work the best for your living room’s aesthetic.
Scents on a Budget
For example, expensive candles do not necessarily mean that the item is the best quality. You can easily find scented candles or fragrances at your nearest drugstore or dollar store at highly discounted or at bargain prices. It might also be a fun weekend project to DIY scented items, such as creating bowls of potpourri with dried or fake flowers and scenting them with drops of your favorite essential oils.
You can also create simmering pots, also commonly known as stovetop potpourri. All it takes is simmering a pot of water with various spices, herbs, and fruits for hours. You probably already have enough ingredients at home in your spice pantry. It is a natural homemade scent that will make your entire home smell amazing. Take a step further and add wine or cider to make your home smell cozy and fresh.
Plants on a Budget
If you do not have a green thumb and find yourself despairing at the greenery amount, you somehow kill off, not to worry. Plants can get expensive, but there are many options if you are on a budget.
Ask for a plant cutting from your family and friends. These cut plant stems can develop roots and become entirely new plants and can give you fully grown plants in half the amount of time it takes for the plant to grow from the seed. While most cuttings depend on the plant, it mostly involves placing the cutting into a pot or a glass of water and waiting for the plants to establish roots, which can take up to approximately two months.
You can also get on store mailing lists at your nearest home improvement shop. They often have a “garden club,” and some stores send out BOGO coupons regularly or offer online discounts. These home improvement stores usually have a wide variety of plants for you to choose from and can be delivered to your home.
If growing and maintaining plants is intimidating, use fake greenery instead of livening up your space. Try staying away from plants that look extraordinarily fake and stretch your budget a bit for faux plants that look more realistic. There are many faux greenery that does not look cheap, and from a distance, you will not be able to tell that the items are fake.
Furniture on a Budget
If you plan on purchasing furniture for your living room, try going bargain hunting at consignment shops, salvage yards, craigslist, or charity stores where you can pick up items for cheap. Many people on craigslist will give away furniture for free as long as you have a vehicle or means to haul it away! Remember to check if the item is in good condition from a bed-bug free and smoke-free home.
While most furniture will require some repair, it is easy to refinish and reclaim furniture. Check the item to ensure that it does not have warped wood, water damage, or worms, and ensure that the furniture is strong enough to bear significant amounts of weight.
If the item’s foundation is trustworthy, refinishing furniture involves removing the paint using sandpaper or paint stripper and applying an oil-based stain or a new paint coat. While it can take long hours of labor, the finished product can often become cheaper than purchasing a similar piece of furniture online.
You might not even have to purchase a new sofa to make your living room feel cozier. If you have a standard size sofa or a sofa with a replaceable slipcover, you can buy a new slipcover in a softer material in a deep tone to give a warmer feel.
Your living room needs to be decorated and designed with comfort and coziness in mind. It needs to appeal to all your five senses and personal preference to make your living room create a relaxing ambiance. Think about what helps you relax and surround yourself with all the items and textures you love.
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- Tara Carr: My Fav Fall Scents For a Cozy Home with Bath and Body Works
- Homesick: 14 Calming Scents to Help You Unwind
- BargainBabe: Salvage Old Furniture
- Better Homes & Gardens: How to Start New Plants from Cuttings So You Can Fill Up Your Garden for Free
- Gathering Dreams: 3 Stovetop Potpourri Ideas That Will Make Your Home Smell Like Spring
- The Spruce: Rich and Warm Style Tips for Every Room
- Buzzfeed: 31 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy AF
- HGTV: 9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home
- The Bark: How to Keep Pets Comfortable at Home
- Kon Mari: Rule 6 Ask Yourself if It Sparks Joy
- Healthline: How the Sound of Rain Can Calm an Anxious Mind
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