How to Create a Cozy Living Room

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SOURCE: House & Home

 

One of the frustrations for homeowners is how to create warmth in their space. We particularly want a cozy living room but how do you achieve that? This is often true for homeowners who have just wrapped up a renovation. There can be that feeling that once the reno is complete the space will look exactly as you want. You’re waiting for that big HGTV reveal moment but unless you hired your designer for the structural work and the styling, it can be a major let down. 

The issue that occurs after a renovation is that the building materials might be new and sleek but we create warmth through the layer that comes after the renovation. Warmth is achieved in a very different way and requires texture and cohesiveness. Whether you’re just finishing your own renovation or you’re looking for ways to enhance what you currently have, here are my best tips for creating a cozy space in your home.

 

LET’S CREATE A COZY LIVING ROOM (STEP BY STEP)

Black and white living room

SOURCE: Craftberry Bush

 

Just like any successful project, the planning stage is the most important to its success. Don’t rush out the door to HomeSense before you’ve had a chance to nail down the design. Here are the steps to any good design:

 

1/ CREATE A PLAN 

The more time you spend considering what you want your living room to look and feel like, the easier it will be. Do you want a cozy space for a family to watch movies or a cozy space to spend quality time with your partner? The difference is huge in terms of the materials you select and the overall mood of the space. Don’t be so eager to get going that you overlook the planning stage. If you do this right and spend the time here the rest of it will flow quickly and easily.

 

2/ CONSIDER COLOUR 

Create a colour palette using 3-4 colours and try to stick to that when shopping and styling. When we add more than 3 or 4 colours it can become a bit chaotic. This is the antithesis to the calm you’re trying to create. 

Use the colour palette that you love but do remember that colour can evoke emotional responses from us. Warm neutrals are most highly associated with calm so if that’s the feeling you want don’t go too bold in your palette.

 

3/ WHAT ARE ALL THE USES OF THIS ROOM? 

If this room is a homework space, a tv watching space, somewhere to read and an occasional office you’ll have a hard time creating cozy. If your room is a work horse the first thing to do is list all its uses. Now you can figure out how to store items when not in use. It might require some additional storage to be purchased or built but removing the visual clutter is the first step to creating what you’re craving. This will allow the room to feel cozy instead of crowded.

 

4/ SAY NO TO SHOPPING 

In order to create a cozy living room you want to fill it so that it doesn’t feel sparse. You also have to know when enough is enough and stop bringing more things into the space. There’s a happy place in between sparse and cramped and that’s where cozy lives.

Start by removing all the decor items from your space. With your new plan in mind, add in the pieces that are appropriate to your design goals. And then once you’ve used what you can you’ll create a shopping list of the pieces you need. 

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIVING ROOM FEEL COZY

So the design goal is mapped out and you know what your palette is as well as how to incorporate the needs of your entire family. There are a few designer tips that will accelerate your plans for that cozy living room. 

1/ FABRICS WITH TEXTURE

 

Living room with arched doorway

SOURCE: All Sorts Of

 

You may immediately think of pillows and throw blankets but it’s more than that. A chair upholstered in faux fur or a sofa with a soft nubbly finish can create instant warmth in your living room. Pay attention to materials of every piece that’s being used in your space.

Carpets are one of the easiest (though not cheapest) ways to bring a feeling of cozy into your space. Try to avoid flat weave and go for something luscious. If you do have to go for flat weave because of pets, look for rugs that have a luminescence to them. Faux silk rugs work beautifully because they create a lot of light and movement. Wool carpets that have some thickness create an instant feeling of cozy. Wool is also the easiest to clean so don’t be afraid of it. 

 

2/ LAYERS 

 

 

SOURCE: Pulp Design Studios

 

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that the building materials are the foundation of our room. After that, we want to add in the soft layer and this is what will create the cozy feeling you’re looking for. 

Consider your coffee table and how to style it. Instead of just throwing down a vase and a coffee table book, let’s add another layer. Start with a tray, add the larger pieces like books and vases. Now add a 3rd layer and put a small object or a candle on top of the book. It’s the layering that creates the warmth.

 

3/ USE RUGS THAT ARE THE RIGHT SIZE 

living room with white sofa and walnut coffee table

SOURCE: Pinterest

 

The fastest way to add warmth to a living room is through area rugs BUT make sure you’re using the right size. One of the most common design mistakes I see is using rugs that are too small. There’s almost never an instance where a 5×7 is going to work in your living room. It’s usually 8×10 or even 9×12 that’s required and yes, it does cost more but it’ll be worth the expense. The wrong size can actually have the opposite effect to what you’re trying to achieve. It can look cheap and you’re actually better off with no carpet than a too-small option.

You want to ensure that the rug is big enough that it sits under every piece of furniture in the conversation area. If you have a bookcase off the side, don’t try to include that. Be sure that the coffee table, side tables and all upholstered pieces are even partially on the rug.

 

4/ USE WARM COLOURS 

Traditional living room with oak built in

SOURCE: Jean Stoffer

 

It makes sense that if you’re trying to create a warm, cozy environment that the colours should be warm. It doesn’t matter whether you want to go light or dark but avoid colours on the cool side. This usually means colours that have gray undertones because that’s what creates the cool feeling in a colour. You can use colours that you might think of as cool like blue but just be sure that it’s a warm blue and not a cool blue.

 

5/ CREATE LAYERS OF LIGHTING 

 

SOURCE: Hamilton Park Home

 

 

If you just use overhead lighting in your living room it can feel a bit harsh. This isn’t going to create the cozy feeling you’re after. Instead, use layers of lighting and incorporate various types of lighting into the room. Read more about the 3 types of lighting you need in every room.

 

6/ ADD WINDOW COVERINGS 

 

 

Vaulted ceiling with beams

SOURCE: Amber Lewis via Pinterest

 

Adding in a layer of fabric to your windows will give you an instantaneous feeling of warmth. We tend to focus so much on the furniture that we forget about the vertical space in a room. Our walls and windows are often contributing to the starkness that we feel in a room but we rarely consider them. Whether you add a bamboo blind or do custom drapery, something on those windows will create instant warmth.

 

7/ THE FINISHING TOUCHES – SIGHT & SMELL

 

Neutral living room with turquoise pillows

 

It seems simplified to mention adding candles but they do play a huge role in creating a cozy living room. Candles offer a level of low light that can’t be reproduced with any other lighting. 

Lastly, pay attention to the scent in your room. Include a signature scent by bringing in a diffuser. This is a subtle way to create an emotional connection via our sense of smell. 

I hope that gives you everything you need to go out and create that cozy living room that you’ve been dreaming of. If you need additional help, contact me. Let’s discuss working together to build that dream space.

 

If you know your design style but you struggle with which paint to use, take a look at my Made-For-You paint palettes. They take the guesswork out and give you the confidence to get started.

 

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