Great living rooms come in all sizes, shapes, forms, styles, and colors, but the one essential quality they all have in common is coziness. The living room is, after all, where you do your living—so you may as well optimize it for cuddling up and getting comfy, whatever that may mean to you. And while there are no hard and fast rules for making a room cozy, there are a few designer tricks we see again and again. Ahead, get inspired by 18 cozy living room examples, and jot down your favorite cozy trends and ideas to try in your own space.
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Give It a Golden Glow
This sunny living room designed by Thomas Callaway exudes warmth, despite the grand size and ceiling height. Callaway broke the room into zones to enhance intimacy and then used soft buttery glaze on the walls to give the room a golden glow, and layered rich yet mellow fabrics.
Separate an Open Space
A modular sofa, white painted paneling, and loose, beachy layered materials give this living room a laidback and cozy personality that still feels sharp. And, because the living room shares space with the kitchen and dining room within a larger open floor plan, Studio DIAA installed a curtain. The semi-sheer fabric ensures plenty of light but also a sense of privacy.
Embrace Size and Existing Pieces
If you have a smaller living room—or if you’re in a rental and trying to figure out how to incorporate existing quirks, like funky tiles— take note of this living room designed by Arent & Pyke. First of all, the snug room manages to pack enough seating and surface space in, yet doesn’t look overcrowded. And the firm incorporated the eccentric tiles around the firebox by painting light pink columns on the mantel and choosing a gorgeous Art Deco floral rug in complementary colors. The geometric cube table and contemporary lighting modernize the room. The end result proves that it’s best to embrace and elevate what you have instead of fighting with it.
Layer Textures and Styles
While colors can help cozy up a room, it’s not the only route. Take this neutral-toned living room by Kristin Fine, for example. Soft and texture-rich upholstery mix with cream paint, rustic wood pieces, and plenty of antique accents to make a surprisingly modern impression. Best yet, Fine demonstrates that you can have a television above the fireplace (movie marathons = instant cozy vibes) without making it the visual focal point. She created custom sliding plaster doors, and the asymmetrical design makes them look like abstract art.
Stick to One Color
Mirroring all your walls to bounce light is a sure-fire way to make a room feel bigger. And we’re here for that design trick, but we also love that designer Benjamin Dhong did so in a way that doesn’t stifle the cozy feeling of a small space. The green monochrome approach prevents the room from looking busy while a distressed treatment on the fireplace mantel and rich velvets warm it up.
Pile On the Throws
A chunky knit throw blanket, a leaning ladder to display and store extra textiles in a dimensional way, and plenty of plush throw pillows bring a softness to the edgier elements in this living room designed by Jeffrey Dungan, like the coffee table and sideboard.
Spotlight a Piano
A warm wood piano will automatically make a grand living room a cozier angle since it encourages gathering and general merry-making. Corals, grays, and brass tones work well to give this living room designed by Mona Hajj a more dynamic yet also more approachable color story.
Make It Family-Friendly
A scraggly stone fireplace surround, rustic exposed beams, and layered rugs make this living room approachable and comfy enough for the whole family to enjoy—
even, especially the dog!
Balance Robust Pieces With Svelte Frames
This living room designed by Brigette Romanek makes another strong case for wall-to-wall bookshelves. The iridescent velvets and plush Art Deco carpet make the room feel like your kindest and coolest friend. The svelte-legged seating prevents it from feeling overstuffed.
Add a Home Bar
Nothing puts gets at ease and ready for a good time like a home bar in the living room. Designer John Fondas turned a shallow closet into an out-of-the-way bar nook with tons of wall storage by removing the doors and building-in cabinets as well as side shelves. The nautical and aquatic motifs are perfect for a Palm Beach party house.
Fill the Room With Books
A wall-spanning built-in bookcase made of warm wood instantly personalizes this modern living room designed by Studio Shamshiri. Neutral and moody with plenty of nods to nature and big windows that let the light pour in, this living room is both formal enough to entertain guests and cozy enough to really make yourself at home and unwind. We’re also digging the accent chaise instead of a classic armchair.
Angle Chairs Towards a Fireplace
In this Boston Brownstone living room designed by Jae Joo, everything revolves around the fireplace. IF you can’t fit a large sectional and a single couch looks awkward slash stifles interpersonal interactions, opt for two extra large and extra comfy club chairs with ottomans. Angle them inward and towards the focal point (in this case, the fireplace), and then put a small side table between them instead of a large coffee table in front of them. Fireside chats ahead!
We’ve loving the contrast of the whimsical tiles and realist painting that are also somehow complementary because of a shared color palette in this living room by Madeline Stuart. Two small sofas facing each other ensure good conversation, but also provide a cozy spot to curl up with a good book by the fire and natural light.
Play Up Period Pieces
The sheepskin throw under the coffee table in this living room designed by Christian Burch and John Frenchette brings a softer and deeper element to the space. We’re also loving how the pair played-up period pieces, like the Flinestone-esque walls and wood-burning fireplace.
Opt for a Quirky Layout
Speaking of funny angles, this eclectic living room designed by Montreal-based Les Ensembliers is making a case for a unique layout. The sofas are all configured at an angle to break up the monotony of a classic, symmetrical living room, and all the fun, luxe fabrics warm up the open and airy space. Aesthetically, it’s refreshing and unique, which in turn, gives the formal sitting room unpretentious, fun energy that inspires creativity and puts guests at ease.
Nestle Into a Corner
Though we’re big believers in floating furniture, this small Manhattan apartment designed by Miles Redd proves that it’s not always the best approach. The wallpaper is hung horizontally rather than vertically for a modern look, and to make the room feel more expansive, a luxe blue sofa, brass mirrored coffee table, and striking art ensures that it also feels formal.
Mix Black and Gold
Dark black walls and lots of warm gold and caramel tones make this living room designed by Ariene Bethea super cozy but also formal and regal—the ideal balance if your living room doubles as the family room.
Encourage Floor Hangs
In a bohemian living room, pretty much anything goes—but if you need some guidance, try applying this formula: daybed plus side chair, armchair, floor pillows, and a couple of stools. In this case, Commune Design also incorporated a statement rug and task lighting.
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