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18 cozy living room decorating ideas and examples from designers

Large living rooms come in all sizes, shapes, forms, styles and colors, but the essential quality they all have in common is comfort. The living room is, after all, where you live, so you might as well optimize it for snuggling up and getting cozy, whatever that means to you. And while there are no hard and fast rules for making a room comfortable, there are some designer tricks we see time and time again. Ahead, get inspired by 18 examples of cozy living rooms and jot down your favorite comfort trends and ideas to try in your own space.

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Give it a golden shine

This sunny living room designed by Thomas Callaway exudes warmth, despite the large size and high ceilings. Callaway divided the room into zones to enhance privacy, then used soft buttercream glaze on the walls to give the room a golden glow, and layered rich but plush fabrics.

Separating an open space

A sectional sofa, white painted wainscoting, and loose, beachy layered materials give this living room a relaxed, cozy personality that stays sharp. And, because the living room shares space with the kitchen and dining room in a larger open floor plan, DIAA studio installed a curtain. The semi-transparent fabric ensures a lot of light but also a feeling of privacy.

Adopt existing size and parts

If you have a smaller living room or are in a rental and are trying to figure out how to incorporate existing quirks, like funky tiles, take note of this living room designed by Arent and Pyke. First, the cozy room manages to hold enough seating and surface space, but doesn’t feel overcrowded. And the company incorporated the quirky tiles around the firebox by painting light pink columns on the mantel and choosing a beautiful Art Deco floral rug in complementary colors. The geometric cube table and contemporary lighting modernize the room. The end result proves that it’s better to embrace and uplift what you have than fight with it.

Textures and layer styles

Although colors can help create a comfortable room, it’s not the only way. Take this neutral-toned living room by Kristine Fine, for example. Soft, texture-rich upholstery mixes with cream paint, rustic wood pieces and lots of antique accents to give a surprisingly modern feel. Even better, Fine demonstrates that you can have a TV above the fireplace (movie marathons = instant cozy ambiance) without making it the visual focal point. She created custom plaster sliding doors, and the asymmetrical design makes them look like abstract art.

Stick to one color

Reflecting all of your walls to bounce light is a surefire way to make a room look bigger. And we’re here for this design tip, but we also love this designer Benjamin Dong did it in a way that doesn’t stifle the cozy feeling of a small space. The green monochromatic approach keeps the room from looking busy while a distressed treatment on the fireplace mantel and rich velvets warm it up.

Stack on throws

A chunky knit blanket, a leaning ladder to display and store additional textiles dimensionally, and plenty of plush throw pillows lend softness to the bolder elements of this Jeffrey Dungan-designed living room, like the coffee table and sideboard.

Lighting up a piano

A warm wooden piano will automatically make a large living room a cozier corner as it encourages gatherings and general revelry. Coral, gray and brass tones work well to give this living room designed by Mona Hajj a more dynamic but also more accessible color story.

Make it family

A ruffled stone fireplace, rustic exposed beams, and layered rugs make this living room approachable and cozy enough for the whole family to enjoy—same, especially the dog!

Balance sturdy pieces with svelte frames

This living room designed by Brigitte Romanek is another strong argument for wall-to-wall shelving. Iridescent velvets and plush Art Deco carpeting make the room your cutest, coolest friend. The slender-legged seat prevents it from feeling overloaded.

Add a home bar

Nothing sets you up and sets you up for a good time like a home bar in the living room. Designate John Fondas transformed a shallow closet into a tucked away bar nook with tons of wall storage by removing doors and inset cabinets along with side shelves. Nautical and aquatic designs are perfect for a Palm Beach party house.

Fill the room with books

A warm wooden built-in wall bookcase instantly personalizes this modern living room designed by Shamshiri Studio. Neutral and moody with lots of nods to nature and large windows that let in the light, this living room is both formal enough to entertain guests and cozy enough to really feel at home and relax. We also dig the extra daybed instead of a classic armchair.

Corner chairs by a fireplace

In this Boston Brownstone living room designed by JaeJoo, everything revolves around the fireplace. If you can’t fit a large section and just one sofa seems awkward, the slash stifles interpersonal interaction, go for two extra large and extra comfy club chairs with ottomans. Angle them inward and toward the focal point (in this case, the fireplace), then place a small side table between them instead of a large coffee table in front of them. Fireside chat to come!

Confrontation

We love the contrast of whimsical tiles and realistic paint which are also somehow complementary due to a shared color palette in this living room by Madeleine Stuart. Two small facing sofas ensure good conversation, but also offer a comfortable place to curl up with a good book by the fireplace and natural light.

Play period pieces

The sheepskin throw under the coffee table in this living room designed by Christian Burch and John Frenchette brings a softer, deeper element to the space. We also love how the pair played up period pieces, like the Flinestone-esque walls and wood-burning fireplace.

Opt for a quirky layout

Speaking of fun angles, this eclectic living room designed by the Montrealer The Ensemblers pleads for a single layout. The sofas are all angled to break up the monotony of a classic, symmetrical living room, and all the fun, luxurious fabrics warm up the open, airy space. Aesthetically, it is refreshing and unique, giving the formal living room a fun, unpretentious energy that inspires creativity and puts guests at ease.

Nestle in a corner

While we’re big believers in floating furniture, this tiny Manhattan apartment designed by Miles Red proves that this is not always the best approach. The wallpaper is hung horizontally rather than vertically for a modern look, and to make the room appear larger, a plush blue sofa, brass mirrored coffee table and striking artwork ensure a formal feel.

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 perfect balance if your living room doubles as a family room.

Encourage floor suspensions

In a bohemian living room, just about anything goes, but if you need advice, try applying this formula: daybed plus accent chair, armchair, floor cushions and a few stools. In this case, Communal design also incorporated a statement rug and task lighting.

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