Cosy Living Room Ideas
What is “cosy” anyway? We don’t associate it with minimalism, modernism or Avant-Garde: but we probably do associate it with our grandma’s living room, or a small cabin with warm blankets and hot chocolate. Now that’s cosy. We’ve been watching a lot of modern architecture documentaries lately, and what’s caught our eye is that modern design with materials like concrete and metal, or what one would have previously described as an industrial style are being described as being “cosy”.
Have people’s tastes changed? Or did the art of interior design come such a long way that it’s now able to capture and distil human elements in the rawest materials? Is it possible to have a cosy modern living room? Or a cosy minimalistic living room?
The answer is a resounding yes. Because design is for humans, and even the most spartan interiors can have an element of cosiness if we only let them, and think about what the “function of cosy” is. Let us give you a hand here:
Cosy: adjective: Giving a feeling of comfort, warmth and relaxation.
You don’t need flowered throw pillows and bunny slippers to make a room feel cosy – take our word for it:
Scandinavian Design and 50 Monochromatic Shades of Cosiness
Around the same time that Bouhous was really taking off in Germany, the “golden age of Scandinavian design” was going through an explosion – launched around 1914 in the Selskabet for Dekorativ Kunst in Denmark. House Beautiful magazine organized a travelling exhibition of Scandinavian Design in 1954, marking the official step into the mainstream.
The main principles of Scandinavian design when it comes to living rooms, sitting rooms, kitchens or just about any other place in your house are muted colours, no clutter, natural wood floors or accents, white walls, and functionality – which centres on the human feeling of comfort, warmth and relaxation. Sound familiar?
Scandinavian design today is still going strong and is in fact going through a Reinnasance. The idea of Hygge in both Scandinavian philosophy and design has caused quite a stir in mainstream society in the past number of years – classes, books and Hygge accessories became popular from the UK to the United States, France to Japan.
Hygge is a Danish concept and Meik Wiking, the CEO of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute says that what it really is is “the art of creating intimacy”. This is why we would love to share some concepts of Hygge when it comes to creating the perfect cosy living space – the Danish are complete pros at it, and there’s no better place to start.
The best choice for colour when it comes to getting those Hygge vibes are natural wall and accent colours. The idea is that you can create the feeling of cosiness by clearing your space and feeling close to nature – at peace.
Think of white walls with accents of natural wool blankets, raw pines, and faded linens with natural blue or green mugs, pillows or art.
How to make the best of natural materials
Turn to natural accents – but how? There are plenty of affordable hand-made rugs, fabrics and textiles that can be used in your Hygge design scheme.
- Natural hemp – for fabrics, blankets, placemats and rugs
- Grass – storage baskets, rugs and placemats
- Raw linen – raw linen provides cleanliness and warmth with woven textures and calmness – try it draped across your windows with stylish curtains, pillows or upholstery for your couch or sofa
- Wood – it’s time to rip that linoleum off the hardwood floors and make them shine again – raw wood, especially soft pine is prevalent in Scandinavian design and ties everything back to nature. You can add a warm, wooden accent to living rooms with no hardwood floors – in the form of a coffee table, a gallery wall with natural frames, a sofa with a wooden structure or raw wooden doors.
- Natural wool – Wool is easy to sneak into a room – especially if it’s a natural wool rug, or a cosy waffle knit blanket that’s draped across the couch just ready for you to snuggle up with a cup of tea.
Getting Comfortable With Your Tea – Sectionals, Chairs and Sofas
Speaking of tea, the whole idea of cosiness means that people have to feel welcome and not be afraid to sit down and make themselves comfortable. So many modern interiors are put together like museums – and guests might feel that making themselves comfortable will somehow disturb the design and feel of this ideal home. How do you make a modern interior feel cosy without giving up the interior design?
The trick is to arrange the seating area in the living room in a way that invites people in – a well-arranged sectional sofa, with a coffee table and cosy lighting that invites people to the space, and will have a cosy effect. Interior designers have to think “people first” even if they are working with designer furniture – remember that form should follow function, and the function here is to be welcoming and warm.
Sectional couches are probably the best solution for cosy sitting areas and lounge spaces because they have an embracing feel – they bring people together closely. If you add some mood lighting and even a naked flame: a few candles lit on strategically placed candlesticks or a bright fireplace will transform your living room. It will become warm and welcoming – certainly a place where you’ll want to spend the whole evening on the sofa with a book, with a wool throw around your shoulders.
Mediterranean Climate Style Type of Cosy
There’s something that makes a home cosy when you look out the window and see the rain or snow – with the knowledge that you can curl up in the sitting room and warm yourself by the fireplace. Yes – it’s the warmth and comfort that can make a cosy living room. But what about when you are in a warm place already?
Cosy living room design ideas from warm climates are truly astounding and inspiring – we look for inspiration to Mexico, California, Israel and the Mediterranean. Sometimes you have to cool your lounge space down in order to make it feel warm and inviting!
We find the motif of wooden shades in many cosy boho style living rooms. They have a few different functions – first, they give you shade and protect you from the bright afternoon sun. They do it while still letting the cool breeze inside. This is a perfect way to tame summer days that are too hot. These types of shades are used in all sorts of interior styles from modern to antique – but they always give a feeling of calm and safety from heat, creating the perfect sitting space. These types of wooden shades are extremely popular in traditional and modern houses in the Middle East.
Natural cushion covers for outside seating
A great way to make your outside sitting space more comfy and cosy is to add natural cushion covers that make it easy to make yourself comfortable, especially if you have rather tough outdoor sofas or lounge chairs.
Let there be light
Cosy doesn’t mean dark – let’s just put that misconception to bed forever. In our experience, a lot of people have a misconception of dark fire-lit places being the only ones fit to claim to be “cosy”. Warm filtered sunlight will give any living room a feeling of openness and welcome – you just have to know how to include it in your living room design ideas. If you have large windows but want privacy you don’t have to give up the light – you can use paper-thin shades that will still give the room white daylight and make it feel more open.
A great rug or blanket can become a focal point of any cosy room – and give it more character too. Besides, living room rugs that have a light and natural colour are perfect for warm climates, where people are bound to be walking around freely with their shoes off. A soft sitting room rug that’s made out of natural organic textiles – Mexican handwoven textiles are amazingly versatile and will give your room a splash of colour if you don’t want to stick to a muted palette. The bright pinks, yellows and azure blues will give the perfect accent and a touch of hand-made texture to any room. Also, you can use them for cushions, pillows and wall decor as well.
There are a few things that can feel as cold and impersonal as empty white walls. A cosy living room doesn’t need to be the next Louvre, but a few well-placed artworks, posters or photos here and there will give it a more personalized, warm feel.
Fireplace for Every Type of Space
A fireplace is one of the most versatile interior design elements that you can have inside of your home. Whether your style is minimalistic, industrial or you’re going for the country living room look, a fireplace will give it the warmth and comfort that you need to make any living room cosy. It will be the focal point where people can gather around the fire and feel closer to one another. Some styles to consider that will fit all sorts of living room ideas are:
- Potbellied stove
- Classic brick fireplace
- Modern hanging fireplace
- Retro cone fireplace
- Apartment-friendly alcohol-fueled fireplace
Let’s face it – living rooms with fireplaces get extra “cosy points” with us.
Furniture for a Cosy Living Room
There are a few furniture items that will make any living room a warmth-magnet and a great place to curl up with a book or have a seat and carry on intimate conversations for hours. Let’s take a look at some of those!
Chairs – a cosy living room needs some deep and comfy chairs for letting your guests and coinhabitants be at ease.
Beanbags and things – you don’t have to go for classic chairs – a lot of people feel cosy when they’re lounging around on their favourite fluffy rug, or sitting close to the floor. It reminds us of our childhood days and it’s only natural. There are a lot of beanbags that will fit your decor whether you’re going for the sophisticated look or a care-free and child-friendly type of warmth.
Rugs – what makes you comfortable? There are different textures that make different people feel at ease. For some, it’s a simple and natural look while others feel ready to kick off their shoes and get comfortable on the soft and fluffy texture of a pompom rug. Sometimes, a cosy living room is just a matter of individual taste.
Lamps – cosiness is all about setting the mood – with cushions, shades, but sometimes you will have to do it with light. A well-placed floor lamp will have a lovely effect – and table lamps will also add romantic and warm light when you want to turn the main lights off. A table lamp is conducive to reading, focusing on those who are closest to us and getting us feeling warm and cosy!
In the end, it’s up to us what feels “cosy” or not. Bright, light comfortable spaces for your living room, or more quiet and toned down places where you can relax with a book in front of a fire. The very essence of creating a cosy living room lies in what makes us the most comfortable – the most likely to kick our shoes off and forget about our hard days, work-related stresses, family feuds and disagreements with friends. Perhaps in this day and age, we really need a cosy makeover for our living room and a newfound inner focus on what makes us truly happy.