How to create a cosy living room to retreat to when it gets chilly outside
Get cosy at home this winter by creating a comfy nest in the sitting room. Even if you’re not planning to renovate, there are still some simple things you can do to usher in that warm and welcoming vibe.
Consider the curtains
When it gets dark, the stark panes of a window can seem rather cold, so it’s a good idea to get your window treatments sorted in time for cosy nights in.
Richly textured fabrics, such as velvet or chenille, can make the room feel snug when they’re pulled. Make sure you fit a strong pole to hold heavier fabrics.
For a lighter option, natural linen has a gorgeous texture, and has the added bonus of allowing sunlight to shine through it during the day.
If you have the storage space and budget, you could even have two sets of window dressings that you change with the seasons – a little like digging your winter coat out of the wardrobe.
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Windows in older houses can let in some persistent draughts, which will definitely reduce your enjoyment of a snug evening.
If you have old sash windows, it will pay off in the long term to have them reconditioned and insulated. However, it can be costly, so in the meantime, visit your local DIY store to find a variety of draught-excluding products, such as foam sealants (available as a tape or spray), or the more expensive but longer-lasting metallic or plastic brush strips.
Another culprit behind the uninvited icy gust is the floor. Original wood floorboards can look very impressive, but there are often large gaps between the boards that contribute to the chill factor. A thick rug may inhibit some unwanted airflow, but for something even better, check out draught-excluding products, such as expanding rubber tubes that you squish between the gaps with a roller.
Bring in some zing
When it’s grey outside, colour inside becomes even more important. With just a few accessories, you can visually add warmth to a room, so boost a neutral scheme with bright-hued cushions, flowers and ornaments.
In this grey scheme, your eye is immediately drawn to the streaks of orange (the colour of a fireside glow, after all) in the cushions. They make sitting on this sofa seem super-inviting.
Don’t be afraid of the dark
If you’re planning to redecorate, it’s tempting to use lighter tones to give a brighter feel to the room. However, the reverse can be more effective if you want you living room to feel cosy.
There are some stunning sombre paint colours available right now, so be brave and opt for a grey-green or blue, or even a charcoal. Darker tones seem to pull the walls in to envelope the room in a big hug for the ultimate in snug surroundings.
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Make a flickering focal point
Not every home has a fireplace – perhaps yours has been taken out, the flues are unsuitable, or you have a modern home that’s never had one. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the flicker of flames.
Curate a collection of candles to provide a glowing focal point in your living room. If you’re using real candles, make sure the surfaces beneath are protected against wax drips and heat. Alternatively, use battery-powered candles that will still provide a glow without the worry of fire.
Light it up
The way you light your living room will have a massive impact on its cosiness rating. Low-wattage bulbs, which create golden pools of light, are the best option.
One central light will be too strong, so experiment with table and standard lamps in different positions until you get the illumination you need. And don’t relegate fairy lights to the Christmas tree – drape them over a mirror or mantelpiece to add a gorgeous twinkle.
Add some shine
When you’ve achieved your shimmery lighting nirvana, you can enhance the gleam with some reflective surfaces.
Mirrors are an obvious choice, as they send light bouncing around the room and double up on the sparkle. Shiny metallic finishes are also very effective, so choose metal picture frames, ornaments or candle holders. Opt for brass or copper over chrome if you have the choice, as they’re warmer in tone than the cooler silver shades.
Layer on textiles
Sofas with a tumble of cushions are always appealing to sink into, but for the ultimate haven, drape a few soft wool or faux fur blankets over the sofa arm or back.
If you have bare boards on the floor or a simple flatweave carpet, consider introducing a fluffy rug in the colder months, too, to warm the toes.
How have you made sure your living room is cosy and welcoming? Share your ideas in the Comments section.