Winter living room ideas – 12 looks for a cozy and cocooning environment
Let us guide you through our winter living room ideas so you can create a comforting, warming and snug space to sit back and relax in during the cold winter months
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Our winter living room ideas are here to show you how you can design and style your space so it wraps you in a warming and inviting embrace during the cold winter months.
We spend so much more of our time indoors during winter, especially in our living rooms. A multipurpose area where we socialize as well as rest and unwind, a living room is often the heart of the home for many, and our living room ideas need to be able to cater to the demands of this busy space throughout the changing seasons.
Your living room should always be a haven of relaxation, comfort and coziness, but during winter when the outdoors is cold, dark and uninviting, these factors become even more important; so our winter living room ideas will show you how you can establish the snuggest of spaces to enjoy throughout wintertime.
Winter living room ideas – 12 ways to dress your space for the season
From the right color palettes to use to cozy materials and accessories to style with, explore our winter living room ideas for some beautiful inspiration and expert advice.
1. Layer plenty of texture
'Texture in interior design is all about creating tactile moments that invite touch,' says Tiffany Leigh, of Tiffany Leigh Design (opens in new tab). 'It refers to the feel, appearance or consistency of a surface or material. The use of texture in interior design also helps to keep a space from feeling flat or one dimensional.'
Creating a cozy living room rich in layered materials and textures will not only add depth and visual interest to your living room, it will make it feel more comfortable, inviting and tactile, wonderfully shown in this living room designed by Heidi Caillier Design (opens in new tab).
From a soft rug underfoot, to seating styled with cozy cushions and throws, these additions will work together as one to establish a layered design that is warming and homey.
2. Think about your lighting
With their delicate interplay between function and form, a winter living room will greatly benefit from a well-executed decorative living room lighting scheme.
As the days become shorter and darker, having the right lighting in your home is not only important on a practical level during winter, but your lighting atmosphere can help with your wellbeing and for creating a comforting and cozy ambience.
Think carefully how you use your living room and the different lighting that each zone requires. 'Consider how the light changes throughout the day and then position lights to create the most impact,' says interior decorator Nicola Harding. (opens in new tab)
Think about flexible light sources for different situations, 'a floor light with a swivel arm is ideal as an evening reading lamp behind a living room sofa or chair,' says Hollie Moreland, creative director of David Hunt Lighting (opens in new tab), with cozy lamps, fairy lights and candles creating more soft, decorative lighting; ideal for when relaxing in the evening.
Decorate using darker color palettes
‘Don’t be scared to use dark colors in a gloomy, small living room,' says Natalia Forbes and Louisa Rix, co-founders, Forbes Rix Design (opens in new tab). 'It’s never going to look light, so choose a rich color and the effect can be truly transformative.’
Mike Fisher, creative director and founder of Studio Indigo (opens in new tab) agrees, ‘we believe north-facing rooms should be painted a dark or strong color, like brown or black, to make it more cocooning, and those on the south side in lighter colors. The thinking is where you have darkness you should bring color, warmth and joy.’
A darker color palette can be incredibly grounding, and perfect for creating a cocooning atmosphere for your winter living room ideas.
4. Embrace the warmth of natural materials and textures
From a thick knitted blanket crafted from warming wool, to a stand-out lounge chair upholstered in sheepskin, these natural materials are not only inherently durable and great insulators, they look beautiful, too.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, wood may not be as soft as sheepskin, but embracing the warming tones of natural timber across furniture pieces or for wood floor ideas for a living room, can bring in elegant texture and a deep color to the space.
5. Consider your window treatments
Curtains can not only enrich a room with tactile texture and beautiful color and pattern, but they can offer warmth and insulation. Living room drape ideas can work well for winter living room ideas as drape designs are often crafted from much heavier, thicker materials, adding a luxurious touch to your windows that is also perfect for winter.
Another option to explore is shutter ideas, with wooden shutters offering effective insulation in homes of all ages. Sally Denyer, digital marketing manager at Shutterly Fabulous (opens in new tab) explains, 'windows are a major source of heat loss in the home, therefore one practical solution to help with heat insulation is to fit bespoke window shutters. The correct size shutter can prevent over half of all heat lost through windows, keeping cold draughts under control even in older houses. Incorporating any style of shutter in a space will help with warmth, but solid wood panel shutters especially are the most effective as they aren't louvered.'
Layering your windows with multiple window treatments, such as using curtains and shutters, or curtains and blinds, can also provide you with more flexible dressings for your windows throughout the changing seasons.
6. Prep your fireplace
Prepping your chimney, fireplace or wood-burning stove for winter is an essential task to complete each year, especially when winterizing a house, and can make all the difference when enjoying your winter living room.
Fireplaces and chimneys require regular upkeep, so ensure to keep track of when yours needs checking and cleaning so you can have cozy evenings by the fire with no hassle.
Vicky Naylor, General Manager at ACR Stoves (opens in new tab) advises, 'if you are looking into maintaining a chimney, then this is always best done in the spring or summer months so you are ready to use your fireplace as soon as the cooler weather arrives. Always make sure that your chimney is swept at least once a year to make sure there are no blockages or build up of soot.'
7. Rearrange furniture around a fireplace
The fireplace is the focal point of a winter living room – the place around which family and friends naturally congregate for an evening to converse and relax, the hub that beckons us with its welcome warmth and light during the colder months.
'A living room fireplace is more than just an architectural decision,' muses Monique Tollgard, founder of Tollgard (opens in new tab). 'A fire is a ritual you add to your home and your life.'
Re-work your living room layout as winter draws near. Arrange seating in a sociable set-up with the fireplace as the focal point and add layers of throws, blankets and cushions atop a sofa or armchair for added warmth and comfort.
8. Style the space with winter plants and flowers
We often associate beautiful blooms with spring decor ideas, but styling with foliage and winter plants and flowers can not only make our homes feel festive, but it carries on that beautiful connection with the outside world throughout the seasons – important for many as we often spend less time outdoors in wintertime.
Below, gardening expert and Period Living editor, Rachel Crow, provides some guidance on the best types of plants and flowers to have in your home during winter.
'There is a wealth of houseplants to choose from that will add color and interest to a living room during the winter months. Flowering options include the likes of cyclamen, Anthurium andraeanum, Christmas cactus – which, contrary to its name, does not only flower in the holidays – forced hyacinths, which look lovely arranged in a display on a sideboard or coffee table, and the perennially popular orchid.
For interesting foliage, you are equally spoilt for choice, whether you choose from the wide range of pothos, trailing from a hanging basket or scrambling up a post, to the variegated and colorful leave variations of aglaonema, or eye-catching leaf form of monstera or sansevieria.'
9. Focus on scent
One of Kelly Wearstler's top tips for styling a winter living room, the scent of a space can really make or break how we feel when we first step foot into a space.
From the fresh smell of flowers and Christmas foliage, to scented candles and festive aromas created through traditional decorations of oranges and cinnamon sticks, ensuring that your winter living room smells wonderful will only make it a more inviting and pleasurable space to sit in and enjoy.
For some further inspiration on how you can get your home smelling lovely, explore our guides on the best candles and best home fragrances, with top designs tested and reviewed by our product experts.
You can never have too many candles, and a luxurious scented candle can not only smell amazing, they can look beautiful, too.
Featuring Anya Hindmarch's iconic eye design, this scented candle can fill a room with a sweet, fruity scent, with notes of Blackcurrant Leaves, Geranium, Juniper, Green Mandarin, Rose, Peony and Musk.
10. Hang a festive wreath
The classic wreath can often be far too beautiful to be left out in the cold for Christmas door decor ideas, so if you decide to display one inside, consider how its foliage will work with your winter living room.
A design like this seed head and moss creation has a wonderfully pale and ethereal look, making it the ideal focal point for a darker corner in your home. In this setting, the curved shape of the Demilune table echoes the circular wreath, while the white bowl picks up on the highlighted areas of foliage above.
If you are looking for other options to add pale tones to a wreath, consider integrating white heather or snowberry as both will stand out in darker areas.
11. Dress your mantel with fall foliage
Once you've prepped your chimney and cleaned your fireplace and stove, it's time for the fun bit! A mantel provides the perfect platform to house a unique winter display, and if you thought fall foliage was only for your Christmas wreath ideas, think again, it can create a beautiful natural display for mantel decor ideas.
‘A shot of in-season foliage above the living room fireplace brings the eye up and makes a great statement on a mantel,’ says interior designer Cindy Rinfret (opens in new tab). ‘It should highlight the gorgeous time of year and feel like a natural addition to the room.’
‘I love the abundance of evergreen branches at this time of year,’ says florist Philippa Craddock (opens in new tab). ‘They are much hardier during the winter – as it is outside of their growing season – and will last for several days indoors.’
12. Establish that comforting 'hygge feeling'
The phenomenon of hygge, a signature characteristic of Danish culture and Scandinavian decor, focuses on a feeling of comfort, coziness and contentment, and has become a hugely popular reference in the world of wellness and interior design over the last few years.
A feeling rather than a style, all of the ideas we have explored in this piece can contribute to hygge; as hygge revolves around creating a warm atmosphere. Whether that be through socializing with friends and family, lighting your favorite candle, or feel snug and cozy on your sofa, the source of warmth and comfort can vary from person to person.
So when you're planning your winter living room ideas, focus on that 'hygge feeling', and how you can design a soothing, unique space that brings you both comfort and joy.
For further insight into this topic, Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute (opens in new tab), shares his thoughts on, what is wellness in interior design?
How do I make my living room look cozy in winter?
When you consider that the most used space in a home is often the living space, warm and cozy winter living room decor ideas are pretty much top of most people's lists as soon as the seasons start to shift to fall and winter.
There are plenty of tried-and-tested ways to make your living room feel cozier and more inviting. From the colors you decorate with, the furniture you choose and the right lighting to pick, they all can have a transformative effect on a cold, dreary living area – particularly if all you crave is a relaxing space to unwind in at the end of a hectic day.
A simple way to transform a summery sanctuary into a cozy winter retreat is to replace voile with heavier fabrics, such as velvet. Thermal curtains and blackout blinds will keep your space warm – and provide more privacy come nighttime.
Then it's time to style the space with a collection of practical and decorative accessories, from blankets and cushions on seating areas, to inviting scented candles and winter flowers.
All of these elements will work in harmony to establish a winter living room that is functional, beautiful and of course, incredibly cozy.
What are winter colors in the living room?
There are a plethora of sophisticated ways to enhance a space with color, so dress your seasonal living room with deep navy blues, smokey grays, gorgeous greens and earthy taupes for a space that is both deeply cosseting and cocooning.
And if you're feeling brave, why not try decorating with black or a dark brown, guaranteed to bring impact and an alluring sophistication to your space.
Colors of nature also work well, especially when paired with materials such as wood and natural textiles like sheepskin, establishing a cozy and organic winter living room look inspired by the beauty of the outdoors.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
- Zara StaceyContent Editor
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