How can I add warmth to a room? 7 designer ways to add character and coziness

Look to the beauty of natural timber, warm color palettes and plenty of texture to add warmth to a room

How can I add warmth to a room
(Image credit: Future)

If you're thinking 'how can I add warmth to a room?', you are certainly not alone. With the colder nights settling in, many of us are looking at design-led ways to introduce warmth, comfort and coziness to our spaces. The good news is that adding warmth to a room is much easier than you think.

If cozy room ideas are currently what your are craving, then consider interior design ideas and looks strike the perfect balance between rustic and homespun; like an escape to the countryside without leaving the city limits.  

How can I add warmth to a room?

Hoping to put some cozy corner ideas to work in your own home? We've selected the essential aspects of rustic and warm decor – these practical, expert-approved tips and ideas will ensure your home looks warm and cocooning while also reflecting the chic and modern aesthetic associated with contemporary living.

1. Introduce heart and soul with a fireplace

White living room with central fireplace and art with neutral seating

(Image credit: Elicyon / Squire & Partners / Michael Sinclair Photography)

When it comes to adding warmth a room there's nothing like a fire around which to gather and its design will play a pivotal role in a room's aesthetic.

It’s impossible to ignore a highly architectural fireplace idea, so better to embrace it and create a scheme taking cues from the design. This fireplace for one of the apartments in Chelsea Barracks was designed by Squire & Partners using a series of linear steps in lieu of a surround. Interior decorator Charu Gandhi of Elicyon was asked to build a scheme around it. ‘The fireplace has a monolithic yet light quality to it, and it enhances the symmetry of this space,’ says Charu. ‘We played to this symmetry with the setting of the furniture but softened the geometry with curved, warm-coloured pieces. 

The artwork is by Geraldine Larkin, who stitched this metal tapestry as a counterpoint to the fireplace’s linearity.’

2. Use color and materials to unite the decor 

Jack and Jill bathroom with blue vanity unit

(Image credit: Francis Amiand)

The materials and colors you choose to decorate your home with play a key role in the look and feel of the room, so it is important to think about how you want to experience the space in the first instance. When spaces are within the same line of sight, it’s important to make connections using materials, colors and finishes. 

In this cozy bedroom, the ensuite bathroom was designed in tandem, and the results are beautifully cohesive, warm and inviting. Architects Humbert & Poyet inlaid timber paneling and mirrors with brass and added brass hardware and taps to help everything flow as one.

3. Decorate with a rich color palette 

Pink bedroom with pink textured wall and coral bedding

(Image credit: Natalia Miyar)

Rich and nuanced, an earthy pink has a depth that lends sophistication and warmth to a scheme. A versatile hue, it can veer into burgundy or brighten into a deep coral.

‘Pink is a truly wonderful shade to use as an accent color in a room,' says Natalia Miyar, founder, Natalia Miyar Atelier. 'There is such an incredible range of shades to choose from and dark pink can add depth and personality to a warm scheme. It’s bold and vibrant and works so well when used for upholstery on a headboard or bed base in a bedroom. I also like to use it for piping on a cushion to add a subtle pop of color to a sofa or chair.’ 

Here, Natalia Miyar layers different shades of pink to great effect here, with a bed base in a raspberry tone, rising to a dusky rose on the wallpaper.

4. Warm up with wood 

Bathroom with timber wood panels and freestanding tub

BC Designs Crea bath, C.P. Hart

(Image credit: C.P. Hart)

Thanks to the desire to create a sanctuary at home, the bathroom has become a retreat, a private oasis to help restore mental and physical wellbeing. With this comes a move away from clinical style. 

Wood is now the material of choice for its natural beauty and warmth; it conjures the quiet luxury of a spa. There are many ways to introduce timber to your scheme, from a simple small stool to a timber-fronted vanity. Wooden baths are reminiscent of Japanese soaking tubs, while the warm, dry air of a naturally scented wood sauna offers the ultimate indulgence.

5. Opt for rustic touches

Kitchen with warm wood cabinets and cream walls

(Image credit: BK Interior Design)

Rustic kitchen decor is the perfect choice for adding warmth to a room. Honest materials and raw finishes lend natural charm in this calming space. Created by California-based designer Brad Krefman, a warm, neutral backdrop – Dulux’s Brave Ground is similar – tones serenely with unstained oak cabinets

Copper mesh brings a modern farmhouse vibe to wall cabinets, while the perimeter countertops in creamy precast concrete are a practical choice. A rugged slab of reclaimed oak links the bespoke cooker hood with the salvaged ceiling beams above, helping to achieve a smooth transition from new oak to ancient timber. On the island, delicately veined Taj Mahal quartzite adds subtle pattern to the mix.

6. Pare back with layered neutrals

Dining room with round wood table and chairs

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

A restrained room color palette can have a calming, warm and elegant effect. For a room that works through the seasons opt for natural simplicity, leaving bold patterns and brighter hues in favor of muted tones, clear glass and natural materials. Here, the wall paneling has been painted in a soft, stone-like neutral that is comfortingly familiar. 

A traditional wooden dining table (this one is an antique) and rush-seat chairs continue the rustic feel, while candlelight provides an atmospheric glow. Decoration has been kept to a minimum, with woven placemats, linen napkins and foraged greenery, while the theme is followed to the windows with large paper stars. The scheme is cozy and convivial.

7. Embrace the dark

red cloakroom with paneled wall

(Image credit: HÁM interiors)

Windowless cloakroom or powder room? Don’t fight the lack of light. ‘Dark shades are a great way to deal with spaces that have little or no natural light. The key is to keep the color palette simple but strong,’ explains Kate Cox, interior designer, HÁM interiors. ‘Here we opted for Picture Gallery Red from Farrow & Ball. With its dark pigment undertones, it takes a room from drab to dramatic and enlivened.’

Jennifer Ebert

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.