As the cooler months approach and we spend more time at home once again, more people are looking for how to make a house look cozy to hunker down and enjoy the cooler weather.
There are countless cozy room ideas to incorporate into your home, but creating a coherent, cozy house can prove more difficult. While cozy living room ideas and cozy bedroom ideas may be more obvious, incorporating cozy decor in other areas requires more thought.
Luckily, designers and experts have explained how to make a house look cozy and coherent, so that you can relax in your home no matter the room.
Chiana has written over 70 articles for Homes & Gardens, many of which focus on home and garden care. She spends her days talking to experienced designers and experts about the latest trends and design ideas which she shares with H&G’s readers so they can style their homes to perfection.
As we approach fall, Chiana is turning her attention to seasonal topics due to her love of the season and its warm tones and cozy interiors.
How to make a house look cozy
‘When you really think about it, creating a cozy home is essentially making yourself a warm and comfortable cocoon for you to hibernate in during the winter months when it’s cold and stormy outside,’ defines Rhiannon Johns, trained interior designer, and brand manager at Piglet in Bed (opens in new tab). ‘So in contrast to the hotter summer months, where you want your space to feel as light, airy, and open as possible, creating coziness is all about adding elements that make your home actually feel a bit smaller.’
1. Style a cozy bedroom
Although more obvious, looking to make a bedroom cozy is one of the best ways to add a cozy feel to your home.
‘When it comes to the snuggle factor we like to ramp it up to eleven, so double up your throws by layering different textures; velvet and linen is a great pairing,’ suggests Georgia Metcalfe, founder of French Bedroom (opens in new tab). ‘Complement the vintage patterned beds and cushions with nostalgic black and white photos of special moments.
‘Your bedroom should be your personal sanctuary. Dress your bed in patterns that make your heart sing, such as ditsy blooms or ruffles and frills. Add some simple extra touches, such as seasonal flowers, soft lighting, candles, and cushions, and create a room that feels like a hug every time you walk in. Opt for bedside lamps rather than wall lights to bring the lighting down, creating a warm and cozy hue,’ she adds.
Caitlin O’Keeffe, merchandise field manager at Serena & Lilly (opens in new tab) suggests an alternative approach, however. ‘Achieving the ultimate cozy bedroom is all about simplicity,’ she argues, ‘swap out your summer whites and brights for gingham sheeting in earthier colors like green or brown. Layer a thick quilted coverlet and a cozy throw at the end of the bed for extra warmth. Complete the look with an oversized lumbar pillow that’s almost as wide as the bed. Always invest in quality bedding for comfort and longevity.
‘Dark and neutral tones and layers with textures come into play this season for the bedroom – all shades of beige, deep olive green for that pop of color, and textured whites are in for fall,’ Caitlin continues. ‘Wallpaper has also made a huge comeback, so don’t be afraid to use wallpaper with texture in the bedroom such as grass cloth or fabric to create a cozy sleeping oasis.’
2. Warm your homes schemes with deep tones
Room color ideas are a great way to make a house feel cozy, especially if you consider fall color schemes to evoke the coziest season.
‘Paint is the quickest and most effective way to add instant impact and change the mood and atmosphere of a room. The darker the color the more light it absorbs – so reds, plumbs, and terracottas will visually bring walls inwards making a room look warm and inviting,’ explains Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown (opens in new tab). ‘Any color that is made up primarily of red or orange will make a room seem much warmer. Using two or three of these colors together will create that warm palette with tonal interest. Many think that red and orange clash, but they do in fact work brilliantly together.’
‘If you want the warmth without the drama, mid-tones are easier to live with. For example, berry tones are warm without being as intense as crimson and the earthy tones of terracotta are much softer than an orange – there’s something so comforting about this color. These mid-tones work equally well in a modern or traditional setting, with light or dark furniture.’ Shades such as these make wonderful additions as colors to make a living room look cozy while also opening the space up and being easy on the eye.
‘Metallic shades are one of the easiest ways to introduce a real warmth into your space. Gold and bronze work wonderfully well texturally as they add also add shine. These deep warm tones are versatile. They look fantastic with sleek surfaces but also with natural materials like exposed brickwork. Often full rooms of metallic paint can be overwhelming, so try feature walls or block of shimmer.’
‘Deep green can create a variety of moods. Used as an accent, perhaps on a plush velvet sofa, it brings a bolder pop to a neutral space whilst still looking modern and fresh. Used on the walls, it creates a cozy and enveloping atmosphere, while looking timeless and sophisticated.’
3. Think about how you paint
Besides the color of your paint, considering how you paint your room can also have a drastic effect on the final look and feel of the space and determine how cozy or cold the room ends up. Rhiannon suggests using paint to enclose a space, making it feel smaller but allowing it to cocoon you in lush color. ‘You can achieve this through clever tricks such as painting your ceiling the same color as your walls,’ she says, ‘or alternatively keeping your walls neutral and painting your ceiling a rich tone such as olive green – something that is very on trend at the moment.’
Paint can also be zoned to create cozy corner ideas throughout your home, especially when working with larger or open-plan spaces that you want to visually divide.
4. Select the best flooring
Flooring ideas play a huge part in making a house look cozy. Bare wooden floors or tiles may look and feel cold underfoot unless dressed with a rug. ‘Textured rugs made out of natural materials such as jute will not only keep your feet warm, it will again add another layer of comfort to your house,’ reminds Rhiannon.
For a larger-scale renovation, however, carpet ideas may be the way to go for a cozy home. ‘Your carpet is the perfect place to start when creating a cozy living space. The texture of wool underfoot coupled with a warm colour or welcoming pattern makes it the perfect base upon which to shape a comfortable and inviting interior scheme,’ says Lisa Conway, marketing manager at Brintons (opens in new tab). ‘Where an alternative flooring like wood or tiles might make a room feel stark and bare, a soft woven wool carpet, layered with accessories in cashmere, mohair and linen will all work to soften the overall look.’
‘Heading into the colder months, layering rugs on either a hard or carpeted floor is a wonderful way of bringing even more warmth, texture, and vibrancy into a space,’ Lisa continues. ‘To create a balanced scheme, it is important to consider the composition of the colors and patterns that you’re combining, as too many can easily overwhelm a scheme. As a general rule, it is a good idea to pick out just a few colors and run them throughout the rug scheme or use a hue that harmoniously works well as a backdrop such as greys or beiges.’
‘Most importantly, choose a material that provides warmth underfoot,’ adds Jodie Hatton design manager at Brintons. ‘Wool is an excellent choice due to its natural insulating properties. Wool is often thought of as creating a warm and cozy environment which is one of its many benefits, a lesser known benefit is wool’s cooling properties, as an insulator wool can also prevent too much heat from coming through the floor and its moisture wicking properties prevent you from getting too warm.’
5. Add dimension through layers and texture
Layering in interior design has always been important, but it is imperative for making a house look cozy. ‘Add warmth and layers to your space,’ suggests Caitlin, ‘drape ultra-soft alpaca or merino wool throws onto the couch or on the bed for those cooler nights as the weather begins to change. Include even more throws in outdoor spaces to round out the coziness and to make it into a more usable space year-round.’
‘Layers for fall are essential,’ reminds Rhiannon. ‘Soft cotton throws draped over the arm of your sofa and the end of your bed are not only very practical while you’re watching a movie with a hot cup of tea, but they also add texture and depth to a space, having a comfortable effect on the eye.’
‘Spruce up a fireplace by placing a sheepskin rug on the ground and create a cozy reading nook nearby for warm nights by the fire,’ Caitlin continues. ‘Add several textured ivory candle pillars in varying heights to add warmth and dimension to your space. Be sure to light each one at night to create that special cozy glow.’
6. Place emphasis on soft furnishings
Soft furnishings can make or break a home and are considered one of the most important decorating ideas. ‘Home is all about evoking feelings of comfort and coziness, and there are simple ways to create your own cozy retreat. Firstly, invest in versatile products that can be used around the home. Bedfolk’s cotton quilt has been designed to wrap your bed up in squishy comfort, but equally, be perfect for cuddling up on the sofa,’ says Jo James, co-founder & creative director of Bedfolk (opens in new tab). ‘You can use the same quilt around your home, or add a woven basket with a quilt wrapped up ready to be used – we’ve got quilts in baskets scattered around most rooms in our home, and they are so comforting and so useful – for guests, for babies, for us, even for our dog!’ she divulges.
‘Another key element of creating a cozy, comforting home, is pillows. We’re huge fans of square pillows at Bedfolk – adding a pair to your bed ups the comfort factor hugely and creates a luxurious look relatively affordably. They are perfect for reading in bed or having a morning cup of tea. I also recommend adding square pillows to your sofa – it makes such a difference to have a proper, huge, pillow when snuggling up on the sofa. As well as being ridiculously comfortable, they also create a really cozy look, which is so easy to update by adding a different color pillowcase.
‘I switch out my Bedfolk Snow (off-white) and Rose (barely-pink) linen square pillowcases for Rust (our take on terracotta) and Ink (our mellow dark blue) when the evenings get colder and darker.’
7. Consider a cozy kitchen space
Making kitchen ideas look cozy can be one of the more difficult decorating tasks. But, with the kitchen often used as a social hub for guests and family, especially during the holiday periods, creating a cozy and inviting kitchen can make all the difference when trying to design an overall cozy-looking home.
‘Alone, the functional features of a kitchen like tile floors and stainless steel, can at times feel stark and cold. With the kitchen now being the heart of the home for many, there are lots of little design tricks you can use to inject the space with warmth and transform it into a cozy, inviting space that you can relax and unwind in, whilst still maintaining its functionality,’ reassures Lizzie Beesley, head of design at Magnet (opens in new tab).
‘Whilst bright lights are needed in the kitchen for functional purposes, if you are looking to create a space that can transition into a cozy evening spot, it’s a great idea to invest in dimmable lighting. This will allow you to alter the atmosphere in an instant. From overhead spotlights running across kitchen worktops and dangling over an island, to rattan lamps, candles and under or in-cabinet lighting, there are lots of other smaller lighting tricks to create a warm ambient atmosphere. The key is to dot them around the space to create zones of dark and light areas that draw you in and illuminate the surrounding features.’
‘Incorporating warm natural materials like wood, leather, and textiles in your kitchen will balance out the colder materials traditionally found in the space, such as tile and stone. With the rise of the farmhouse and country-style kitchens, these textures are also very on trend and are a great way to add layers and depths to a design space.
‘From wooden chairs and tables to smaller accent details such as wooden coasters and fabric tea towels, weaving in these natural materials will add textural interest to the space and make the eye wonder.’
8. Layer lighting
‘Lighting creates a huge impact, both on and off, so think about every area of your home from the front door hallway to bathrooms and alcoves. Walk through your home and think about the mood you want to create and the light that is required or is missing,’ suggests Scarlett Hampton, co-founder of lights&lamps (opens in new tab).
‘Ceiling lights are perfect for darker days but may need dimming or even switching off when relaxing by the fire or TV. Think of lighting like the sun. Big and bright in the day, becoming lower and softer by night. When ceiling lights are no longer needed to see by, switch on a larger floor lamp, when the evening progresses, they can then be complemented or replaced by a more subtle table or bedside lamp. Imitating the setting sun is a great way to transition your living space throughout the day and bring peace and calm before bed,’ Scarlett continues.
How can I make my house cozy on a budget?
There are a few ways you can make your house cozy on a budget. Consider using natural materials, or introducing warm tones such as in furniture, paint, or decor pieces – using warmer-toned lighting and candles will also help to create a cozy atmosphere for less. Opt for dark woods over light when it comes to furniture and fittings to help darken the space while maintaining an elegant feel.
How do you make a big house feel cozy?
To make a larger home or space feel cozier, consider using clever paint tricks such as color drenching, hanging heavy curtains, or zoning the space with furniture and rugs to help divide the space and make it feel slightly smaller, thus making it feel cozier and more intimate.