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How to make a room cosy: 10 ways to create your own sanctuary

‘Tis the season for hunkering down and getting cosy. As the evenings get longer and the night draws in, we’re all looking for ways to stay warm and cuddle up. Try our top tips and tricks from Mumsnet users on how to make a room cosy.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Dec 16, 2022

Blanket of sofa

Most people associate winter with hunkering down and wrapping up. Whether it's popping on a pair of the best women's slippers or snuggling up to a hot water bottle, some relish the colder months for their intimacy, embracing the Danish concept of hygge - getting cosy and content among friends.

However, with the reality of the cost of living crisis setting in, many are looking for ways to make their homes feel cosier and warmer this year. From pre-warming beds with the best electric blanket to adorning your sofa with cosy faux fur throws that are as practical as they are stylish, being more cautious of turning the thermostat up doesn't mean you need to sacrifice on creating your own winter sanctuary.

It's also worth remembering that cosiness isn’t just a function of heat too, it’s about how you set up your room, and even comes down to choice of colour scheme. What's key is creating a space you can't wait to get snuggled up in, whether you're watching TV with the kids or taking some you time alone to get stuck into a page turner.

At Mumsnet, we’ve been trawling the best of the talk forums, gathering Mumsnetters’ top tips on how to make a room cosy.

How to make a room cosy and warm, as suggested by Mumsnet users

1. Use rugs to avoid bare floors

Rug on floor

Rugs are a great way to make a room cosy. Not only do they feel soft underfoot and look nice, they also insulate you from the cold that comes through the floor – a key way of staying warm. They are certainly a great way to avoid cold toes in the bathroom too! For more tips on making your toes toasty, don't miss our guide on how to keep your feet warm.

Perhaps you’re into bold colours, or maybe you’d like a bold textured piece like sheepskin – whatever your preference, rugs are a top way to warm things up and make a room more cosy. They don't have to cost the earth too – this budget-friendly rug is under £20 on Amazon, plus John Lewis's ANYDAY range has some great options at affordable prices.

What Mumsnetters say

“A rug helps muffle echoes and makes the place feel more cosy.” msrisotto

"A big rug will have an insulating effect on the whole room and generally make it warmer - cheaper and easier than ripping up the floors to install insulation.” treblechoc

2. Warm lighting is a must

With the nights drawing in at this time of year, you want a lighting set up that you’re going to relish coming home to. Think dimmed tones over harsh lighting. Use warm LEDs for a cosier feel and go for lamps instead of overhead lighting. Getting that warm dimmed light feeling is a great way to make a room cosy and create the perfect sanctuary to spend evenings in.

What Mumsnetters say

“Make sure you have side lamps and use a 'warm white' reasonably low watt bulb. Ideally have lampshades that are dark cream or even tobacco coloured inside (casts a lovely light).” Fantasticmissfoxy

3. Add blankets to sofas and chairs

Dog under blanket

Another feature that is both practical and atmospheric is a blanket. In colder months, sometimes turning on and snuggling up to the best heated throw is cheaper than warming the whole house with the central heating, plus they can keep you super cosy. Blankets also create soft and varied texture in a space, a great way to make a room cosy. 

If you want to be extra cosy and take blankets to the next level, you can also try the best blanket hoodie (think of an oversized blanket that you can wear freely around the house). There's also kid's blanket hoodies available too, so you can kit the whole family out.

What Mumsnetters say

“A few years ago I was given a very thick Sherpa blanket that is so cosy. Even the cat fights us for a shot with it!” user1471543683

4. Fill open spaces with homely touches

No one wants a cluttered space, but think about the things that make a space feel ‘lived in’. This is one of the key pillars of ‘hygge’, creating an inhabited space. So get things on the walls, including kids' drawings, posters, and mirrors especially are a great way of reflecting light and varying texture. We think Etsy is a great place to pick up inexpensive prints and unique decor.

What Mumsnetters say

“A lovely chest or blanket box? Unique art on the walls always helps.” messofajess

“Throws and a collage of family photos. I went to my aunt's and she has a similar area where one wall is covered in different types, sizes and shapes of hanging hearts. It was lovely.” bananafanana1

5. Fill your bookcases or shelves

living room with sofa and bookshelf

Another way of adding a homely touch and creating a cosy desirable space to hang out in is to fill bookcases or shelves. Not only are they a nice thing for the eye to linger on, they also dampen noise, helping to reduce echoes and create a cosy environment. So, fill up those shelves with whimsical reads and make your room super cosy.

If you don't have enough books to fill up an entire bookcase or shelf, you can also add quirky ornaments or things like plants that hang down (go artificial if being greenfingered isn't your strong suit) to create a welcoming, homely effect.

What Mumsnetters say

“Books give a really cosy feel. I haven't got the wall space so maybe some shelves.” QueenofBlah

6. Keep the heat in

Keep doors and windows closed. Blocking draughts from coming through with the best draught excluder keeps heat in the house and will help make your room even more cosy. Doors and windows are key culprits when it comes to losing heat from the house, so upping their ability to trap heat will be efficient in the long run and help make your room warmer. Installing the best thermal curtains is also a great way to retain heat in a room.

What Mumsnetters say

“I bought some rubber draft excluders for the back and front doors and that seemed to help.” 1000yellowdaisies

7. Candles for that warm glow

Woman lighting candle

Who doesn’t love the glow of a candle on a cold winter’s night? Candles emit some of their own heat so can be a subtle way of providing a little warmth and a great way to make a room cosy (although, it certainly won't be enough to heat a whole room, bear in mind!).

Like lamps, they also cast a softer glow than overhead lighting, creating a generally softer atmosphere. Candles can also give you the opportunity to add design touches to your room with styled candleholders, or otherwise opt for a more simple combination of scented candles or tea lights. 

What Mumsnetters say

“Use candles and nice candlesticks. You can get lovely brass antique sticks at flea markets (hint: don't pay more than £15-£25 per pair unless they are very special), give them a good polish and they look fab with or without lit candles.” orangefusion

8. Stick to warm, earthy tones

Deep and rich colours are a great way of giving the impression of warmth. You can contrast a navy with a warmer colour of furniture. Wooden furniture combines particularly well with dark colours to create a cosy effect. Or you can go for a deep earthy tone on the walls for cosy room decor. 

What Mumsnetters say

“We also chose to embrace the dark side… and went with F&B Olive in estate emulsion. It suits the age and period features of the property and, whilst not cosy in the way that a red, for example, would be, it definitely has a warm vibe, imo...” LibertyLily

9. Varied textures and layering 

Cushions on a sofa

Rugs are just one way of adding texture to your room, but there are many other ways of layering things to create a warm vibe. Bare floors are much less cosy than rugged ones, and the same goes for sofas.

Different cushions, throws and blankets all come together to make a room cosy. They also provide some insulation against the cold as well as making things more acoustically cosy, blocking out echoes. Just add one of our picks for the best women's dressing gowns to snuggle up in for the ultimate relaxing night in.

What Mumsnetters say

“The secret to a warm and cosy living room? Layering. There's nothing quite as inviting on a chilly evening as soft, warm textures to sink into and snuggle up in. Layering and accessorising with extra throws and cushions is a must for lounging.” Fantasticmissfoxy

10.  Add plants to your space

Plants can add character to a space and liven up a room. Vines can be a great extra feature too when wrapped around features of your room like mirrors.

To make a room cosy, think terracotta pots to fit with a warmer vibe. Sass and Belle also do fantastic plant pots with a cute and quirky twist for an extra dose of personality and interest.

What Mumsnetters say

“Add some plants to soften up the corners.” HermioneGrangerHair

How can I make my living room look cosy?

When we think of living rooms in the winter, we want to picture cosy sofas, lots of places to snuggle up and warm lighting. Many of the ways listed above will help you keep your living room cosy but some other tips for making a living room cosy are:

  • Try a home fragrance. The ambience of your room is partially determined by scent - rich scents will help your living room feel warm and cosy.  
  • Replace lightweight summer curtains with heavier fabric in the winter time. Curtains are a great way of stopping heat escaping out of the windows, so draw them in, go for warm colours like reds and oranges to make your living room cosy.

What colours make a room look cosy?

Contrast is great for warming up a space. Dark wall colours can be offset by wooden furniture. Generally, warmth is created by earthier tones: creams, taupes, oranges, reds and even darker greens can help give your room a cosy feel.

What Mumsnetters say

“We have a light greeny-grey with grey and cream walls, and I have used different tones of gold, brass, copper accessories and we have wooden furniture. It feels very cosy at night but fresh in the day.” thenewaveragebear1983

How do you make your bedroom feel cosy?

Like earthy colours on the walls, adding natural elements to your bedroom can be a great way to make your room cosy. So, for a cosy bedroom, go for touches of wood – it can be as little as adding wooden cladding to a wall. Wooden furnishings can also add cosiness to a space. 

Another key way of both keeping warm and creating a cosy feeling is to cover windows. Bare windows are a sure fire way of letting the cold in anyway, so go for heavy curtains, and choose block colours not crazy patterns to make your room cosy.

How to make a cold room cosy

In a cold room your first thought needs to be about insulating the floor, particularly if it is a hard one. So go for rugs with texture to prevent you having to walk on the cold floor. Pictures in frames, touches of brass and copper as well as cushions and blankets are a great way to make a room cosy.