Your living room has a unique place in your home – whereas the other rooms have clearly defined roles for cooking, dining, bathing and sleeping, the lounge is for… well, lounging.
That means different things to different people, so your idea of a cosy retreat could be anything from a home cinema with surround sound, to a peaceful oasis of calm without a TV or computer screen in sight.
Here are five tips you should be able to apply equally well in any living room, in order to ramp up the cosy factor.
1. Soft and Squishy
To make your living room feel like one big hug, make sure you have plenty of soft elements, from rugs to cushions.
A well-upholstered chair or sofa is a worthy addition to any room, so you can sink into it at the end of the day and feel your stress dissolve into nothingness.
2. Mood Lighting
A stark overhead bulb is not the most conducive to a zen state of mind, so be creative in your lighting scheme.
Uplighters and downlighters; floor, wall and table lamps; candles and chandeliers – the range of lighting options available to you is almost limitless, so make sure you can light your lounge to suit your mood.
3. Put Your Feet Up
It’s a simple truth that reclining aids relaxation, so make sure your living room gives you a place to lie back when you’re feeling weary.
You could stretch out on the sofa if you live alone, make use of a recliner or retractable footrest, or simply rest your feet on a stool – when you’re aching and exhausted, it should still feel like a five-star spa treatment.
The often-overlooked sense of smell can have a big impact on how peaceful you feel, so make sure your lounge isn’t haunted by lingering food smells (not to mention pets and children, if you have them).
Plug-in air fresheners are a low-effort way to keep your living room smelling fresh, but if you prefer a particular scent, fresh cut flowers are the natural route, and tealights or votives give you aroma with the relaxing bonus of a flickering candle flame to watch.
5. Tone and Colour
Finally, a room doesn’t have to be minimalistic in order to be relaxing, and many people prefer their living room to feel more homely than clinical.
Coloured accessories are a good way to add vibrancy – from those sofa cushions we mentioned up top, to vases, picture frames, and so on – giving you a welcoming interior that matches your personality, but can easily be reconfigured with accessories of a different colour if you get bored.