7 Simple Tips for Cozying Up Your Living Room This Season, According to British Designers

published Nov 10, 2021
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Credit: Cathy Pyle

It seems like everyone I know has had a major obsession with British design for the past year or so, and now, with colder weather season underway, I can only anticipate that this admiration for England’s quirky, traditional-meets-eclectic spaces will increase. Something about the interiors across the pond just feel cozier, so I reached out to four British designers for tips on how they make their living rooms (and those of their clients) feel more comfortable as winter approaches. These tips should help you hunker down in your space in style, too.

Light a fire in a fireplace or heritage stove

“Still today in 2021, a majority of Londoners live in period houses where original chimneys are in place, so fireplaces are naturally high on the list. One of our clients opted for a wood burning stove in this pared back family living room. They told us how much this space became a cozy haven when everyone was locked up during the last Christmas lockdown due to COVID.” —Designer Yoko Kloeden, founder of Yoko Kloeden Design in London, England

Add layers, layers, and more layers

“This means just enough ‘stuff’ in the room and every piece being the right scale in relation to the space and the piece it’s accompanying — a side table or two by the sofa, a footstool of the right proportion — don’t go too small. Getting layering right is key to cozy!” —Designer Julia Alexander, founder of Julia Alexander Interiors in London, England

Think vintage

“Even if it’s a modern space, add in something vintage for instant character, warmth, and coziness. It could be as simple as a print or artwork.” —Julia Alexander

Incorporate elements of surprise

“British interior design is creative and eclectic. In our London studio, we love to use a mix of furniture pieces — old and new, contrasting textures and patterns, and sculptural shapes to tell the story. Colors can be bold or muted, but every design should be peppered with surprise and interest.” —Designer Jo Hamilton, creative director at Jo Hamilton Interiors in London, England

Aim for a variety of textures

“To achieve a quintessentially British aesthetic, aim to create a warm and homely environment using plenty of textures and natural hues. A wicker basket is a great example of this, creating a rustic aesthetic, and it could either be used to store logs or perhaps throws and blankets. We would recommend using thicker, heavier throws, which help to encourage a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.” —Designer Louise Wicksteed, design director at Sims Hilditch in Cold Ashton, South Gloucestershire, England

Bring the outside in

“An alternative way of infusing coziness into a space is by arranging foraged foliage on tables and shelves to create a country feel of bringing the outside in. Not only does this create a rustic homeliness, but it also achieves a seasonal aroma appealing to all the senses. A fireplace will also have a similar effect, bringing a warming glow to a room.” —Louise Wicksteed

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Prioritize entertaining pieces

“To inspire a cozy atmosphere fit to enjoy with friends, we suggest placing a drinks trolley in the corner of the room; antique ones are particularly lovely. Similarly, placing smart games such as backgammon or chess on the coffee table provides the perfect set up for an evening to be enjoyed with friends.” —Louise Wicksteed