1. EXPLORE ALTERNATIVES TO OVERHEAD LIGHTING
There's something about overhead lighting that casts a sterile wash over everything (not to mention the harsh shadows). If you're trying to create an inviting atmosphere, don't underestimate the allure of accent lighting — think table and floor lamps — for creating a soft, cozy glow.
2. EMBRACE MISMATCHING
Think back to the living rooms you've entered that have made you feel at home the instant you walked through the door. Chances are, the one thing they all had in common was that they were perfectly imperfect. Art, furniture, accessories — living rooms that feel eclectic (yet still curated) give the impression that it's OK to come in and kick back. You can be yourself, which is the hallmark of comfort, right?
3. TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE
When it comes to comfort, textiles are key. No one wants to snuggle up to a throw pillow that feels like plastic. Layers of varying textiles such as a plush area rug, down throw pillows, and a nubby blanket will add interest, depth and most of all, an utterly inviting aura. Put a good book or two on the coffee table and you may never want to leave.
4. DON'T OVERLOAD IT
Between ample seating and tons of texture, it may seem inevitable that every nook and cranny of your living room will be filled. However, having too much stuff in the living room can create the opposite effect — instead of comfortable, it will make you feel claustrophobic. To keep from tipping the scales in that direction, leave some empty space to lend an air of tranquility.
5. MAKE IT PERSONAL
Admittedly, having lots of knickknacks in a room can be a big design no-no. However, a few well-placed tchotchkes with sentimental meaning can really enhance the cozy feeling you are trying to convey. The same goes for family photos — don't go overboard lest you run the risk of overwhelming the space, but a sweet table grouping or contained wall collage will give your living room heart.