Cozy living room ideas
The perfect palette and comfortable furniture radiating around a fireplace is a great start to a cozy space. Photo by Jim Brown.

Let’s face it—midcentury style isn’t known for being cozy. Minimal, sleek, funky, fun—sure, but not cozy. However, you can still achieve a comforting atmosphere in your midcentury living room to help you relax after work or sip an Atomic Rancher before dinner. Just follow these four essential living room ideas for a nice and cozy space.


Warm Tones

While you can make any color scheme work in the living room, light tones and warm colors will work best to give the community space a friendly, cozy atmosphere. In this living room, the homeowner laid a foundation of neutrals with white walls and hardwood floors, then added warmth with a burnt-orange accent wall. This helps settle the room and reflects the light to make the space feel inviting and comfortable, whether it’s the middle of July or the end of December.


Light up areas you want to showcase in the room. For example, if you have a fabulous Roy Lichtenstein painting you want to center above the mantel or on an accent wall, direct a spotlight to the painting. This will help draw visitors’ eyes to your central piece, and also add some additional light to the room. Even if you don’t have a central piece of art or sculpture you want to show off, add an additional light or two to balance out the overhead or lamp lighting and make the room feel warm.

Consider the floor

When you hear the word cozy, you probably think of soft blankets and shaggy rugs. Shag can complement a midcentury home quite nicely, but you don’t have to have a fluffy rug in your living room to make it feel comfortable. If rugs aren’t your vibe, go with a hardwood floor that feels and looks friendly, as in this living room. The golden tones of the floorboards help set that cozy mood while remaining true to the minimalist design.


All living rooms should have plenty of comfortable seating—after all, this is the area you’ll probably use to chat or play Scrabble with visiting friends. However, coziness can be a bit hard to achieve with midcentury furniture, because modernist designers weren’t trying to create luxurious or wasteful pieces. Nonetheless, you can still make your midcentury furniture feel comfortable. Group the furniture in a natural semi-circle to encourage conversation, and add comfortable pieces such as additional pillows, especially if your living room sports plastic furniture such as the Eames molded plastic rocker.