Top 10 Small Living Room Ideas
When you’re decorating a living room, you tend to round up the usual suspects – the TV, the sofa, the coffee table. But when you’re working within a small space, that setup can start to feel a little overwhelming. Here are ten small living room ideas to make sure your design fits your space, and not the other way around.
Float Your Furniture to Free Up Walkways
Instead of shoving furniture up against the sides of your living room, try “floating” your pieces. Pulling them away from the walls will force the illusion of a bigger space, especially when there’s artwork or a mirror that emphasizes your room’s depth.
Once you open up your layout, you can fill those free corners with tall, leafy plants or shelves full of knickknacks. These decorative touches will draw the eye up, which gives your living room more dimension. With centered seating, you can also experiment with bookshelves or benches along the edges of your room. This design ends up looking and feeling more flexible, which is perfect for entertaining.
Paint One Wall a Welcoming Color
Consider a colorful backdrop on one living room wall. It can rush up to greet guests with a pop of a warm color or pull them in with a distant cool color. If you want one side of your living room to look further away, paint it within a calm range of greys or blues. If you prefer to embrace the cozy feel of your small space, stick to inviting shades of red or brown.
Off-setting the color of one wall is especially effective when the other walls are white. A scattering of neutral decor can help highlight your accent color. Think about textured pieces, so they’re subtle but still stimulating. You might use a shaggy white rug, pale linen arm chair, and a tan leather sofa, mixing woven baskets or wood end tables in between.
Anchor Your Seating Space With a Focal Point
Centering a small living room can eliminate the feeling of a cramped space. When you put all the focus on one stunning object, it steals attention from the sides of the room. To make sure one piece is the star, keep sightlines open. Look for slender furniture frames and glass or lucite finishes for transparency.
A coffee table in a hefty size, unusual shape, or contrasting material is a great go-to for a focal point. Simply arrange seating around it. Armless slipper chairs or accent chairs with thin tapered legs have less body, so they demand less attention. They’re perfect for circling up at the table’s edges. You can also hang artwork in different sizes and frames on one large gallery wall. Low furniture can help to play up the height of the vertical display.
Blend Bold Hues for Colorful Conversation
For a living room that feels super lively, using hits of color contrast is perfect for creating a super fun, saturated space. The easiest way to establish your palette is to lay down a patterned, multicolored rug. Geometric patterns help keep things looking streamlined so color pairings don’t feel too busy in a small area.
Complementary colors like blue and orange quickly add tons of character to a stark white living room. Add balance with vases and throws in neutral or dusty tones so your space won’t feel chaotic. These lighter touches will also make your living room seem spacious.
Make the Most of Multifunctional Furniture
A few misplaced items can make a small living room look cluttered. Look for dual-purpose furniture you can use for storage. A sleeper sofa or backless daybed paired with a lift-top coffee table or storage ottoman can save tons of space. Modular sectionals are additional small space seating solutions that can be rearranged for any occasion.
Even standard pieces can combine functionality. If you don’t have a dining room, arrange a console and bar stools behind a floating couch. Instead of a TV opposite from your sofa, consider a desk for a mini office. Unique accessories like wooden ladders can be used to drape magazines, throw blankets, and more.
Check out more ideas for Multifunctional Furniture for Small Spaces.
Work Your Angles for Attractive Lighting
Small living rooms might need a little extra help to shine. Arrange one large mirror or two medium-size mirrors in front of your windows. Mirrors not only throw back beautiful outdoor views, but also bounce light around the space. Furniture with reflective surfaces has a similar effect. Your living room will instantly feel bigger and brighter.
Keeping windows uncovered will obviously let in the most amount of sunlight, but you can use sheer curtains to allow for some privacy. Another trick is to hang your curtain rod above the window frame to make your living room seem taller. Overhead lighting that’s flush with your ceiling can do the same thing. Strategically place arc lamps and task lamps to cover the rest of your bases.
Use a Big Rug for the Best Illusion of Space
If you’re able to fit all your furniture onto the borders of one rug, it will help to visually widen your space. Measure for about a foot of distance between the walls and your rug to give it a grand, sweeping quality. Neutral rugs with minimal patterns and short piles are best for elongating the look and feel of your living room. They’ll also blend with any style of decor. See our Rug Size Guide for help choosing the perfect fit.
Make Wall Space Meaningful
Your living room is the perfect place to showcase personal items like family photos and souvenirs. Try to loft your displays so you can have as much floor space as possible. If you have built-in ledges or window sills, these are prime real estate for your conversation starters. Clustering your decor by size, shape, or color can add cohesion and visual interest. Lush silk plants or even framed botanical prints are trendy choices for making small spaces seem more exciting.
Make up for a lack of wall storage with floating shelves. They provide an open, friendly option for putting your prized possessions at eye level. When your floating shelves are the same color as your wall, they’ll blend in and look less cluttered.
Use a Coffee Table Alternative
Having a smaller living room means you might not have space for larger pieces of accessory furniture. If a coffee table just doesn’t fit with your setup, try a pair of side tables. Snack tables and nesting tables are also great, compact solutions. Bonus points if they come in mismatching multiples – any combination of natural materials will always look good together. If you’d like something to prop up your feet, give a smaller ottoman or pouf a try. These are popular substitutes for traditional coffee tables and come in softer materials.
Don't Be Afraid to Go Maximalist
Maybe minimalism isn’t for you. If you prefer to surround yourself with all your favorite things, there’s still a way to do that in a small living room that doesn’t feel overstuffed. Avoid simple and sleek. Look for more organic touches. As long as you keep your pieces neutral, everything should look intentional. No matter which styles or periods you blend, consistent tones and contrasting textures will keep your living room looking stylish.
Don’t put so much pressure on the traditional living room aesthetic. Small spaces require creativity, and this quality will only help to make your space feel more like home. Check out more Small Room Ideas to find functional, beautiful ways to fit furniture in any size space.
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