Decorating any kind of small space in your home can be one of the most challenging projects to take on. The problem is that you tend to research interior decorating tips and fall in love with so many that just simply won’t all fit into a small living space.
But, when you take a step back and focus on a few fundamental interior design tips, then you will come up with a list of small living room ideas that can transform your home.
Let me guide you through some tips to take full advantage of your precious floor space.
Before you start picking out furniture and trying to decide on the best size sofa, take a step back and look at your small living room as a completely empty space.
When you have a bare canvas like that, picture yourself moving around the room and figuring out where the most practical places are for furniture. It’s going to be important that you make the space feel larger, and that will mean allowing for empty floor space to walk around.
Visualize walking into the room and then start arranging furniture in a practical way. Once you have an idea of where to place things, you can then start measuring out for a sofa, chairs, and coffee tables.
Many people tend to make two common mistakes.
Some think that they should only choose one loveseat for a small living room to keep more space open. Others think that they need to add more seating with individual chairs and recliners. Both those decisions could create an even smaller living room.
Instead, choose one location for a sofa and choose one that gives you as much seating as possible. First of all, this is going to be a place where you spend a lot of time, so you want to have comfort.
Secondly, a 3-seater sofa or L-shaped sectional with a small footprint and overall dimensions will open up small spaces by making them feel larger than they are.
I don’t mean to say that everything in your small living room should be the same color with a slight mix of shades. What I’m suggesting is that you choose a light color to paint the entire room and then use the same color as a guide for any woodwork or flooring.
By creating larger areas with white walls and wood paneling around a window, you’ll make a little living room feel a lot airier.
And by avoiding large color distractions, your eyes will flow a lot more naturally around the living room, creating a lot more comfort and space.
Symmetry is your friend when it comes to picking the right small living room decor, and it all needs to start with the seating area and larger furniture.
If you have a large sectional sofa in one corner of the living room, then you don’t want your bookshelves and your entertainment center on the same wall.
Ideally, balance the opposite walls and corners with larger pieces of furniture to create a sense of calm.
And the same is the case for accent pieces and wall decorations. Spread these out in a natural and uncluttered way to keep with that calming effect.
One of the worst things that can happen over time is that you keep adding new things to a small living room. In most cases, this doesn’t mean adding too much furniture. But you can make your own space feel very imposing with the smaller things you add.
You might start out with a few floating shelves and a coffee table that are home to a couple of books and vases. But if you start adding more books, ornaments, lamps, and flowers, you end up with a lot of visual noise.
A larger sitting room can handle such an influx of decorative things, but a small room will quickly become an oppressive experience.
You generally don’t want to go overboard with patterns like check in a small living room. These tend to not give you a feeling of more space than is really available.
But you can still introduce smaller patterned accent pieces like cushions, decorative blankets, and even modern artwork on the walls. Breaking up a very uniform surface in this way can add just enough interest to make a small space feel a lot more welcoming.
Just make sure you approach this in a subtle way by adding just a few items at a time.
One of the biggest problems with a tiny living room is going to be the size of the windows as well. And the more you limit the amount of natural light that can come into the room, the more enclosed the space will feel.
Avoid overuse of blinds, shutters, and curtains, and instead, keep the windows uncluttered. Not only will this allow more light into your living room, but it can draw your attention to a large focal point outside, which then creates the feeling of having more space.
I mentioned above in the #2 idea that you should pick one larger sofa rather than multiple smaller seating arrangements. The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that you can maximize that valuable space by choosing a sleek and modern sofa.
At the extreme end of modern sofas, you’ll have a completely minimalist design style. That can give you a compact 3-seater sofa that will work in pretty much any small living room.
And if you add a coffee table that is small but functional, you can create the illusion of offering lots of practical furniture without taking up much space at all.
This is an idea where bigger will actually work very well for small living room decor.
What you want to try and do is strategically place a mirror where it will reflect as much open space as possible and thereby become the focal point of the room.
That could mean choosing a large decorative mirror for an accent wall that jumps straight out when you enter the room. And when it’s aligned to reflect the window, or the seating arrangement with a coffee table, then your brain will register the impression of the room being twice the size than it really is.
This is an important tip if you’re going to use your small living room a lot and often have friends and family visiting.
And a very clever way to add more seating is to take a different approach to your coffee table.
If you choose a stool or bench that is the right height and length, then all you need is a tray to turn it into a coffee table.
Then, when you do have some guests visiting, you can rearrange the bench and use it for seating instead.
When you have a lot of natural light coming into a small living room, you need to avoid painting your walls in dark colors. Even if they are warm colors that normally would create a welcoming space to relax, it can become overpowering in a small living room.
You can still pick warm colors, but if you choose lighter shades, then you lose that claustrophobic effect. And if you have some favorite darker colors, then you can add some accent pieces like a small coffee table to have some color contrast.
The simple reality is that sometimes a small space requires a more minimalist approach to decoration. That doesn’t mean that you’ll only have a sofa, coffee table, and a TV.
There is still plenty of scope to make a room interesting, just with fewer things.
Taking a minimalist approach to small living room design means reducing how many items you have in the room and making those items count. Rather than adding many individual pictures on the walls, add one or two larger ones that integrate well.
And rather than making your sofa or shelving stand out, add modern, understated furniture with some smaller accent pieces that have bright colors or eye-catching patterns.
You simply can’t afford to have multiple focal points in a small living room.
When your eyes end up darting around like a ping pong ball because there is so much trying to get your attention, it can make the living room appear and feel even smaller.
From the start, plan what item in the room will take center stage and stick with that. If it’s an amazing artwork or a coffee table, then balance it with soft furnishings and accent pieces.
Or, if you’re choosing a sofa to stand out the most, then find an understated coffee table and lamps to provide balance.
Another great effect that you can use to make furniture blend in better and appear to take up less space in small living rooms is by going for monochrome patterns.
By choosing different shades of just two colors and then picking some interesting patterns or geometric shapes, you’ll make a small living room look a lot more interesting.
It’s like a visual trick that makes furniture and accent pieces blend into each other and open up a small space considerably. It does take a lot more careful planning to truly keep to your chosen colors, but the payoff can be significant.
This is particularly important if you have a long and narrow living room. In a square or rectangular living room, you can still keep more floor space open by strategically placing your seating furniture.
But when you’re dealing with a small living room that is significantly limited in width, then you have to adapt with less bulky furniture.
That will most likely mean choosing modern style furniture that tends to be sleeker with smaller overall dimensions.
If you’re dealing with a tiny living room, then avoid putting curtains on your windows. Whether they are open or closed, having large pieces of fabric hanging from one of your walls will have an encroaching effect on the room.
Instead, aim to install roller blinds that sit into the window frame and allow you to open up the view out the window and even draw more attention to the open space.
Also, make sure you keep these in brighter colors that blend into the walls of your small living room.
If you do want to choose some darker colors for a small living room, then you have to be very careful how you balance those “heavy” colors in a small space.
Some ideas that you might want to consider are only painting one wall in a darker shade while leaving the other walls and the ceiling in a white or cream color to brighten it up.
Another option is to experiment with light-colored wall art and even floating shelves that break up large areas of darker colors. Those disruptions are very important to avoid those dark colors becoming too dominant and drawing in the walls rather than opening them up.
This is a very clever idea that you can bring into every small living room design concept. The depth and width of your room are what limit the floor space, but you also have to consider that the height of the ceiling plays a key role in how small the room actually feels.
One option you have is to expand the vertical space by emphasizing the height of the room.
And one of the best ways to do this for a small living room is with patterned wallpaper that has vertical lines to draw your attention upwards.
This is particularly important in an awkwardly shaped living room, where the lines can distract from the shape of the room.
In a similar way to using vertical lines on walls to make a small living room seem bigger, you can also widen a room with horizontal stripes.
This is particularly effective as a pattern on your sofa, which is most likely the largest piece of furniture in a small living room.
You just need to be careful that you don’t end up with strong vertical lines on the walls and add lots of bold horizontal lines on furniture. This can quickly become too overpowering and conflicting for your eyes to take in.
Even in very small living rooms, you always have the option of creating a sense of infinity by not blocking out what’s outside the window. While you might want to have some privacy from people outside, don’t let that come at the cost of creating an enjoyable space.
Ideally, try to draw your attention towards the windows of a small living room by framing the view in bold colors, patterns or through clever placement of your seating.
The more of a wide-angle view you can open up, the larger your living room will feel.
You should never underestimate the impact of lighting in a small living room. And I’m not just referring to the impact that plenty of light has in a small space.
By choosing different types of lighting other than just a ceiling light, you can control the direction of the light and the visual impact of lamps. Think of different options for wall and floor lamps with an artistic design that almost makes it look like a piece of modern art.
Also, try to place a floor lamp strategically in your sitting room to make it practical for better reading light, and make it an inviting space to relax at all times of the day.
As much as you’ll want to have all the standard features of a living room, including a large sofa, plenty of shelving, and a large media center, you have to look at it all from a practical point of view.
The more things you add to a small living room, the more difficult it becomes to move around. Instead, size things down a bit and consider how you can achieve a relaxing room with a smaller TV and fewer pieces of furniture.
Keeping a flowing theme in a compact living room should not just cover your chosen style, color, and pattern theme.
So, if you’ve planned to create a dedicated wall for paintings or photos, then try to keep to a common theme for these as well. This would mean planning to have pictures of similar sizes and frames made of the same material and color as well.
The result will be a lot less visual confusion and distraction that would make a small living room feel a lot less comfortable and inviting.
When you’re planning to furnish a small space, then you simply can’t afford to end up with any wasted space. It’s why an L-shaped corner sofa can work extremely well to add more seating while using up an otherwise empty corner section.
But you can also make use of valuable floor space in your small living room design by taking advantage of things like bay window areas.
These are perfect for creating a window seat with hidden storage. And with the right design, it won’t even seem like you’re taking away from your available living room space.
Another clever idea that is very easy to implement is to avoid the use of a door for your living room. With a larger than standard frame in the wall and no door, you’ll extend the visual flow of the room into a hall, kitchen, or dining room.
It can also make entertaining guests a lot easier by not closing off an entire area.
You can try this out by simply taking any existing door off the hinge and then arranging the furniture in a way that creates a natural flow from one room into the other.
This is one of the great advantages of modern TVs. You don’t need to have large and bulky TV stands anymore, especially since DVD players and movie storage space is a thing of the past as well.
With the right type of wall mounting, you can get the TV to be almost flush with the wall, so it appears like another piece of wall art. And when it’s not in use, you could add your favorite vacation photos to make it part of an art wall.
If you need additional storage in your living room, then typically, that means some form of sideboard. But you probably won’t have the luxury of creating much storage in this way because of the limited floor space.
Another option is to add storage above eye level so that it doesn’t get in the way of you moving around.
And when you paint this storage space in the same color as your walls, then it will seamlessly blend in.
If you’re ready to put some of your small living room ideas to the test, then start by browsing through our collections.
We have furniture that is suitable for all square footage limitations, and with a great selection of styles, upholstery, colors, and patterns, you won’t be left short of choices to give your living room that interior designers touch.