Struggling with how to set up a small living room? We understand and we’re here to help. We love the challenges a small space presents — trust us, it’s all worth it in the end. Our roundup of small living room ideas will work for any home, apartment, or studio and lets you be the interior designer in your small space.
Make the most of your layout.
This means sometimes getting creative with your small living room design, depending on the square footage and setup. A small apartment living room or space with an open-concept layout can be a little more challenging. If you need to “create” a living room or establish a space when it isn’t defined, a great way is to float the furniture. This means instead of pushing furniture against walls, let it sit more in the center to create a cozy, intimate vibe. You can do two sofas or loveseats across from each other if the space is narrow, or try two chairs across from a sofa.
If the back of your sofa faces the entrance, you can put a bookcase or console behind it. Style with your favorite decorative pieces, pictures, books, and more. Once you’ve designated a seating arrangement for your living room design and larger pieces, you can let other items such as end tables, a coffee table, rug, and lighting fall into place. Just make sure you’ve created a space that’s comfortable, meaning you can get up and move around with ease.
Consider your color palette.
Good new for those with small living rooms: You really can’t go wrong with a light or dark color palette. If you have your heart set on a deep navy blue paint color or moody wallpaper, it will make a great impact in a small space. Some have argued that a bold or dark color or wallpaper pattern will go far in a smaller space because it won’t be as overwhelming. If your personal style is more on the eclectic or maximalist side, embrace it and mix up colors and prints as much as you want with wall art, pillows, rugs, small living room decor, and more.
On the other hand, if you’re more traditional or prefer a light and airy space, crisp white wall will open up the room (white and light colors will bounce natural light around the room). It also allows for other decor and pieces to stand out in the room. So the good news is, whatever your preference is for a color palette, your personal style is always a best bet.
Frame your space with an area rug.
This is particularly helpful for spaces with open layouts: Having an area rug helps to define a space (even if it’s small). And don’t worry if the rug is on the small side or doesn’t have the front two legs of the sofa on it — just the coffee table or coffee table alternative. On the other hand, a larger rug won’t break up the space and may, in fact, make your living room appear larger.
Opt for a settee, loveseat, or sectional.
Cozy furniture such as a sectional sofa won’t take up too much length-wise. It also keeps the seating more intimate and increases the seating availability, embracing the small space. If a sectional or regular sofa absolutely won’t fit, try a settee or loveseat paired with accent chairs.
Fill the space!
Another reason we suggested a sectional sofa is that it somehow makes a small living room appear larger. Several small items can make a space feel cluttered, depending on the living room, so we suggest filling it up with larger furniture. Whether it’s a sectional or a small sofa, fill your living room with a chair or two and a TV stand. Leaving blank spots in a small living room will call more attention to the smaller size, so go ahead and get all of the pieces you really want.
Choose a statement-making accent chair.
If you love lively patterns and bold colors, go for it! We always say follow your heart when it comes to design and personal style, but prints and colors really go far in a small space — especially with living room furniture. Similar to how bold paint colors have strong impacts in small spaces, so do statement pieces and furniture. Make your small living room space come alive with a unique, avant-garde accent chair or two as a focal point.
Avoid clutter and don’t lose out on precious floor space by adding vertical shelving in your living area. This is especially advantageous if you have high ceilings, but any small living room can have some wall shelving. Display books, decor, or anything else you might want. Plus by utilizing shelves, it highlights the height of the walls making your space seem larger. As a bonus, you have storage space that’s also stylish and functional.
Let there be light.
If you’re lucky enough to have good natural light in your living space, be sure to let it in! Ambient light makes your space appear more airy and open. You don’t have to have large windows — just don’t block out too much with dark curtains. That also means utilizing table lamps, floor lamps, a pendant light, and more.
Rethink your coffee table.
It’s true that not every living room needs a coffee table. Whether you can’t fit one or you’d prefer an end table, ottoman, or decorative trunk, there are many reasons not to have a coffee table. You’ll find that your living room can still be every bit as functional.
Try a hanging chair.
We love the look of hanging chairs indoors, and these on-trend seating options are actually very functional for a smaller living room. Because they hang, they don’t take up floor space. You can save space while playing with height and looking very of-the-moment.
Make the most of the total area of your room by using décor to draw the eye up. If you have windows, go with long curtains and hang them above the top of the window for a dramatic, elongating effect. When it comes to wall art, don’t be afraid to extend gallery groupings upward. On the other end of the spectrum, choosing one big piece can actually help the room feel larger, especially if you opt for an image that has a wide-open feel.
Be prepared to love hanging out in your living room again with our tips and tricks to embrace a small living room and make it appear larger.