Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.
How to Decorate a Small Living Room
Every small living space offers design challenges. While it's important to make all of the rooms in your home functional, the living room is especially key because many people spend a lot of their time at home in the living room. From selecting furniture that is an appropriate scale for the space to maximizing hidden storage solutions to strategically placing a mirror to add depth and light, there are an extensive range of practical and easily attainable design ideas that will help you create the living room of your dreams in your small space.
6 Small Living Room Ideas
- Select Furniture to Fit the Existing Space
- Consider Hidden Storage
- Create a Focal Point
- Add Light and Depth
- Don't Be Afraid of Color
- Take Advantage of Vertical Space
1. Select Furniture to Fit the Existing Space
When you're working with a compact living room, large-scale furniture often isn't an option. Be realistic about the space. For example, if an oversized recliner won't fit, choose a pair of smaller chairs. Many people also get hung up on common furniture configurations. For example, nothing says that you need a full-sized sofa in your living room. A love seat paired with a bench and an armchair may work more naturally in your space.
Choosing multifunctional pieces will also make the most of your living room. For example, a bench with storage will provide seating while housing pillows and blankets. A coffee table or console table makes a great addition to a living room but only when it makes sense for the space. Your small living room may be better suited for two small tables that open up the space and can be moved as needed to accommodate different functions.
Consider Floating Furniture and Low Seating
Floating furniture and low seating can make all the difference when it comes to keeping the space open and flowing. Design a floating furniture arrangement in the center of the room instead of pushing pieces up against the walls. Install shelves and other built-in components off the floor to create the illusion of space. If you choose low seating, select pieces that don't distract from the focal statement in the room. For example, a pair of low stools in front of the mantel will keep the fireplace as the focus of the living room.
2. Consider Hidden Storage
Concealed storage is a great way to house items in the living room without creating a cluttered space. Furniture pieces that boast concealed storage, such as an ottoman with built-in storage, are a great option. You may also want to consider decor pieces that do double duty as storage, such as colorful baskets or jars. Do you have a hard time finding concealed storage pieces that don't take up a ton of floor space? Think about biting the bullet and devoting a single wall to built-in storage. To further streamline the storage, keep your items in the built-in hidden behind doors or curtains.
3. Create a Focal Point
A focal point is ideal for drawing people into a space while making it more uplifting and even sophisticated. Think about focusing your living room around a fireplace, sofa, coffee table, artwork, or mirror. Once you've settled on your focal point, design the rest of the living room around your statement piece to pull the entire look together.
4. Add Light and Depth
Small living rooms with flat features and dark corners look dreary, even when they boast unique furniture and wall hangings. Maximize the natural light in the room, and don't be afraid to add artificial light sources as well. You'll bring even more light and depth into your compact living room with wallpaper and strategically placed mirrors and plants. Purely decorative mirrors still pack a visual punch and draw extra light into the space.
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5. Don't Be Afraid of Color
Many people steer clear of color in small living rooms, believing that it will overwhelm the space. While there is nothing wrong with designing a small living room that features neutral shades, color can make the space appear larger. Select a color scheme with a maximum of three shades to create a unified aesthetic. If you want to use additional colors, incorporate them as accents. Typically lighter shades make a space look larger, but careful use of darker shades takes the style and drama in the room up a notch.
When you paint a small living room, select a satin or semigloss finish to reflect the light. If you want to tie the color scheme in the room together without painting or buying new furniture, consider an area rug. Layer a rug over carpeting to make the room feel cozier or conceal dark flooring with a brightly colored rug to lighten up a dark space.
6. Take Advantage of Vertical Space
Build up instead of out to maximize the available space. When you hang curtains, place the curtain rods right below the ceiling. Then choose curtains that extend all the way to the floor to make the ceiling look higher. If you're selecting art or other wall hangings, consider designing a gallery wall or choosing a few large pieces that fill the whole space. Do you have an odd nook that currently serves little or no purpose in the living room? Think about constructing shelves to simultaneously add storage and draw the eye upward.
Small Family Room Design
Finally, creating the ideal flow for your small living room is an ongoing process. It often takes weeks, or even months, of living with a living room arrangement to determine what is and isn't working. Don't be afraid to keep making tweaks and adjusting the layout until you find a arrangement that suits you and your family.
Additional Small Home Resources
- Frugal Storage Ideas for Small Homes: Creative, Unique Organization Methods
Creating functional storage for a small home is simple when you're equipped with the right organizational tools. Pick up purchasing resources, general organization tips, and much more.
- How to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen: Simple, Affordable Kitchen Solutions for Every Budget
Organize and brighten up your small kitchen space with practical solutions to create a functional yet inviting space for family and friends.
© 2016 Rose Clearfield
Riffat Junaid on June 30, 2020:
Very good article you wrote very helpful tips and pictures are so beautiful you added.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 05, 2016:
I enjoyed going through your tips and suggestions to design and lay out a small living room. Using the place below staircase is a very nice idea. Very attractive pictures to complement your interesting and useful hub.
Thanks for sharing!