Small Living Room Ideas to Maximize your Space
It’s only natural to want your home to look and feel it’s absolute best — and there’s something incredibly thrilling about size-challenged decorating that really forces you to get creative.
But in such modest proportions, designing a tiny living room can be a minefield. You’ll obviously make tons of mistakes along the way — but when decorated well using a few simple tricks, small living rooms can look seriously stylish.
So, we’ve rounded up some of our go-to upgrades, alongside inspirational interior images, to help you decide the best ways to expand your square footage without any demolition; and make your space feel large enough to serve all your entertaining and lounging dreams.
Add an illusion of space with mirrors
Tiny, often-overlooked spaces present countless creative opportunities to take advantage of. And the best way to get started is to use decorative mirrors to create an illusion of more space.
Mirrors make a boxed-in room feel open and airy, especially when placed strategically. For dramatic impact, opt for multiple mirrors to reflect any and all light available in the living room.
If you place a large or multiple pieces on the adjacent wall to your biggest window, all the better — the mirror will reflect the most light and add depth all at once.
However, if you have a tiny living room that’s short on windows, try placing a tall mirror behind furniture to create the visual impression of another room opening up beyond.
Play up the light with light-weight curtains
Curtains have the power to completely transform a room; they bring in color, pattern and a feeling of comfort to an interior space.
When in pursuit of the perfect curtain for a small living room, think about function before style.
If yours are bulky and in darker shades, why not swap them for the lightweight fabric to allow more light into space. Opt for white or pale colors to let in tons of natural light and increase the brightness of a room.
Add extra seating with a window seat
One way to maximize the potential of a small space is to turn a window niche into a mini living area with a window seat.
When selecting the ideal seat, you may want to opt for slender, sleek furniture that takes up less visual space. These pieces of furniture help fool the eye into thinking space is less cluttered.
Topped with simple plump cushions, this becomes a beautiful retreat that makes it easy to read, converse, or sit and gaze at the landscape and sky.
Design to emphasize the vertical
In any interior space, there is both a vertical dimension and a horizontal one.
If your living room lacks in square footage and surface area but has a high ceiling, you can get a lot of mileage out of extra space by decorating it in a manner that draws the eye upwards.
Floor-to-ceiling drapes are a stylish way to take advantage of vertical space. This technique will not only accentuate tall windows but will add airiness and height to a compact living room.
Similarly, eclectic wallpaper or a menagerie of small to midsize artwork also emphasizes the vertical dimension by inviting the eye to roam beyond the eye-level, making a confined space feel far larger and grander than it actually is.
Distract with statement pieces
Don’t let a living room that’s limited in size stop you from making a big décor statement.
Pick one or two well-curated items, such as an eye-catching artwork or a bold and hefty light fixture to create a dramatic design moment. Adding an attention-grabbing accent piece brings a fresh twist to a tiny space while creating contrast and intrigue.
Keep the rest of the room relatively clutter free to balance scale and draw attention away from the room’s size.
Opt for a large area rug
Looking for another trick to make a room feel bigger? Choose a rug large enough to visually set apart the floated sitting area from the room’s other functions.
A rug is both functional and stylish, but more importantly, it anchors a space and provides a stage for furnishings.
Unlike small rags, a large size gives a small space a sense of structure while also providing an illusion of additional length and width. Just make sure it’s big enough to accommodate all legs of furniture, so it doesn’t give the illusion of shrinking space.
Use neutral color throughout
To design a room that lacks in surface area, you need to pull out every trick in the book to give it an illusion of a bigger space.
Using a neutral color scheme is perhaps one of the best ways to push back the walls and make your room seem open and bright. What’s even more fantastic about neutral tones is that they are easy on the eye, and makes the room’s interior feel ultra-modern, sophisticated and expensive.
While white, beige and soft grey may seem like obvious choices, they aren’t the only options. Muted shades of blush pink, pale blue, dusky lilacs and a subtle green can evoke a fresh, warm and inviting ambiance, and won’t make the walls feel closed in.
Light bounces off these muted hues beautifully — and using a similar color on your ceiling can accentuate the sense of cozy and intimacy even further.
Opt for visually lightweight furniture
Light-colour furniture pieces that have a lightweight appearance keep things looking spacious.
When shopping for furniture for a small living room, ideally, you may want to pick out pale colors over darker once; and select leggy pieces, glass table tops and see-through furnishings that make a room seem less constrict.
Do scale down on furniture
Any furnishing that consumes very little visual space will make an area seem more open.
For instance, playing with proportion and scale, like a lower couch with thin arms and a tightly upholstered back, helps create a feeling of volume in the room.
In any case, low-profile, streamlined furniture, particularly sofas, won’t appear to overpower or dominate the space.
Alternatively, you make use two loveseats or ottomans in place of a traditional sofa and coffee table. The light-weight design and small scale work well in a compact apartment space — they are better for traffic flow and offer more arranging options to play with.
Keep the room feeling cozy
Turn a cramped living room with a few décors touches to make it into a cozy haven.
You can start off by adding a mural accent wall to give the space some much-needed dimension. Introduce a homely leather armchair or a natural flooring rug to take the chill off a compact nook — then layer in tactile cushions and a soft throw for a complete designer touch.
The idea is to lean towards a less-crowded and functional interior that still feels cozy and super welcoming.
Make furniture multi-functional
When you lack the luxury of space, hard-working, multi-functional furniture pieces are your best friends.
A pouf can easily turn into a coffee table; you still have a spot to place a book or remote, but also able to provide extra seating when you have guests over.
You can also invest in a sofa with storage under the seat, allowing you to clear away any clutter at a moment’s notice.
Most small apartment living room furniture proves that the right piece can be used in multiple ways and still look stunning, despite the shape and size of the room.
Float a selection of furniture
When floor space is at a premium, floating your furniture tricks the eye into thinking less space has been used up.
Think furniture pieces that don’t touch the floor or can be easily wall-mounted. For example, a hanging lucite chair makes an ideal apartment living room furniture — it’s see-through, eliminates the clutter of legs, creates an illusion of extra space and it’s super fun and funky.
A mounted sconce in replacement of a floor lamp; a mounted wall holder instead of a coat rack… the options are endless!
Display artwork strategically
The classic tip of decorating with art is still spot-on advice for small room decorating ideas. Bringing artwork up draws the eye upwards and sets the tone in a small space.
A gallery wall can make a smaller space stylishly inviting — and when it extends to the ceiling, the eye is instantly drawn to this standout feature, and gives it an illusion of visual height.
Keep your space alive
Nothing prettifies a small, sort of sad living space like decorating with greenery.
Blooming perennials and leafy beauties like fern and spider plants are perfect for blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors. Like wallpapers and decorative accents, plants can effortlessly at color, texture, and depth to a small living room.
Get creative with how you add them to your space — hang lush greenery as to not take up any precious floor space and allow them to fool the eye into thinking there is more to the room than there really is.
Layer your lighting
Why is layering light in interior design essentially?
Well… firstly, it helps create an atmosphere in a room. But, more importantly, putting together different lighting in a small living room create a particular mood and interest.
The way you layer and play with lighting can take a dull, confined space far from basic. Combining different types and keeping light sources at multiple levels — floor lamps, chandelier, and task lights — is the secret weapon for illuminating a tiny living room, making it feel bigger and more visually appealing.
Bring storage near the ceiling
Instead of dotting lots of different types of furniture pieces around a room, why not make use of vertical space by devoting the top of the living room wall to storage.
Cleaver living room storage can give a tiny space grand character and maximum function — floating shelves, ladder style shelving, and wall mounted magazine racks are some of the smart ways to incorporate plenty of storage and display opportunities with a minimal footprint.
Keep it simple but stylish
A small space obviously presents a few design challenges, and it’s easy for furniture to take over the personality of the room.
When you don’t have a ton of room to play with, you may want to keep things simple… but simply doesn’t mean boring. Since this is the spot where we spend most of our time, it’s important to imbue the room with décor elements that reflect your personality and taste.
Start off by mixing vibrant colors, varying textures, and patterns to keep things fresh and lively; and infuse a few neutral elements to keep the scheme of things from feeling overdone.
A mix of metallic finishes, sentimental knickknack or personal artwork injects a sophisticated flair into a small space.