Small living room areas don’t have to be a design problem when decorating a home. Don’t think of it as a too-small space. Instead, approach it as a design a challenge and an opportunity for creativity. There are loads of ideas for turning limited square footage into an advantage if you pick the right design.
Common Small Living Room Design Issues
While every space has its unique features and challenges, there are some common layouts that call for extra design creativity.
Narrow with Many Windows
Having lots of windows is a bonus, in general. However, this can limit the options for positioning furniture and adding shelving or finding free space for wall decor. It can even affect your lighting installation in a narrow room.
In this case, major furniture pieces will need to keep a low profile to avoid hiding the windows. You’ll also have to work around what little wall space there might be for television placement.
Window treatments will also need more attention in this style of room.
Tiny Apartment Living Room
City life is fun but tiny apartment living rooms? Not so much. Having less space also limits furniture arrangement options, with the added challenge of adding hidden storage.
Just like a small living room with lots of windows, one with multiple doors is also challenging to decorate. In this case, the layout may need even more creativity because of traffic flow.
Before adding furniture, it’s critical to map out traffic patterns in the space. You don’t want seating and other furnishings to block the path through the room or take up too much precious floor space.
Unique wall shapes and angles can add interest but at the same time, they can be annoying when it comes to decorating.
Odd corners, nooks, crannies and alcoves call for creative solutions and might require some extra workarounds.
No Solid Walls
Open plans are great, especially for making a small living area feel larger. However, this type of layout can leave you with very little or no open wall space to work with.
If you don’t have a wall area large enough to anchor your sofa or television set up, get creative. Pull everything away from the walls and use area rugs to create a defined space.
Small Living Room Decorating Mistakes
It’s easy to make missteps when decorating smaller living rooms. Hence, it helps to know what the most common ones are when you’re getting started on the process. Here are some of the main ones to watch out for.
Scale and proportion are important in every space, but even more so for a small one. The same pieces that work well in a larger space may not be right for a small living area.
This is not to say that you need miniature versions of pieces. It means that you have to choose furniture that visually and physically fits the space. You may need to opt for more streamlined designs rather than bulky, overstuffed options.
Too Much Furniture
Less is more when it comes to furnishings in a smaller space. If it starts feeling crowded, it will emphasize the lack of square footage in the room.
Small spaces need more light and brightness, whether from windows or lighting. Choose lighter decor and opt for lighting fixtures that don’t take up valuable space.
Whether visual or physical, clutter is your enemy in small living room decor. From the physical perspective, think like a minimalist to make the room feel larger.
To preserve visual space, don’t load the room with too many patterns, prints and colors. The resulting busy vibe will make already small spaces feel even more confined.
Living Room Ideas
Now that you know the challenges you face and the mistakes to avoid, here are some home decor ideas.
Adapt these designs to the style of your own living space. Avoid wasted space and make the most of what’s available with the right type of layout.
Plan the Perfect Fit
Find ways to create combos when choosing your furniture. Take this design for example. The sofa fits perfectly into that little nook in the wall unit. The open shelves make good use of the vertical space available and let the room feel more spacious and less cluttered. The narrow coffee table is just right for the room
This living area offers a number of design challenges, including the awkward walls. A bay window alcove can be both a bonus and a challenge at the same time. Instead of having a window seat there, this room has a versatile love seat. Large glass doors also take up a lot of wall real estate.
The design also uses an important technique for small living rooms. Wall sconces over the sofa provide reading or task light without devoting valuable floor space to floor lamps.
Choosing the right colors for the room can be the thing that changes the whole perspective. Paint the walls white and pick furniture that features light colors. It’s a nice idea to also have some contrasts but avoid dark shades by any means.
In this room, the bright blue and aqua colors keep it light and bright. In addition, the patterns included are minimal and not overwhelming and the coffee table reflects those colors in the glass.
Chic and Sleek Furniture
If the room is small, do you really need bulky furniture? Turn the room into a cozy seating area and focus your efforts on creating a harmonious décor while using as little furniture as possible without compromising on style and comfort.
This narrow living room is very comfortable and super stylish. The sectional is not at all bulky and the midcentury modern style chairs also have a light silhouette. The bold yellow accent wall brightens the dominant wood in the space.
Layer textures to create an inviting and unique décor. Notice the subtle orange accents that complement the light neutral color palette and the texture on the walls. The rug and all these subtle hints merge to form a welcoming room.
Carefully chosen elements make the space interesting and not just a big neutral box of a living room. A glass coffee table makes it feel like there’s more space.
Layout is very important when you’re dealing with a small space. It’s why we find this traditional living room very charming. The fireplace is the focal point, with two armchairs framing it and a 2-seater sofa in front of it. It’s the perfect combination.
In fact, the layout here could be a bit challenging because of all the windows and the lack of overall wall space. Instead, the right choices make it easy to create a welcoming and cozy small living area.
Although this sitting room is only wide enough to incorporate a three-seater sofa, somehow it doesn’t feel tiny. The large windows and the sliding glass doors that lead outdoors definitely help but the key is the simplicity of the design.
Moreover, everything in this space is comfortable but spare. The tailored blinds and streamlined chairs balance the bulkier sofa design. Meanwhile, the accessories are few and the wooden elements add warmth.
Play With Symmetry
Try a symmetrical approach to change the perspective. Two matching armchairs placed side by side mimic the sofa and the coffee table and the shelving unit tie everything together. Also, the black and white combo suits the room really well.
This is a great example of a small living area with a very contemporary look. It has some modern elements but still feels very comfortable. Note the style of blinds, which are perfect for a small space that does not need to have total privacy because of the view.
Keep it Simple
To make a room feel like a bigger space, incorporate open shelves anywhere you can. In this case, the fireplace focal point is wonderfully framed by shelves. We love the way the wooden ceiling stands out and the fact that the lighting fixtures don’t overwhelm the room.
If you can’t install built-in shelves as in this example, go for floating shelves in a similar arrangement.
This room is actually a multi-purpose space and it’s amazing how everything fits here when there’s so little space to work with. There’s a work desk in the corner near the door, a dining table with chairs and a sofa. Shelves were integrated above the door and windows which is a very smart idea.
When you need to squeeze multiple functions out of a tiny space, be sure to do lots of planning and measuring first. This tiny house space has plenty of windows and more light which is fabulous. On the other hand, all those windows equal lost wall space for storage or necessities.
Compensate for a Lack of Light
A small room with little natural light is definitely not ideal. Yet you can maximize the amount of light coming through the small window and the way it influences the décor by keeping the design simple and the room uncluttered.
You wouldn’t think a larger sectional like this one would work in a small space. Nonetheless, you can see that by making it the only seating and banishing cutter, the tiny room feels stylish and open despite the lack of natural light. Here too, the wall lights are a space-efficient option.
Adapt Design Obstacles
A staircase can become inconvenient if it’s part of small living room decor. However, if you choose glass for the safety railing and a simple design overall, it can look less invasive. You can also use patterns to spread out accent details throughout the room.
In this case, the bold black, white and cream color scheme helps make it feel larger. The bits of pattern and varying textures, like the vertical shiplap wall and horizontal ribbed fireplace wall, add lots of interest without adding color or clutter.
Consider the Ceiling
Paint the walls the same color as the ceiling to make a room feel larger. It’s a neat trick you can use if you have a small space. You can also have furniture that fits in the same color palette.
Another option is to create a uniform and cohesive look to start with by using the same color for the walls and ceiling and a similar tone for the rug and then to add a little bit of contrast to the room with the furniture. Essentially, the entire room is one color. This is one occasion when dark walls in a tiny room are acceptable.
The surround of this living space could feel a bit boring and dark, thanks to the small windows and low ceiling. Instead, the bright, warm colors of the sofa, cushions and art make it feel chic. Also, the ottoman doubles as a coffee table.
Small Living Rooms with a TV
This living space has a couple of great ideas, including the best way to deal with TV placement. Without a doubt, muting your TV on the wall is the optimum choice if possible. It keeps the room looking uncluttered, even if there’s a large entertainment center involved, as in this room.
Also, a wall mural can add depth to a room and give it more visual space. It’s another trick you can use to your advantage. It’s also a great way of breaking the monotony in the case of a neutral décor.
It might be a bit counterintuitive to use a mural, but the large expanse of the design is preferable to a collection of smaller pieces.
Shake up Tradition
In a small space, it’s important to highlight the right features. For example, the fireplace is definitely the focal point of this room but the striped armchairs balance out the décor both in terms of color and ambiance.
This charming living room is about as traditional as you can get, but the pop of pattern makes it more interesting and helps draw attention to the middle of the space.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How do you arrange a small living room?
Call on creativity in arranging a small living area. Options include playing with a symmetrical layout, incorporating built-ins, using mirrors, adding smaller coffee tables, including multi functional furniture and going minimalist.
Where should a TV be placed in a small living room?
Options for TV placement can be limited in a small living area. The best option might be to mount it on the wall, which eliminates the need for added furniture. If you have an entertainment credenza, place it along a wall. Avoid setting the TV on a small table in the corner. It looks bad and gives the space a cluttered, crowded look.
Does sofa have to face TV?
In most cases, you see the couch or chairs directly across from the television set, but there are other options. Placing seating perpendicular to the television or angling the sofa are also possible. Of course, the most popular setup is to have seating facing the TV head-on.
How do I fit two couches in a small living room?
In a small living space, the best way to have two couches is to place them facing each other. This simple layout is good whether the furniture is floating or one sofas is against a wall.
How can I make a small living room look nice?
To make small living areas look nice, embrace a less is more mentality. Other decorating options can make it look bigger too. Keep colors simple, include different textures, incorporate mirrors, keep furniture in the right proportions and skip the heavy drapes.
How do you decorate a small living room on a small budget?
If you have a compact living room, it can be a blessing for your budget when it comes to decorating because you need fewer things. Just be sure to use care when choosing your furniture. Other things you can do include painting the walls, using peel-and-stick wallpaper, adding artwork and shopping your own belonging for decor items.
Successfully decorating a little living room is easy if you call on your creativity and enthusiasm. You’ll also want to plan carefully to avoid making decorating mistakes that you’ll regret. As they say, good things come in small packages and that can mean a living room too.