A small living room can have all the style and functionality of any large space with these 10 space-creating ideas. Find out more here.
Have you given up on having the perfect living room for hosting game nights? Do you think because you have a small living room, you have to sacrifice style? Don’t be a small-space martyr! Your living room can have all of the charms of a larger space if you follow these ten decorating ideas for enhancing the space you do have.
Here we go again, talking about a good spring cleaning. Yes, that is part of living in a small space (any space, really). You have one initial cleanout, followed by regular maintenance. And spring cleaning doesn’t have to happen solely in spring, folks!
Let’s get to it.
Start by removing everything you don’t remember purchasing and the things you know you don’t really love. For the things you don’t love but think you might need in the future, purge the items that can be replaced in 20 minutes and cost under 20 dollars. (Just do it! You’ll thank us.)
As for the unsightly things you actually do need, like devices and electronics, store them in cupboards, hidden in baskets, and behind things so that your space looks like it is streamlined.
A hallmark of the minimalist design movement is keeping things simple and neutral. All your pieces will work together and feel like one cohesive design rather than lots of little knick-knacks.
The biggest way to do this is to reduce the amount of color in your space to three neutral coordinating colors. The slight differences in shade will give your room all the depth you need but not feel chaotic. Your color scheme can still have bright colors; just keep them as smaller pops of color in accent pieces.
Select light reflective acrylic white paint for your walls to reflect as much natural light around your space as possible. This opens your room up, and if you really want to bump it up a notch, taking your white wall paint color up onto the ceiling is a way to create a cohesive feeling between walls and ceiling, making them seem to stretch on forever, rather than end at the crown molding.
Choose an area rug that is fit to anchor your lovely, though small, living space.
You’ve probably heard the “rug rule” that it’s best to make sure the front legs of all of your furniture in the seating area can rest on the rug. While you don’t have to follow this rule of thumb, it does help anchor the space. If you want your small space to feel larger, try to source a rug that will allow most of your living room seating to fit on it completely to pull the room together visually.
With the right rug, you’ll not only break up an open-plan living room, but you’ll prioritize the furniture that can and should fit in your space. A living zone with a beginning and end makes sense visually and feels complete. Pulling some of your furniture out to the rug, as with a floating sectional or a pair of accent chairs, makes your room feel more spacious than if you push all your furnishings against the walls.
Your tiny living room may not be the best place for a bright, high-contrast rug, at least not if it is part of an open floor plan shared with other living areas. Keeping your rug within the neutral color scheme will ensure that the room's colors work seamlessly together and seem like part of one large thing rather than a lot of little working parts in one small space.
Contrary to popular belief, small rooms don’t always need small furnishings. Utilizing a few larger pieces can make a small room feel “just right,” whereas several smaller pieces of furniture register as cluttered to your brain.
While a loveseat may seem the only choice for the seating area in your small space (and it may be for yours), see if you can fit a full-sized sofa or sectional into your living room without disturbing the flow of traffic or bumping walls.
You may have to trade out a couple of smaller chairs for the larger sofa, but it will allow your sectional to become a large focal point of the room, making the whole area feel larger. All of your other room decor can then be added in relation to it.
Spoak’s design suite allows you to drop your room’s dimensions into the layout tool along with any other furnishings you’re considering adding to your space. Knowing what will actually work with your square footage, mathematically, before you start moving things around saves you the time and headache of mistakes.
Using one larger piece of art can make a room feel larger because it is just one piece, whereas several prints seem cluttered. If you do want multiple pieces as part of your gallery wall, consider choosing larger prints that climb a bit higher up the wall to lead the eye upward and give a sense of more ceiling height.
Use mirrors to reflect whatever sunlight you get in your home to lighten up dark corners and keep your living room layout feeling spacious.
Since mirrors will reflect the appearance of your room, they can make the room seem twice as big. It’s an excellent way to bring light to unlit corners and make a cramped alcove feel open and light.
Get the full room enlarging effect by investing in the largest mirror your living room can tolerate. You want the room reflection to be as close to floor-to-ceiling as you can emulate. A large gilded mirror leaning against the wall has a casual boho feel that’s also timeless, or you can hang the mirror if you wish.
The simplest way to visually increase the floor space in your modern living room is to let more of your flooring show. (Aren’t you glad you invested in that larger area rug?)
Bookshelves are a tidy, space-saving way to hold your collections; however, if you use floating shelves on your wall instead of a traditional bookcase, you free up valuable floor space. Paint your shelves the same light color as your walls to make the shelves further recede.
“Wow, my space feels larger already!” - Future You
Consider buying a floating credenza or media unit that attaches to your wall but leaves several inches of unoccupied space beneath it. You’ll be giving your credenza some negative space in which to “breathe” and highlighting the modern lines of your furniture.
You’ve purchased a rug that all of the legs of your furniture fit on — Way to go! Take it a step further by selecting seating with slim legs that reveal more of your rug. You can also increase visible floor space by using lucite side tables to give you the table space you need while seeming to float and enhance the size of your room.
Your living room furniture pieces can do more than one thing at a time. Choosing multifunctional furniture that will multi-task for you is more important in smaller spaces than anywhere else. Squeeze every bit of functionality out of your pieces as you can.
Use some tried and true furniture storage solutions like a Murphy bed for giving a small apartment a spacious living room and bedroom in one. Murphy beds aren’t only for small apartments. They make excellent guest bedrooms in any home.
Use storage poufs to hide the clutter of devices and everyday life while serving as extra seating or an ottoman when friends are over. The same coffee table you use to serve drinks can also multi-task as a pop-up workstation so your small living room design is also a comfortable workspace.
Manufacturers continue to make strides in modular furniture pieces to ensure they have all of the same high-quality design features as their single-use counterparts. Wheeled coffee tables can be moved behind the sofa for a pull-out bed scenario, much like how sectionals can be reconfigured to better fit your different daily space needs in your living room.
Choose furnishings that can easily be relocated and not clutter another room. For instance, opt for dining room chairs that double as accent chairs in the living room. Upholster your armchairs in a fabric that works well in both the dining and living spaces. Whenever you need extra seating in any room, you can quickly move things around without disturbing the color scheme of the room.
Window treatments can go a long way toward making a small living room feel larger by creating the illusion of height and space.
The simplest way to make your small living room appear taller is to raise your curtains ten inches above your window frame. This may be easily achieved by buying ready-to-use curtains that are the right longer length. If you can’t find the right size, buy longer curtains and use heat-sealed hem tape to get them to the perfect length.
To magnify the height of your room, opt to take your curtains all the way up to the ceiling to give the feeling of a large, open living room.
Keeping your room awash in natural light is a smart way to make the space look larger. All of that light reflective paint and those mirrors will have an even greater effect if you let the sunshine in.
Good lighting can add texture and interest to a room, making up for a shortage of space, but if you do it right, it can increase your use of floor space. In the right proportions, your lighting can make your small space feel like it’s a perfect size.
Use floor lamps behind the corner chair or next to the sofa to add a layer of lighting that elevates the look of your room while leaving end tables free for a glass of wine or a favorite read.
Even better: use wall sconces for your ambient lighting. You can target areas that will most benefit from all that added light, like next to your reading chair or on either side of a gallery wall. The extra mid-level light also helps make your living room look larger by creating dimension in your lighting scheme.
Chandeliers and pendants are an excellent way to increase your room’s ambiance while filling that void for the higher overhead light. If you get the proportions right on your light fixture size, it will give the room a more spacious feeling. A good rule of thumb is to add your room’s dimensions (in feet) and then transfer the sum into inches to get the diameter of your chandelier.
If your family room has a niche or awkward nook in it, don’t let that little bump-out go to waste. Putting something inside of it will free up that much more floor space.
Create a custom bookcase in a wall niche. Floating shelves can compliment the wood tones around your space or paint your shelves the same neutral color as your wall. You’ll have a striking home for your collections and may be able to do without a standing bookcase.
Your little niche may be so small that all you can do is install picture ledges inside. Go for it. This is a custom family photo gallery that will serve as a focal point in your living room and make it feel like home.
If you follow these living room decorating ideas, your home has everything you need for an eye-catching, relaxing space. But don’t stop here; discover new ideas for your small space and grow your understanding of interior design in the BeSpoak School.
Photo Credit: (Left) House & Garden
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