8 Genius Small Living Room Ideas To Make The Most Your Space

January 10, 2018 4:25 am by admin
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8 Genius Small Living Room Ideas To Make The Most Your Space

This space from Cup of Jo is by no means a small living room, but let’s pretend for a second that it is to learn a thing or two from it. See those two poufs on the other side of the coffee table? Those could easily swap in for the actual coffee table itself in a tighter space, which gives the room’s user flexibility in surfaces. Opting for ottomans or poufs over larger furnishings is a smart way to still have a spot to place a drink or remote, but be able to move things easily around as you please (and even maybe create more seating).

Greg Natale: “Don’t reduce the number of pieces you use; just reduce the scale of the pieces.”

In this charming living room via Domino, your attention is occupied and delighted by all the personal accents and accessories that draw you into each area of the little space.

The main goal of any small living space is always to use every area as efficiently as possible. So that area under the coffee table (considering yours doesn’t have shelving) can often feel a bit wasted, unless you mimic this clever space from Style Me Pretty Living that tucks additional poufs under for more usage.

But if you live by the motto that “more is more,” an edited space won’t appeal. Stringer says “clutter is good as long as it is organised,” so group like items together (think baskets for magazines).

A feature wall is a great way to properly weigh and focus a room with awkward angles, like in this room from Alvhem, that uses a bold floral wallpaper to pull the attention to the seating area.

Gachot wholeheartedly concurs with this sentiment. “Clutter can of course be chic,” she said. “Organise them into vignettes, and be a good curator in your choices of display. Group them together across themes. Some simple juxtaposition, in the proper position, can incite curiosity.”

And when in doubt, revert to mirrors. “My living space at home is not huge, so I decided to mirror panel one entire wall, which is 13 feet high, and it doubled the size of the space to the eye,” said Cordony. If you can’t panel the whole wall, hang large mirrors on the walls, ideally opposite a window or door to reflect the light.

Consider what’s more important to you: comfort and big style, or having more variety?

The best way to shake up a space is to give it a fresh furniture layout. If you’re bored of your little living room, consider angling a few key pieces to keep things interesting like this room on Domino (via Airbnb).

But Haenisch disagrees. “I always prefer a minimal approach,” he says. “Restraint is everything in chic design.”

In a tiny space, you might be afraid of overwhelming things with too-large furniture, but oftentimes, if you go full throttle with a large sectional that hugs the walls, you’ll get a room that #1 seats a ton of people and #2 feels super welcoming and cozy. Take notes from this home we toured in the UK that fits a family of four.

Oh, and don’t rule out wallpaper. It can have a “striking effect in a small room” and “visually enhance the space.”

Another rule we’re told to follow when it comes to small space living room ideas is to stick to neutral, natural hues. Designer Jeff Andrews believes the complete opposite to be true.

Whether your room is large or small, all of our experts (except one) were unified in their answer to this question: Layered wins every time. Why? This thoughtful mix of furniture and décor in varying styles and finishes adds depth and cosiness to any space, not to mention seriously ramping up the style factor.

If you’re still feeling hesitant, Andrews wants you to ditch the fear. “Don’t be afraid to try something and take a risk with styling,” he said. “Go for the unexpected, take a look, and then edit. Also, be careful with colour; keep it subdued and subtle in a small room. Pops of colour may make the room feel choppy.”

Since you don’t have the luxury of space, you can’t just throw a bunch of pretty things together and hope it’ll work. Australian interior designer and author of The Tailored Interior Greg Natale believes it’s important to first consider all the pieces of furniture you’ll need in order to create a “welcoming, livable space.” Ask yourself questions like Would stools or ottomans work better in the space than armchairs? Would two side tables or stackable tables be a more size-friendly option than one coffee table? Round tables could take up less room than square ones.

Those pesky small living rooms always have us stumbling and second guessing what we should do to make the most of the floor plan. If you’ve ever struggled with how to arrange your furniture, how to fit in more seating, how to get in more light and beyond, here are 30 rooms—from genius teeny spaces full of inspiration to larger living rooms with plenty of ideas to borrow—showcasing the best ways to expand your square footage without any demolition.

“Cozy” is always the keyword for “cramped” space, but in this case, leaning into what makes a room feel genuinely cozy — as in, an enveloping cocoon from the sh*tshow that is the real world — can be totally soothing. Keep seating close together and intimate, and choose a plush, soft rug. Don’t you want to just curl up and relax?

Light curtains and shade help maximize the light in a small living room. It’s even better if you can match them to your wall color.

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We’re so conditioned by the living room formula sofa + coffee table, but what if you focused on doing what works for you and how you live instead? In this space from IKEA via Domino, a quarter of slipper chairs sit where a sofa might be (how modular!) while a coffee table is absent in place of a rolling cart off to the side and cushy floor rugs.

Jeff Andrews: “Everything should be beautiful but also functional. Don’t over-furnish.”

Max Humphrey: “Don’t treat it like a small living room. Life is too short for loveseats. There’s nothing sexy about a settee. If you can fit a normal-size sofa in your room, go for it. Skip the matching end tables, and throw a sconce or two above the sofa instead. Buying miniature furniture for tiny rooms can be a bummer because chances are at some point you’ll move to a new house or apartment, and you don’t want to be stuck with furniture that was size-specific to the space you had before.”

If your living room is cramped and cluttered, the last thing you’ll want to do is hang out there. That is, unless you trick your eye into thinking your room is bigger than it appears. It’s not magic; it’s just smart styling. Get ready to Pin all these tips.

Dark, glossy walls create a sophisticated backdrop for simple, clean-lined pieces. Use the small space to your advantage and make it feel like a jewel-box.

Decorating a small space can be daunting at first, but with some careful consideration, prior planning, and simple design tricks, you’ll soon have an enviable home worthy of a magazine spread.

Designers Cloth & Kind opted for an impressive statement wall when it came to this petite space featured on Architectural Digest, and the mix of patterns is fresh and lively, while a subtle, neutral palette keeps things from feeling overdone. This is a genius way to inject serious personality into a small space.

Keep it simple, sweetie! When you don’t have a ton of room to play with but you want to inject some color, it’s best to keep it simple if you’re a newbie. Start with a foundation of neutrals and add in one feature color and one metallic and run with it, like this space via House Beautiful which invites varying textures and finishes to add depth while remaining light and airy on the eyes.

Spotted on Marie Claire Maison, this non-traditional “sofa” is perched atop vintage storage bins—chic and smart!

Sometimes the best way to visually increase the square footage in a space is to keep the eye constantly in motion (so you don’t notice how small it is). Take a cue from entertaining expert Lulu Powers in her LA bungalow seen on One Kings Lane: pattern on pattern, bold color next to bold color—cozy perfection!

In this space by The Apartment St Kilda via Instagram, the crisp white walls serve as the perfect canvas for the oversize jet black lighting fixture and delightfully worn-in furnishings and accents—you hardly notice the room’s tiny footprint amidst the cohesive palette.

Steve Cordony: “Be bold. Sometimes people think that space limitations mean should play it safe and keep everything small and empty. Using bold, dark colours on the walls, or large-scale hero pieces of furniture, like a sofa, with lots of accessories and accent pieces, actually makes the space feel more open and interesting.”

“If you fill a room with things you love you can’t go wrong,” says Humphrey. “Minimal rooms are boring, and the only rule in design is don’t be boring.” Natale is a champion of the layered look too and believes it’s “essential no matter what style of space you are working with.”

Designer Trip Haenisch concurs. “Big furniture could work if you use fewer pieces,” he said. “Smaller furniture tends to be uncomfortable, and I am reluctant to sacrifice comfort.”

Use ottomans in place of a traditional coffee table to make better use of your space (because, let’s face it, a tiny house means your living room often does double or triple duty when people come over). You can top them with a tray to hold flowers and books, or call them into use as extra seating.

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If you have some windows in your tiny living room, put those window sills to work holding books, plants and other decorative objects.

“Include a few key pieces that make the space livable, but reduce their scale,” presses Natale. “You will get the proportion right and can even enjoy the design process.”

The key to minimalism is to find your style, stick to it, and then edit. Christine Gachot says, “My home is edited with a capital E. I live in a constant state of chaos with my schedule, so I need to be organised and to live minimally (shoe collection aside). This is about small spaces. Be thoughtful and precise. Each person should recognise her individual lifestyle needs and commit to a simple vision that suits it.”

If you do go big, Natale recommends those with a sleek silhouette, such as a “sofa with a low, narrow shape and slender arms; chairs with narrow or no arms; and tables with glass tops and narrow or cutaway legs.”

Curtains hung well above a window add airiness and height to a small room. Keep the curtain design basic but use extra fabric for fullness.

Try implementing varying geometric and linear prints, as seen on Design*Sponge. This gives a small space a sense of structure while also providing the illusion of additional length and width.

When floor space is at a premium but you’ve got tons of books and whatsits to store, you’ll want to consider floating shelves. Keep them the same color as your wall for an even sleeker look (and don’t be afraid to get creative with sizes, like these scattered smaller shelves in a room from VT Wonen).

Tom Stringer: “Scale (size) of the furniture is key along with related neutral colours to give the room a more spacious feel. Pieces need to relate to each other in a specific way (similar arm heights, similar back heights, etc.).”

A few other tricks of the eye: Try raising the legs on a sofa to “visually open up” the room, and use multifunctional furniture to save space. “Make an ottoman work double-time by placing a tray on it and [turning it into] a coffee table when you don’t need it as a seat,” says Natale.

(Image credit: Josh Gruetzmacher for Style Me Pretty Living )

Keep walls and floors all white to brighten up the space. A gallery wall with wide-matted art and white frames blends in with the wall, so the effect is eye-catching — yet not a bit cluttered. That way you can make a colorful piece of furniture the focal point of the room, so it’s not like the walls are closing in on you.

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Trip Haenisch: “Use a neutral palette, including white walls and light flooring, to create a more open and airy feeling. Too much contrast in interior architecture and furnishings tend to tighten things up.”

Some questions to ask yourself: Is there too much of something or not enough of another? Is a particular colour or shape dominating the space–or conversely, does the room look bland—without enough highlights or drama? He adds, “This process of editing is essential to ensure a cohesive, sophisticated space where every piece, every finish has a purpose and relates to the next.”

Draperies are the quickest way to add instant height to any space. The trick is to hang them from right around where your wall meets your ceiling and let them slightly puddle on the ground, as seen in this Notting Hill townhouse via Suzy Hoodless.

Mirrors are one of the best ways to make your tiny space feel open and airy. This space from West Elm shows off the dramatic impact multiple mirrors can play, plus they reflect any and all light available in the room.

Don’t be afraid of oversize chairs. Lots of little things in small spaces can make the room feel cluttered, so stick to a few larger pieces for comfort.

Ensuring that everything in your small living room works together comes down to “careful and constant editing.” Natale says you need to “step back at every stage of your design and assess its effect, particularly in terms of balance and contrast.”

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Hammock chairs are super trendy right now, but they’re also a life saver in a small living room. You can add seating without taking up a ton of floor space, like you would with a traditional armchair.

Feeling overwhelmed by all this advice? We totally get it, which is why we asked all of our experts to break it down into one succinct rule they swear by.

Bring your artwork up to trick the eye and expand or accentuate the height of the room. A gallery wall might seem too busy for a small space, but it can actually make it feel larger if it extends to the ceiling.

To turn a small, sort of sad living space into your favorite room, consider taking an empty wall and turning it into a top-to-bottom mini library. It’ll provide plenty of storage opportunities, but also makes such a statement and gives a luxe built-in effect. For an even more stylish push, pick a rich color, like the hunter green of this room, and add molding to polish off the custom look.

Grouping items into threes like in this space on SFGirlbyBay is a great way to make a living room feel a bit bigger by adding more pieces to a space without taking up more real estate. (Not to mention you can move smaller furnishings like these around as needed.)

So you have a tiny living room, but does that mean you have to compromise on the big furniture you love? Humphrey doesn’t think so.

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Acrylic or glass furniture has long been a designer trick for small spaces. They serve a purpose (i.e., holding drinks, etc.) while basically disappearing into the space. The result is a room with all the function you need, but without all the visual clutter.

While some might tell you that all-white rooms are the key to stretching a small space, we’re here to tell you that no matter what paint you go with, the effect of color is a lot more nuanced than that. A trick that always works, though, no matter what’s on your wall? Matching your drapes (bonus points if they’re a sheer material) to your wall. Here, from Better Homes & Gardens, off-white walls seem to go on forever as the visual line is not interrupted by different colored curtains. If you flip this and decide to go dark and moody, stick to draperies in equally dramatic tones for a super cohesive, polished look perfect for a small living room.

This living room feels big and spacious due in large part to tall ceilings and big windows, but also of note is the layered lighting. Keeping light at multiple levels (via floor lamps, chandeliers, and task lights) creates a moody yet well-lit room.

Packing your teeny space with lots of purpose is another way to trick yourself into thinking things are bigger than they appear. In this apartment on Homepolish, the living room seamlessly connects to an office area, feeling cohesive and interesting.

Similar to the above trick, choosing accent furniture with delicate frames is another way to keep down the visual noise. This tiny seating living room (the home of content strategist Cole Wilson via One Kings Lane) feels full sized thanks to the delicate gold base and glass top coffee table, thin framed accent chairs and floor lamp.

If you’re looking to add storage/display surfaces to your living room, consider going leg-free and attaching units directly to the wall (like this Besta unit from IKEA in a room via Livet Hemma). Floating large pieces like this tricks the eye into thinking less space has been taken up because the floor area is still free (plus, you can use that newly found space for even more storage should you feel the need).

If you’re still not sure how to assess things, answer celebrated interior designer, Max Humphrey’s simple question: What will the room be used for most? “While you might plan on having friends over all the time for TV night, chances are it’ll be you and your family using it the most, so keep that in mind when designing it.” So even if you love occasional seating, a big comfy sofa will probably be the most practical. “You can always bring in a chair or two from the dining room when you have extra people over,” he suggests.

“You might not be able to fit in a room full of furniture like you see in magazine spreads, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit a normal-sized sofa,” he says. “I always recommend buying the absolute biggest sofa that will fit in the space because if you’re anything like me, chances are that’s where you’ll spend most of your time lounging around. Plus, it’s no fun trying to stretch out on a loveseat.”

Okay, so this one is reserved for homeowners who can invest in custom solutions, but how enviable is this media center designed by London-based firm Sigmar?

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And just because there’s less space to work with doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste. In fact, Australian interior stylist and Belle magazine director at large Steve Cordony urges his clients to be bolder and use larger furniture. “It often makes the space feel stronger and more gutsy, rather than using lots of small pieces which can make the space feel too sporadic and bitsy,” he told MyDomaine. We couldn’t agree more.

But more importantly, “make sure your furniture fits through the front door, in the elevator, and up the stairs,” says Gachot. “If it can’t turn the corner in your walk-up, then it’s probably not going to fit in your studio. I learned this one the hard way—twice. Purchase pieces that will grow with you one day into a larger home, or your next pied-à-terre.” Noted.

With a rug that is. A large rug like this one in the West Village apartment of Lee Lenox makes a tiny space feel much bigger than it actually is.

Use two small tables to take the place of one big coffee table. They’re better for traffic flow and easily moved to wherever else you may need them.

When it comes to small living room ideas, Designer Tom Stringer agrees that prior planning is key when space is so limited. “The first step is to ensure that the layout will be functional for your needs,” he said. “Then confirm the sizes of the pieces.” For Australian interior stylist Steve Cordony, that means you need to get out the ruler and measure twice.

Blankets are a must for a cozy living room experience but when you’re short on space to store said blankets, you don’t have many options. Sure, you can stash them in a basket, but that takes but valuable floor space. A better option? The leading ladder (as seen here in the home of shelter bloggers New Darlings).

The counterargument? Natale believes small furniture is more suited to a limited space because it allows for “more opportunities to include all the pieces you like.”

Christine Gachot: “Proportion. Whatever happens to be your personal style, make sure you scale it to the space. Not simply in plan, but in every dimension. Whether you love Louis XVI or midcentury modern (my preferred seat at the table), it’s critical that you make sure it all physically fits. Less may in fact be more.”

It’s no secret that plants add so much value to any room in the home, but you can really get creative with them in your living area. In a tour of her home via House Beautiful, Justina Blakeney shows off just that in her compact living room, and is smart about hanging greenery as to not take up any precious floor space.

Choose lighting that can be attached to the walls or hung from above to save room on floor space. Swing Arm lamps also free up space on side tables.

Featured in Domino, the home of denim darling Nicole Najafi (founder of Industry Standard) showcases many talents, but the biggest takeaway here was her tip on a trick every small space needs to follow: “My apartment is full of eye tricks to make it look larger than it actually is. The shades, for example, are mounted a few feet above the windows to make them look taller. There’s actually just wall behind them.”

“Go dark and go big,” he told MyDomaine. “I love dark, glossy walls in a small room to create a sense of drama and intimacy.” If dark isn’t your vibe, then stick to Trip’s advice: “Use furniture that appears light or disappears, such as a glass or acrylic piece.”

A lower couch creates the visual effect of higher ceilings. Just add pillows to make it more comfortable for lounging.

Call us crazy, but we prefer styling a small space over a large one any day. There’s something incredibly thrilling about size-challenged decorating that really forces you to get creative. Yes, you’ll make mistakes along the way, but when decorated well, small rooms can look seriously stylish (these tiny bathrooms are proof).

Resist the urge to push all of your furniture up against the walls. If you create space behind the furniture, it makes the room look wider than it is.

If you’re looking for small living room ideas, follow these decorating tips interior designers swear by.

When the space is lacking, you’ve gotta get creative. This desk can become a dining table, making it perfect for entertaining.

Choosing a larger rug — even in a bold pattern — is a trick that makes a room feel bigger. Unlike smaller rugs, the large size doesn’t visually break up the floor.

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