How to Transform a Weird Corner into an Inviting Small Living Room
If your living room has access to a ton of natural light, don’t block it out with dark curtains. Let it pour in to make the space feel more airy and open. Even if you don’t have large windows and tons of sunlight, choose lighter shades to maximize the light you do have.
When space is lacking, the only option is to get creative and make things multi-purpose. For example, if you don’t have room for a separate living room, family room, and home office, combine each concept into one space. The living room and office above proves that the right layout and pieces can look great, no matter what shape or size the room.
Dark furnishings add depth to this white, small living room by Havenly, an online interior design service. Gobs of natural light keeps the gray sofa and cognac side chair from weighing the space down. Got high ceilings? A tall fiddle-leaf fig tree, as shown on the left, will contrast beautifully with crisp white walls. The rug on the adds a dose of room warming orange color while unifying the room’s color scheme.
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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.
Don’t be afraid of making a big statement in a small space. Lots of little things in small spaces can make the room feel cluttered, so stick to a few larger pieces for comfort and one for a spotlight style moment. In this living room, we love how the over-the-top, formal chandelier creates contrast and intrigue.
Here is another example of how playing with scale works in a simply designed small living room. Here the interior designers at Labl Studio based in New York City combine a mini Chesterfield sofa with what appears to be a giant-sized desk lamp. The layered rugs on the floor lend visual texture and bold color. The clear acrylic side table on the left adds function without the visual heft that comes with furniture that is not see through.
Sticking to lighter, natural colors like whites, creams, and browns makes it feel like a place you can recharge, says designer Jenni Kayne. Using natural textures in contrast to a bright white also adds an unexpected, yet welcoming look.
Think outside of the box with this avant-garde living room by Homepolish designer Alec Holland. Achieve this look with oversized, marshmallow-style couches and other interesting shaped pieces.
A little greenery will always make a room feel more put together. Whether you only have the space (or the green thumb) for a small low-maintenance succulent or you want to invest time and energy into a larger fiddle-leaf fig tree, consider adding a plant or two in your living room to give it that finishing touch.
Is your living room décor basically done but it’s lacking a finishing touch? Arrange your coffee table with books, vases, objects, and flowers to give it that magazine-worthy look.
When square footage is minimal, go for extra cozy small-scale pieces like the plush sofa in this space spotted on Haus Modelle. Colorful nesting side tables work as an expanding coffee table. A tiny bentwood stool from IKEA adds an extra seat.
This casual, yet totally put together living room is giving us serious boho vibes. Pinfluencer Alex Evjen nailed this effortless look with gorgeous, jewel toned chairs and a unique fringed centerpiece above the fireplace that serves as a fun talking point.To buy: Macramé Rope Wall Hanging, $39; urbanoutfitters.com for similar.
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One easy trick to mastering a modern living room is to contrast a soothing wall color with a dramatic pairing, like with these striking blue couches in blogger Tana Nelson’s space.
When it comes to décor, there is a lot of power in repetition. This goes for colors, but also shapes. If you have one or two dominant colors in your living room, try repeating them in various items throughout the room. For instance, in the living room above by interior designer Stefanie Stein, the tan leather of the sofa and the teal blue of the pillows are repeated throughout in other accessories like lamps and benches.
Leaning into the smallness of a space can actually be what makes it feel genuinely cozy and inviting. Keep seating close together and intimate, and choose a plush, soft rug.
Add some life to your space with a statement-making plant like designer Grant Gibson does with this larger-than-life Monstera. Bonus tip: mix things up by incorporating furniture in the same color family, but in different shades, like he does here with the blue sofa and chair.To buy: Halsey Three Piece Sectional, from $2,497; westelm.com for similar.
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.
Sometimes, you just need one antique to give your brand new space a little character. Whether you find a collector’s piece on 1stDibs or scour your local vintage store for something unique, a piece with a little age and patina will make your space feel more collected and elegant.
We love this palm springs inspired living room by interior designer Michelle Gage based in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Plants everywhere and botanic wallpaper both give the simple living room an enormous wow factor. Furniture in soft colors allows the greenery to pop.
As we’ve mentioned a few times already, a small space doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with color. So if you love incorporating pretty pastels or vivid brights but want to make sure your living room doesn’t look chaotic, the trick is to stick to a tight color palette.
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.
Are your curtains hung just below the ceiling and wide beyond the edge of your windows? If not, consider taking them down and re-hanging them. Placing your curtains as high and wide as possible will make your windows appear larger and allow more natural light to enter the room—making it look instantly more expensive.
There’s a formula to creating a magical monotone room, and Ashley Stringfellow of Modern Glam created the perfect space by incorporating tons of texture, like with faux fur, to liven up her living room. The pops of blush tones in accents combined with her paneled wall make for a visually interesting space to curl up in with a book.To buy: Ivory New Zealand Sheepskin Area Rug, $80; worldmarket.com for similar.
Modern doesn’t have to mean simple. Brooklyn-based interior blog, Aphrochic, shows us how to have a playful and visually interesting space that’s totally on trend, but includes some statement-making pieces like the lighting fixture and flower piece above the fireplace.
Black walls add depth to this small living room by Utah based interior design firm, Studio McGee. Loads of sunlight and the tall white storage unit on the left keeps the space from feeling cramped or dreary. An inexpensive striped rug anchors the room. The plush sofa makes things extra inviting. The armchair adds a pop of colorful interest. The oval glass topped coffee table takes up very little visual space.
An easy way to mix up your living room’s style? By adding a lighting fixture with a sculptural quality, like this one that designer Amy Lind used. No need for matching lamps — go for boldly-shaped sconces, an oversized floor lamp, or a statement-making chandelier. To buy: Sculptural Round Chandelier, $327; westelm.com for similar.
In this minimal living room, by Homepolish designer Katherine Carter, less is more. While a statement piece is a must to liven up the space, it’s important to keep things simple, like with this round mirror, or the space can become overwhelming. To buy: Copper Metal Framed Mirror, $73; target.com.
A bright yellow feature wall carves out a small living room in a pint-size one bedroom apartment by French interior designer Marion Alberge. Two pieces of small-scale furniture in soft colors, a sofa, and an armchair, bring comfort. The tiny, leggy coffee tables do not hog precious square footage.
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. This can also help anchor the space and give you a good staple piece to design the rest of the room around. Corner seating can also help you get more mileage out of less surface room for a longer traditional sofa.
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.
Instead of using hard-edged modernist shapes to soften the room, opt for organic shapes with “soft” edges to keep it contemporary, advises Raun Thorp of Tichenor & Thorp Architects.
Who said you can’t mix other styles into a modern space? Take note from Becki Owens, as she included a vintage rug in her chic and modern living room design, which brings a surprising element to the space. To buy: Kumi Rug, from $39; urbanoutfitters.com for similar.
A rainbow-colored living room is hard to achieve without being too overwhelming, but blogger Joy Cho of Oh Joy! knows just how to balance things out in this swoon-worthy living room. Balance out colors with lighter tones and make sure to include enough white space or earthy accents like Cho does with the bookshelf here.To buy: Natural Rattan Cocoon Chair, $230; worldmarket.com for similar.
When square footage is exceptionally tight, make the most of your living room with small-scale furniture as shown in this space by Boston based Jamie Keskin Design. A love seat carves out a cozy spot for two. Two end tables that double as shelving whip up a spot store books. Textural elements like the wicker coffee table and ribbed ceramic lamps punch up the neutral color scheme.
Make a small living room that feels stuffed in a tight corner feel more welcoming with these simple decorating tips from this space spotted on Homepolish, a decorating service that matches homeowners with interior designers. The rug on the floor carves out the nook. The window is the central focal point. The sofa below it anchors the area. The gallery wall on the left further defines the space. A small-scale marble coffee table and midcentury side chair bring practical function.
Creating an insanely chic small space is a cinch if you stick to a monochromatic palette as shown in this white living room featured on IKEA Ideas Lab. A few tricks keep this space from feeling cold and stark. Beautiful greenery enlivens the space with color. Natural wood and wicker accents add a dash of cozy, rustic style.
A vintage lucite coffee table can transform even the most boho living room into a modern space in an eco-friendly way. The barely-there quality of lucite gives the illusion that the colors and texture of your rug are floating up and touching the objects on your coffee table. To buy: Malone Coffee Table, $499; macys.com.
If you are working with a small open floor plan, creating a little separation between your different living areas is an efficient way to maximize square footage. In this home by California based interior designer, Haley Weidenbaum a sofa doubles as a space divider. The blue patterned rug anchors the living room. An upholstered coffee table doubles as a comfy footstool.
New York City designer Young Huh recommends adding in graphic curtains and a surprising piece of furniture, like this floating wood table, to create an unusual, yet stunning modern living room.
A couple of floor pillows can go a long way in making a space feel laid-back and layered. If you feel like your living room needs just a little more texture, try Moroccan kilim floors pillow. Not only are they an easy way to add additional storage, you’ll love the way they look.
10 Simple Living Room Ideas That Will Transform Your Space in Minutes
Next up: definitive proof that modern living rooms are warm and inviting.
Natasha, the blogger behind Candy Pop, skimps decorative features like a gallery wall in favor of small houseplants in her small living room. She says it makes times spent at home feel like summer 365 days a year.
A lower sofa or settee creates the visual effect of higher ceilings. Playing with proportion and scale will also help, like the tiny side table next to this lounge chair. Just add pillows to make it more comfortable for lounging.
Designer Emily Henderson, along with Crypton Home, achieved this organic living room with plenty of standout pieces like the leather chairs and wood table.
A minimalistic, “L” shaped sectional sofa is a great way to maximize seating in a small living room. A pitch-perfect example is shown in this space by Los Angeles based interior designer Haley Weidenbaum. Zero square footage goes to waste with the three-piece nesting coffee set. Not only do they provide extra function when needed but the two smaller tables instantly disappear when tucked under the large one. A leather woven chair is both a stylish and compact touch that does not add visual heft. The potted plants bring balance, beauty, and character.
If your living room is feeling a little uninspiring and stale but doesn’t necessarily warrant a full redesign, there are tons of easy ways to transform your space without spending a ton of time or money—and it can be as simple as moving some furniture around or adding a rug. Want to give your space an instant makeover? Here are 10 simple living room ideas that are basically free.
Is your rug too small for your space? Add a larger, inexpensive natural weave rug underneath to anchor the space. Do you already have a larger neutral rug that’s uninspiring? Layer a smaller antique Turkish rug on top to give your room character.
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.
The living room is arguably one of the most important spaces in your home. It’s probably where your family gathers at night, where you wind down on a Saturday afternoon, and where your guests first rest their eyes when entering your home. It’s only natural to want your living room to look and feel its absolute best. But while re-decorating a room is always an exciting process, it can also turn into a serious money pit quickly if you don’t prioritize and maximize what you already have.
This ultra-modern living room takes things to new heights with swivel chairs, which encourage conversation, instead of a sofa. This space, designed by Sweet Peas Design, is giving us serious living room envy.
Keep walls and floors all white to brighten up the space. Large artwork on the wall is eye-catching, yet not the leastbit 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.
Even if you’re lacking in square footage and surface space, you can get a lot of mileage out of high ceilings. To take advantage of that vertical space, accentuate tall windows with high curtains and a show-stopping wallpaper. Also, 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.
You do not need a lot of stuff to make an elegant statement. In this lovely space spotted on the Decoist, furnishings and decorative accents in a mix of luxurious materials and chic colors elevates things. The marble coffee table is an attractive focal point. The green leather pouf and blue velvet side chair offer up eye-catching seatings. A plush Scandinavian inspired rug feels fantastic under bare feet. The starburst mirrors add sparkle without going overboard. The fiddle leaf fig tree, shown on the right brings a touch of nature.
To buy: Butterfly Chair, $59; urbanoutfitters.com for similar.
Just because you have a fun-size living room, does not mean you have to skimp when it comes to decorating. Case in point, the following 15 simple small living rooms. Each one reveals how to pack a lot of style and function in minimal square footage without making things feel crowded or uncomfortable.
Dark, glossy walls create a sophisticated backdrop for simple, clean-lined pieces and even colorful, bold items. Use the small space to your advantage and make it feel like a jewel-box. Painting your ceilings the same color can enhance the sense of intimacy even further.
Use ottomans in place of a traditional coffee table to make better use of your space (because 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 use as extra seating.
When you keep all the elements in a room sleek and uncluttered, it’s important to make sure there’s a focal point in the room to add visual interest, like designer Mandy Cheng does here.
When it comes to creating a simple living room, you can get mighty creative with color. To make it this idea work, keep your walls and ceiling bright white. Here, the interior design duo at California based firm, Taylor and Taylor took this room to the next level with colorful furnishings in contrasting bold and pastel shades.
Sometimes, all you need to do to make your living room feel fresh is to switch the layout. Is your furniture pushed up against the walls? Try floating it in the middle of the room. Is there too much space between your seating arrangement? Consider dividing your space into multiple zones, like Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus did in their L.A. living room above.
Offset a neutral space with an eye-catching light fixture, like Siham Mazouz, author of How the French Live, does in this minimal, French-inspired living room. Lighting sets the tone for the entire room’s space — so make sure you choose something striking.To buy: Catalina Geo Swag Pendant Light, $80; hayneedle.com for similar.
Do you have bookcases in your living room? Take everything out and re-organize them. Remove any items you don’t absolutely love or serve no purpose, and re-introduce items one by one, starting with stacks of books and art and finishing up with smaller accessories like vases and decorative accents. And don’t forget to leave white space for the eye to pause.
Emily Schuman, of the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, is giving us serious bookshelf envy with her color-coded book collection. Her living room, featured on Apartment Therapy, is both playful and sophisticated with pops of color and a chic leather sofa.
A key to warming up modern colors (black, white, and concrete) is throwing in wooden accents, like designer Bobby Berk (of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reboot on Netflix) does here. Plus, the wood can double as an unexpected architectural element.
A modern living room often features sleek line furnishings and soothing palettes, says Homepolish designer Nina Jizhar, however, incorporating an iconic piece such as this Eames lounge chair bring another level of sense of style.
IDF Studio, an interior design firm out of San Francisco created this small living room, which is a mash-up of California causal style combined with Scandinavian inspired décor. The pale color palette gives the space it’s tranquil and relaxing vibe. Notice the backward books? Facing the pages out works with the room’s color scheme.
The classic layout in a living room is to position the sofa to face the TV, but what if it was facing the window or another sofa instead? Consider how you use your space the most and arrange your sofa in a way that makes the most sense for you.
“Creating a modern living room that feels chic and layered is all about mixing textures and styles; think brass and mixed metals. And bringing in vintage. Paired with luxe fabrics, like velvet and a neutral, but warm, color palette, no way you can’t create an interior you love,” says interior designer Nate Berkus.
If you could only choose one room in your home to put your heart and soul into designing, the living room would top the list. It’s that treasured (and often off-limits) space that sets the tone for your entire decorating style.