5 Small Living Room Design Ideas

Liz | Balance + Rhythm
by Liz | Balance + Rhythm

Today, we're talking about small living room designs. Small spaces may seem like a big challenge but we can make the space feel larger, while also taking advantage of its inherent coziness and charm.

Studies show that of all the rooms in our homes, living spaces are where we spend the most waking hours. That means how this space looks and functions are really important to our comfort and well-being.

Small living room design

1. Define your space

The advantage of a smaller space is that it lends itself to coziness, but it can also get more cluttered, taking away from the comfort and visual appeal of your home.

The first step in designing a small living room that looks great and functions well for you is to define the activities of the space. Do you use it for entertaining, watching TV, watching game playing, or just relaxing?

With those activities in mind, you can use the following steps to create a space that's as comfortable and functional as it is beautiful.

Small living room design

2. Simplicity is your friend

No matter your preferred style, simplicity is your friend in designing small spaces.

One of the best things you can do for the look and function of a small space is to make sure it's free of clutter. That means editing the number of furniture and decor items and making sure that each piece serves a purpose or two.

Small living room design

3. A simple color palette

Simplicity is also important in putting together a color palette to create a cozy and cohesive atmosphere. A neutral color palette in a limited range of colors is a great choice for a small space.

This will make the room feel more connected and expansive. Select colors that flow between the living room and adjacent spaces to give the room a more spacious feel. A few contrasting accents will add interest and make the space feel larger by drawing your eye around the room.

Small living room design

4. Lighting techniques

Natural light can really help a room appear larger during the day, so take advantage of this and any views you might have. Use lighter window treatments.

In the evening, use layered light around the space and not just in the center of the room. A centered light will leave the walls dark and make the room feel claustrophobic.

If you're short on table and floor space for lamps, think about adding pendant wall lights, or shelf-mounted lighting around the perimeter of the space.

This will help to balance out any overhead lighting and make the room feel larger by lighting up walls and corners. Using mirrors is a great way to help amplify the light and add a feeling of spaciousness, day or night.

Small living room design

5. Furniture

Proportional furniture is important, but it doesn't have to be tiny. Fewer but larger pieces keep the space from feeling cluttered and have the added benefit of being more comfortable for the main seating.

A comfy sofa is a must. A small sectional can be a good choice for providing a great place to lounge. For additional seating, add a chair or two, or consider adding poofs for maximum flexibility.

Small living room design

6. Hidden storage

If you need storage in the living room, a coffee table with a top that opens or a storage Ottoman would be a great choice. If storage is not such a big issue, coffee tables that nest do a great job of giving you the right proportions, but also allowing you to adjust them as necessary.

If you have space for side tables, nesting tables can be a great choice for flexibility.

Small living room design

If your living room is your one and only living space, it will likely have a TV that will need to be either wall mounted or sit on a horizontal surface of some sort.

Use this area as an opportunity to take advantage of vertical and closed storage. Combining open and closed storage is a great way to add some visual interest while keeping clutter tucked away.

Small living room design

7. To drape or not to drape

You could forego rigs and drapery for a very open, spacious look, but you would miss out on the tactile and acoustical comfort they provide.

Choosing these items in a color close to the floors and walls will add softness and texture without visually breaking up the space.

Small living room design

8. Art

Wall art is a great way to make a design statement in any space, and in a small living room, a good strategy is to focus on one large piece.

Small living room design

If you prefer a gallery wall, keep it cohesive with artwork in similar tones. You could hang a series of black and white photography, or some other cohesive collection of work. Coordinate the frames to bring it all together.

Small living room design

I hope this article gave you some ideas for maximizing your small living space. Making smart choices around color, lighting, furniture, and art will help you create the illusion of more space.

Did you find these tips helpful? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Join the conversation