Small living room spaces don’t have to feel cramped and uncomfortable. The right design tricks can help your small space feel cozy and intimate, making it a room you’ll never want to leave. We’ve rounded up 10 design ideas to maximize your living area — no matter how small.
1. Anchor With Art
No matter the size of a room, a common mistake when decorating is choosing a piece of art that is too small for the wall. Generally, the frame or canvas should take up two-thirds to three-fourths of the wall to create a focal point and for the proportions to look most appealing. When working in a small space, it’s tempting to downsize wall decor accordingly, but this mistake can make the room feel even smaller. Choose an oversized piece of art to visually anchor the room. Your space will appear larger than it actually is.
2. Pack a Punch With Color
A small living room provides an opportunity to create a “wow” factor in your home — think patterned wallpaper or bright colors that you might not use elsewhere. More visual stimulation will keep the eye moving around the room and make it appear larger. Stick with a main accent color or within a color family to bring the feeling of cohesion to a small space.
3. White It Out
Small spaces often feel dark, and dark colors absorb light. Try decorating in white to maximize the room’s brightness — it reflects light that’s already there. All-white rooms are certainly chic (a quick scroll through Pinterest offers proof), if white walls aren’t your thing, sticking with light or pastel shades can achieve a similar effect.
4. Reflect Light With Mirrors
Not only do mirrors make a room appear larger by reflecting the space, they can be strategically placed to reflect natural light sources, making a small living space brighter and more inviting. Paned mirrors can add the feel of more windows to a space lacking natural light, while smaller mirrors can be incorporated into a gallery wall or clustered into a focal point. Antiqued glass and mirrors with colored glass finishes can accomplish the same goals in a more subtle way.
5. Trick the Eye
To reduce the clutter of furniture and table legs, opt for wall-mounted pieces like a floating media console which will streamline a small space and give the eye room to breathe. Choose coffee tables or side tables made of transparent materials — think glass or acrylic — to open up a room visually and make it appear bigger without sacrificing function.
6. Make It Multipurpose
With space at a premium, prioritize living room furniture pieces that can work double duty. Swap in a traditional coffee table for two ottomans in front of the couch and use them as footrests during movie night, additional seating for guests, or as a table by adding serving trays on top. Similarly, nesting end tables tuck away to save on space, but can offer more surfaces for working or eating when needed.
7. Build in Storage
Just because you’re working with a tiny living room doesn’t mean you have any less need for storage, so it’s important to make use of every extra space possible without making the room feel cluttered. Rather than traditional bookcases or other types of bulky furniture, try installing floor-to-ceiling shelves or built-in bookcases. Look for vertical space or underutilized areas (think behind the couch) to sneak in extra storage.
8. Draw the Eye Up
High ceilings give a space room to breathe visually. Emphasize yours — or make them seem higher — by hanging curtains as close to the ceiling as possible to draw the eye upward and letting them touch the floor below. Add to the effect by hanging sheer curtains to diffuse light into the room and choosing window treatments close in color to your walls.
9. Play With Texture
With the right decorating ideas, a small room can feel perfectly cozy. Double down on the homey feeling with textiles. Don’t be afraid to layer multiple patterns and textures on top of each other to create an inviting and cozy ambiance. Overlay a large, neutral rug with a smaller patterned one to play up texture. Add knitted blankets or poufs to create an organic, inviting vibe. Conversely, consider furniture with luxe finishes and materials to amp up the room, like a velvet couch or accent furniture with metallic accents.
10. Define the Space With Rugs
The size of a rug can drastically change a room’s proportions and appearance. Use a large area rug that fits all (or at least the front two) legs of your furniture to define and anchor your living space, especially if it’s part of a loft or opens up to the kitchen or dining room.