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Small Living Room Ideas

Updated: 2019-01-03

Ingenious designs like these are helping crowded city slickers and small family home dwellers max their square footage making almost every space more livable. Small living rooms can still be cozy and spacious—with the right design and layout tips. In a small living room, if you get a little creative with your storage solutions you're on your way to designing a beautiful living room space perfect for your style. Small spaces, especially small living rooms, require thoughtfulness and creativity when creating a layout. 

So, want to learn more about decorating small living rooms? This article can help. We provide tips and ideas for decorating, organizing, arranging furniture, and designing layouts for small living rooms and small living room spaces. As a bonus, the end of the article has ways to maximize space in your small living room and save money. 

Bassett Furniture Living Room

Use your living room furniture to store things

Choose furniture pieces carefully that are both beautiful and multi-functional to save space. Designers swear by dual-purpose furnishings in small spaces as a way to double up on function and reduce visible clutter, making your living room appear more spacious.  Seeing multifunctional furniture pieces drop from the ceiling, stairs that pull out like drawers, cribs that transform into beds, coffee tables that lift to become desks, bi-fold doors disguised as a bookcase … it really is a bit like seeing Alice in her wonderland turned funhouse. Dual-purpose, convertible, and multifunctional furniture for small rooms give new meaning to the term “smart home.” Below are some tips for saving space in your living room by using multifunctional furniture:

Bassett SOHO

  • An ottoman can double as a coffee table, a storage unit and a place to rest your weary feet. Additionally, a storage ottoman to fit blankets in or a credenza to hold your records, books, and more with a mounted television. Consider buying an ottoman that serves as a storage space rather than an ottoman as well as an additional cabinet or shelf space. Why have a separate, clunky cabinet or trunk full of blankets and other items in the living room when you could use a storage ottoman with your sofa?
  • A sofa table or console can easily serve as a dining table and writing desk.
  • If you are looking for an entertainment center, console or credenza, make sure you find one with plenty of drawers or cabinets for ample storage.
  • Now let’s take a look at the TV. You could put it on a simple TV stand or you could use multifunctional furniture designed for small rooms like an accent chest and have drawers to corral the remote, umpteen pairs of eyeglasses, out of season sweaters, placemats and table linens, blankets and bed linens … get the picture? 
  • Choose lamps with swing arms for maximum flexibility. 

Light makes your small living room feel larger

One of the best ways to make a room feel larger is through color, particularly bright color. Using natural light, mirrors, and other decor, below are some tips for using light and brightness to make your space feel larger:

  • Take advantage of natural light by choosing window treatments that allow as much natural light into the room as possible. 
  • Mirrors are a decorator's best friend, and for good reason. Mirrors are not just used to maximize light and encourage a bright, open feeling; they also create the illusion of space.
  •  Place a mirror across from a window if possible to reflect the natural light and to create the effect of another window. Using full-length mirrors between two windows is an especially good way to achieve this effect. 
  • Use neutral paint colors on the walls to make the space feel open and bright. White or sandstone walls, pale wood floors, and soft-shaded upholstered furniture keep the room light and airy. 
  • Combined with neutral walls, mirrors can make a wall seem to "disappear," apparently liberating the confines of a small space. 
  • Colorful artwork, if used correctly, can also add space to your living room. Along with your neutral colored walls, one piece of large-scale wall art to give the room a sense of open space.
  • But what if you don't have space for a full-length mirror? Invest in smaller mirrors to create a mirror gallery. A narrow mirror flanked with art is beautiful and can uplift the entire arrangement.

storage ottoman

The third dimension saves living room space

Use the height of the room to make it appear larger. Taking advantage of the third dimension saves space in two ways. First, tall furniture takes up less floor space and, depending on how much storage it has, it can store just as much as a shorter piece with an equal mass. 

  • Include a tall bookcase or shelves and be sure to add accessories to the top that will draw the eye upward.
  • Hang sheers higher than the window to create the illusion of length.
  • A tall floor lamp or a swing-arm wall lamp instead of a table lamp will render a clutter-free look as well as bring light in from above the rest of the furniture.
  • Hang floor-to-ceiling drapery or sheers as high as they can go to render longer lines and a sense of grandness to your small room. 
  • Place eye-catching accessories on the tops of tall hutches or bookshelves to draw the eye upward.
  • You can include a wall of hooks above a storage bench or a mirror above a media console to create the illusion of space.
  • For storage, using the area above cabinets, TV entertainment centers or media consoles, and singular, open bookcases are excellent ways to maximize your space! 

ottomans

Smart designs that make your living room appear smaller

Make your room look bigger by including visually lightweight furniture. Below are some tips for how to use furniture that appears smaller:

  • Sofas and chairs with visible legs look lighter than those with skirts or bun feet. 
  • Transparent acrylic tables or a glass top table with a delicate metal frame allows you to literally see through the furniture. The uninterrupted sightlines give a sense of space.
  • Choose proportional furniture for the size of your room. Armless chairs have a more streamlined look and take up less space. Also, neatly sofas give a trim, space-saving appearance no matter what their size. 
  • Bigger isn't always better; sometimes you may need to choose furniture that is actually smaller.    Consider investing in apartment size furniture that is slightly smaller scale and designed for small spaces. Add an oversized accent piece for visual interest. 

Be efficient with your living room furniture arrangement

Sometimes, you don't need optical illusions or multifunctionality to make a room feel smaller. By adhering to traditional interior design principles, you can create more space:

  • Furniture does not need to hug the walls. In fact, by bringing furniture away from the wall, you create the illusion of more space. "Float" a couch or sectional to face a fireplace window or media wall and unite the elements of the space with an area rug.
  • You can arrange your furniture for the most efficient use of it by eliminating the need for end tables with one centrally located coffee table and wall-mounted lamps.   
  • If you don't know what to put right beside a television, you may have room for a small desk or bookshelf. 
  • Divide a long, narrow room into segments. Create a conversation area by grouping chairs and a couch together. Then, place a sofa table behind the couch and use it as a writing desk, snack or dining area, or for storage and display.
  • You can also mount the television and cut out a media console or TV stand altogether. 
  • If you have an open space that's still rather small, create room dividers with functional storage solutions, such as open shelving solutions. 
  • Shorter furniture such as low credenzas, consoles, benches, and media consoles are perfect for small living room spaces near the front door that don't have entryways. 
  • Including hooks or shelves above benches and consoles is the best way to utilize space by tucking away shoes, purses, keys, and more—especially when you don't have a corner closet! 

Allure storage ottoman from Bassett Furniture

*Bonus: Ideas for living rooms on a budget

Decorating any small room can be difficult. Coming up with living room ideas on a budget can be a special challenge.  Here are a few pointers to help you create a great living room, a space where friends and family love to gather for just about any occasion. When decorating a living room on a budget, consider these tips and tricks for making the most of your space.

Go with neutral furniture

When decorating your living room on a budget, tones are an imperative.  Instead of buying a couch in a dark or trendy color, stick with some neutral. You can always spice it up with colorful pillows or a patterned accent chair, but a neutral couch will help your small living room appear brighter and less cluttered. Incorporate light-colored furniture for a less weighty look.

Decorate with Furniture You Already Have

Sometimes you can redecorate without having to spend a ton of money at the store. The trick is to buy a few high-quality pieces that will last a long time, then save money by repurposing other items you already own. For example, you can try repurposing an old nightstand into a new end table, and then turning a chair you no longer use into an eclectic nightstand. 

Lauren Sofa

How the ideas from above save money:

Some principles are universal, below are ways that some of the concepts from the purely space-saving section of the article can also save you money (and space) when decorating a living room on a budget: 

Multifunctionality: Of all the living room ideas on a budget, using multifunctional pieces may be the one that most effectively combines class and practicality best. Replace the standard coffee table with smaller, more portable storage ottomans that can easily be pressed into service wherever they are needed or moved out of the way when they are not needed. 

Mirrors: When buying all new furniture is out of the question, consider how you can brighten your space and best utilize mirrors to create the illusion of more room. Adding decorative mirrors not only dresses up surrounding repurposed furniture, but they can work wonders in your small living room to create the light, airy look you've been searching for—all for a much more affordable price.

Living Room Arrangement Furniture Fit for Every Space

Let Bassett Furniture help your furnish your small space with living room furniture made with the uncompromising quality you've come to expect from Bassett Furniture. From love seats and sectionals to ottomans and area rugs, count on us to meet all of your furniture neYou don't have to sacrifice the functionality of your family room to create more space. Learn how to use your small space more efficiently and create the illusion of a larger scale without losing functionality. Our design consultants at Bassett Furniture believe these concepts (with tons of examples) can help you make the most of your space in your living room. 

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