Press "Enter" to skip to content

Interior Design

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces

Savvy furniture choices, smart storage, and clever arrangements can help a small living room live large.

When decorating and outfitting a small living room, pay attention to the type and scale of furniture, consider the way color can impact how large or small a room feels and incorporate plenty of storage. Real estate agents always say that “less is more” when it comes to the furniture you keep in your house while it’s on the market—but interior design principles suggest the same is true when you’re staying put, too. Here’s how to play up your existing assets to make a small living space feel more spacious.

 

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Soft background

Space-Saver: Visually fade the perimeter.

To make the walls appear to fade into the background, paint the walls, trim and ceiling the same (or very similar) white and choose sheer curtains that match.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Go armless

Space-Saver: Use armless or slender-arm sofas.

In small living rooms, inches matter, which is why furniture for small spaces can be a lifesaver—and a space-saver. Their slender-by-inches footprint can make the difference between enough seating and overcrowding.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Stylish storage

Space-Saver: Hide your clutter in undercover storage units.

For an inexpensive take on a coffee table that packs hidden storage, try a trunk. Children’s toys can be stashed inside for easy access, and they look great in almost any room.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Pop art

Space-Saver: Use artwork to add big style to a small room.

Artwork doesn’t take up any precious floor space and can go a long way in upping the style factor in a small living room. Stick to a few bigger pieces, rather than a gallery of small frames, to minimize visual busyness.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

A step above

Space-Saver: Dressing up the walls can add a lot of character to a tiny room.

Sometimes small rooms don’t have a lot of space for accessorizing. A unique solution is to bring an architectural touch to lifeless walls by installing wainscoting.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Make art

Space-Saver: Get creative with your artwork.

Pieces of architectural salvage add instant character to rooms, but they can be difficult to frame. Here, a painted border cleverly showcases two old ceiling tiles, turning a small corner into an attractive focal point.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Reclaim storage

Space-Saver: Consider behind-the-sofa storage.

If you’re left without room for a tall bookcase, pick a shorter version and use it as a console table behind your sofa.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.comWhite done right

Space-Saver: Choosing cool colors will instantly make a room look larger.

Pale and cool colors reflect light, making a small space look bigger. Painting woodwork, trim and doors the same color as walls also helps them “disappear.” Both space-enlarging principles are put into practice in this living room, using white.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Floor show

Space-Saver: Visually expand your space with a bare floor.

An unbroken sweep of wood flooring is tops for making a room look larger. Angling furniture can also help keep a room from feeling boxy.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Lying low

Space-Saver: Choose lower furniture that will complement the size of the room.

The success of many small living rooms relies on smart furnishings. A pair of low chairs allows an uninterrupted view through this room while providing a chat-friendly seating arrangement.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Tall order

Space-Saver: Raise the roof on a boxy room and create the illusion of more space in the process.

Simply hang curtains just under the ceiling instead of directly above the window frames.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Mirror magic

Space-Saver: Use large mirrors on one wall to make space feel more open.

Mirrors pull off their expanding act by reflecting other parts of a room, as well as bouncing light all around. Group several large mirrors together to make a striking focal point while stretching the dimensions of a small room.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Clean scheme

Space-Saver: Keeping your color palette simple will make the room look larger.

Sticking with a simple palette of one or two colors can deliver a look that’s both streamlined and well-coordinated. The creamy beige walls and sofa and white built-ins are subtle, but dollops of blue and a touch of wood tones anchor the scheme and keep it interesting.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Layer it in

Space-Saver: Add interest with things that don’t take up space.

Vary different types of textures—smooth, coarse and fibrous—in small rooms to add depth and detail without demanding extra space. Here, a mostly neutral scheme is enlivened by marrying linen fabrics with warm wood tones. Mirror and glass accents make this small space shine.

Living Room Solutions: Design and Furniture for Small Spaces - bhgrelife.com

Oversize is OK

Space-Saver: Go bigger (where it counts).

It might sound counterintuitive, but a few oversize furnishings can make a small space appear larger, while too many small pieces can create a cluttered feeling. A sofa capped with a chaise longue helps this room live large in form and function.

© Meredith Operations Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.