Ideas & Inspiration

Small Living Room Ideas

Maximize the Light
Light shines in large windows of a small living room with a pale blue carpet and matching chair.
  • Providing as much light as possible will make a small living room bright and airy, so avoid dark curtains and let in as much natural light shine as possible. 
  • Ensure a balance of light with equal illumination in all corners of the room.
  • Skylights can bring in natural light when the windows are limited. 
Hang Lamps and Other Furnishings
A hanging lamp and a floor lamp illuminate a small living room with a brown sofa and multiple plants.
  • Instead of floor or table lamps that take up precious real estate, use sconces, a ceiling light fixture or wall- or shelf-mounted lamps as well as other kinds of hanging lamps.
  • Hang the television from the wall and know that wall-mounted fireplaces are increasingly common.

Tip: Hanging hammock chairs add seating while taking up less floor space. 

Reflect on Mirrors
Behind a small modern chair, oval and rectangular mirrors hang and lean the wall of a small living room.
  • One of the best-known methods to make a living area look bigger is by freely using mirrors, which amplify the available light while creating the impression of more space. Wall mirrors and even mirrored tile provide excellent decoration. 
  • You can also consider mirrored furniture such as chests and coffee tables. 

Tip: Glass furniture pieces lack reflective surfaces but have a similar effect. 

Elevate the Eye-Line
Gray and white curtains hang close to the ceiling of a small living room with a white fireplace and contemporary furniture.
  • Use open shelving storage systems and decorations that take advantage of the upper walls and draw the eye higher, conveying a taller ceiling. 

Tip: Hang curtains above window line, closer to the ceiling.

Bring Down the Furniture
The low height of warm gray sectionals make a living room look bigger.
  • Similarly, chairs, sofas, coffee tables and other pieces that are lower to the floor than standard also create the effect of tall ceilings and greater spaciousness. Just make sure you’re comfortable with the seating before committing.
Furnish With a Dual Purpose
A brown ottoman provides hidden storage in a living room with earth-toned furnishings.
  • Choose living room furniture designed to have more than one function, such as a sofa that has built-in storage space, a coffee table that makes a comfortable dining surface or a trunk or ottoman that serves as extra seating or storage.
  • Similarly, folding chairs and dining tables with extensions can conserve space or be put away when not in use. 
Lay Down a Large Rug
A matching yellow sofa and chair stand on a large rug below a large mirror in a small living room.
  • Where an undersized throw rug may have a meager appearance in a small room, an eye-catching large rug or wall-to-wall carpeting takes advantage of the floor as a decorative surface. 
Cozy Up With Ample Seating
A gray sectional sofa with matching throw pillows provides seating in a small living room.
  • Embrace the compact space by emphasizing a close-up, cozy seating area with sectionals and plush throw pillows. The more children in the house, the more practical this may be for family time. 
Choose a Bold Color or Pattern
A yellow sofa with matching throw pillows stands against a yellow wall in a small living room.
  • Decorating with a bold color palette or patterns on your carpeting, walls and furniture, can make a memorable statement, such as a monochromatic color scheme on the walls and furnishings.
  • White paint or light colors maximize illumination and convey an airy interior.
  • Stripes provide a classic means of drawing the eye up.
Think Minimally
A small living room features a minimal, symmetrical design with yellow and black throws, yellow chairs and white lamps.
  • Avoid a cluttered look with a minimal design, including smaller decor with clean lines instead of ornate furnishings, to keep your limited space from seeming cramped or busy. 
  • Consider armless accent chairs and avoid ones with unnecessarily tall backrests, and opt for loveseats instead of sofas.
Make a Big Decorating Statement
A large painting hangs from the wall of a small living room with a matching carved chair and end table.
  • Some interior designers buck the conventional wisdom by using a large, dramatic piece of furniture as a theatrical focal point, including chandeliers, artwork or a large armchair. Your family size may dictate how much seating you need.

A small living room interior sometimes calls for trying big decorating ideas. Make the most of your square footage whether you’re entertaining guests or enjoying some quiet quality time.