30 Small Living Room Design Ideas
Don't let your small footprint limit your comfort and style. These small living room ideas will help you choose the best design formula to complete your charming living room and make it look bigger.
Let's be real. Designing a smaller living room can be very challenging, especially when you want to fit as much furniture and function into the limited area as possible. Before giving up on your tiny space, start gathering some small living room ideas to modify your design scheme and furnishing trajectory and maximise your precious floor space.
These are our favourite interior designer tips to achieve the best room you can create from your small space. From carefully planned furniture placement to savvy use of paint, decor, and window treatments, here are some interior designer-approved small living room ideas for an enchanting home.
1. Plan Your Layout
The living room serves multiple guises: for conversations, entertaining guests, TV viewing, or lounging after a long and tiring day at work. With working from home being the norm, many small living rooms also double as home offices or small spaces where the kids do their homework. With all these activities being squeezed into one living room, it's vital to create a layout that can fit the purpose without making the whole area cramped.
Figuring out the perfect layout for your living room might be a chore, considering your furniture pieces, storage, decorations, gadgets, and other stuff, but this process can be simplified by defining the major functions of your small spaces.
If you are a homeowner who entertains your guests often, your key furniture pieces are your sofa, coffee table, perhaps the TV console or your media center, and some accent furniture pieces to keep coasters and remote controls in place. Anything outside of these essentials can then be stored, purged, or transferred to another room where they can be more beneficial. If your small living room is intended to also work as a home office, then your layout will involve an office table and a chair. You might also need additional storage or shelves for your items.
2. Clear Out Your Clutter
Decluttering is the key to instantly making your living room feel more spacious and functional. This might be one of the most painful steps, but freeing some space will allow you to look into your small living room better. Removing unneeded items will give you extra square footage instead of letting knick-knacks take over the free space that is supposed to be for your relaxation.
3. Organise Your Storage
Once you are left with the essentials, you can now choose the right storage for your items and your living room's layout. There are thousands of small living room storage items on the market. You can either have a discreet storage scheme or make your storage a part of your interior design. You can also choose furniture pieces with built-in storage to avoid wasted space. Many sofas and coffee tables have small storage areas for things you need right away.
If you're looking for a long-lasting small space living solution, opt for built-in floating shelves or hidden storage to get rid of the visual clutter. If you have a big storage piece like a console table or a divider, make sure to place it against a wall instead of positioning it at an area that can block the open flow of the living room.
4. Layer Your Living Room’s Lighting
Natural light gives small spaces the illusion of additional footprint. If you have an ample source of natural light, make use of it by using sheer window treatments instead of blackout or bolder-coloured curtains to let more light fill the entire room.
If you receive less natural light in your living room, try adding more light sources. These include floor lamps, table lamps, wall lights, or pendant lights. Mixing these up creates a layered look while enhancing the dimension of your living room. Note that you don't have to have all of these lights in your living room. Work on at least three light layers, including your overhead light and some accent sources.
As much as possible, choose lights that take less floor space. We recommend using wall lights or swapping your ordinary ceiling fan with one that comes with a light source to brighten up your small living room.
5. Add a Mirror and Other Reflective Surfaces
Adding a mirror strategically in your living room gives your smaller space a more expansive feel, especially when positioned adjacent to areas you want to draw attention to. This old and bookish trick works wonders in instantly creating the illusion of having more space in your living room. You can pretty much place any mirror or any reflective surface on any spot you want to enhance, like the wall against the window, near the entrance or even the awkward areas that you plan to convert into a more purposeful corner.
Another trick that you can try is placing two mirrors on opposing walls to give them an instant glow and an expanded look. You can also choose a huge mirror as the focal point of your small living room.
6. Use Paint Strategically
Whites and nudes may be the champions of small living spaces, but did you know that adding some colours can also expand your living room? Choose an accent wall you like to paint or connect open-concept areas with the same paint colours to give your small living room an expanded feel.
When painting your walls, give your ceiling a different tone to make it look higher. Having a small room doesn't mean you can't play with patterns. Like in many other areas, there are so many different shades to choose from when painting small living rooms. To make the space feel expansive, use high-contrast hues like black and white when creating your patterns.
7. Embrace Your Open Living Room
Many modern homes embrace broken or open plan layouts that usually extend up to the dining room, allowing small living spaces to look infinite without physical and visual separation through walls. You can achieve this by using varied paints and patterns or choosing the right pieces of furniture that can highlight the width of your living room. Use a sectional sofa instead of multiple armchairs to let the space feel more open. This will give you more seating options and keep the area looking infinite.
If your living room is more on the narrow and long side, it can be quite challenging to make it more homey than a square space where you can collect all your living room furniture pieces in one area. In this case, try adding a rug to give your furniture pieces some common ground. Create a gallery wall or hang a statement art piece in a strategic area to draw the focus on the design and not the structure of your narrow room.
8. Follow Minimalism
When space is at a premium, using fewer pieces of furniture and hiding the clutter as much as possible can make a big difference in your small living room. Instead of getting different furniture pieces for each living room function, opt for pieces that can provide multiple purposes, especially those that can double as storage.
Also, consider getting furniture with simpler designs and colour combinations and focus on enhancing your small living room by taking advantage of the longest architectural lines in arranging your furniture. When shopping for furniture pieces and room decorations, always remember to give your living room some breathing space. Although it's tempting to provide every corner a purpose, keeping some spaces empty can help you make the room feel cosier.
9. Fake a Tall Ceiling
Windows play a crucial role when designing a small living space. If using a lower sofa isn't a comfortable solution to make your living room taller, another great solution can be done with your drapes. Creating a taller ceiling by hanging your curtains above the usual window pole will make your walls look vertically spacious. Statement curtains will draw attention to the length of the drapes rather than the actual size of your living room.
Accentuating the vertical lines of your living room will instantly make your ceiling appear bigger without the need to clutter your floor space. To make the room feel more spacious, choose a curtain rod that is larger than the window frame.
10. Go Big With Rugs
Now let's talk about the floor. When it comes to rugs, the bigger the better. A larger rug will make your room feel expansive without taking up significant space intended for your functional furniture. This is because bigger rugs do not break up the already small living room but anchor everything in one cohesive area, especially when large furniture pieces like the sectional sofa or console table are purposely pushed through the wall.
Feel free to go bold with your rugs. Pieces with more prominent designs and colour combinations will not defeat the purpose, especially if the rug is big enough to fill the room until the edge. You may also choose minimal patterns and neutral colours. Enhance your small living room by using sofas with tall and slim legs.
11. Use Patterns and Accents to Your Advantage
With minimalism on the front line when designing a small space, it's still important to create a well-balanced living room instead of contributing to bland and boring small living room decor. If you have a neutral base on your palette, accentuate your area by using patterns on your sofa cover, cushions, window treatment, rugs, or throws. Let's not forget about wallpapers that can effortlessly add depth to the design without literally taking up living room space.
Don't be afraid to go bold with your accents and patterns, even if you have a limited living room area. These are important elements that can create space and enhance the visual interest of the room. The most important thing is to create a balance among your colours, furniture pieces, and accents, to create a spacious living room without making it cramped or too plain.
12. Make the Most of Your Vertical Space
Let your vertical space stand out by opting for tall furniture pieces and long light fixtures. It will also help to utilise your walls as storage instead of getting smaller storage furniture that will take up your floor space. Hanging shelves strategically placed beside the windows will help draw attention to the height of the small living room, making it look taller and less occupied.
13. Play With Your Room’s Symmetry
Some square small living room spaces call for symmetrical furniture arrangements. A symmetrical room design provides a sense of cohesiveness and balance. This symmetry effortlessly freshens the mind since the straightforwardness of the design provides a clutter free feel.
To create a symmetrical interior design, start looking for a potential focal point in your living room. This can be a prominent piece of furniture or an architectural detail. After determining the focal point, decorate your space with pairings of furniture pieces and decorations. Don't forget to add some depth and interest while following an identical pattern on both sides.
14. Or Asymmetry
Another way to make a small living room look more spacious is to give it additional layers. You may create an asymmetrical design by pairing your sofa with stackable or foldable seats, or by creating an accent wall on one side of the room. A small room can still be a busy place full of interesting décor, but make sure you choose a strong focal point to make the room look larger than it really is.
When you get your asymmetry right, you'll be able to enjoy an upgraded living room. However, if done wrong, your room might look cramped and imbalanced.
15. Pay Close Attention to Odd Corners
Do you have a fifth corner or an unutilised nook in your small living room? Use that extra space to create a built-in shelf or a tiny study corner to give your area extra purpose. Make the corner a seamless part of the space by following the main colours of the living room.
If the corner is too small to fit a full study table, you may fill it with a storage surface, like a side table, where you can put your table lamp. You may also place a tall indoor plant to freshen up your compact room.
16. Decorate Vertically
Instead of positioning piles of storage units and furniture pieces on your floor space, consider decorating your small living room vertically using your walls. Adding some floating shelves, wall art, and playing with your window curtains will significantly affect what your space will look like without adding to the clutter of your floor. These handy storage pieces are typically less expensive to have than bulky furniture that may even break up the space.
Choose vertical shelves and decor that fall seamlessly into a colour palette to optically enlarge your small living room.
17. Create a Gallery Wall
A gallery wall is a simple yet efficient star in terms of decorating a space. Whether you have a tiny living room or a bigger one, you can always rely on a creative gallery wall. Consider bringing some artwork into your small living room to accentuate your walls.
Since you have limited space, feel free to use some artwork to add a statement to your area without splurging on too many furniture. Try a range of minimalist pieces, customised items and photos you personally took.
18. Be Strategic With Your Artwork
Hanging some photos and artwork at eye level is good, but if space is at a premium, you might as well hang shelves and more pieces higher up to the wall. Play with your home decor's sizes and designs to give your wall design additional visual interest. Remember not to make it too monotonous or busy. Instead, carefully plan your wall art pieces to succeed in your chosen design approach.
19. Pay Attention to Cohesiveness
Having a small space doesn't mean you have to choose compact living room furniture pieces all the time. Sometimes, it's better to go big where possible. You can opt for oversized furniture pieces like your sofa or focal designs like wall art to balance smaller items. If you're opting for big coffee tables in a small living space, try looking for nesting tables that can be stacked when not in use. This will help you save space and money on many small living room furniture pieces that will eventually clutter the area.
When shopping for a sofa, you may want to consider an L-shaped sectional with a storage chaise for an additional sitting room and discreet storage while taking less space.
20. Unify Your Space with a Monochromatic Scheme
A simple palette makes a small living room look more unified than using multiple combinations in a single space. A monochromatic scheme effortlessly makes a small living room look more infinite than limited.
If you are worrying about ending up with a boring design scheme, remember that monochromatic is not the same as monotonous. If applying a monochromatic design in a small living room, feel free to add patterns and textures that complement your chosen colours. You can also try accent hues, furniture, and decor that go well with your overall design.
21. Don’t Forget About Your Living Room's Focal Point
As much as you want to avoid clutter, some good clutter is needed to give your compact space some character. This might contradict other tips stated above, but a little bit of deviance can upgrade your living room. Well, designing a small living room can be really tricky. If opting for a small coffee table, try adding prominent statement décor on top to create a modest living room. Remember not to overcrowd your surfaces with décor, but make a well-curated statement coffee table as your focal point.
If your chosen focal point is your sofa, you can accentuate it with throws and pillows, or anchor it with a floor lamp or a side table. Adding some of these at the end of the longest piece of furniture in your living room will help you draw attention to the piece, making your room feel larger than it actually is.
You can also fill the entire wall behind your sofa with many small art pieces or a bigger frame. Having a small space doesn't mean you need to limit yourself to a few design choices. Take advantage of your room's minute size to make your focal piece stand out.
22. Keep Furniture Away From Your Wall
Pushing your sofa and other living room furniture pieces against the wall might be an easy solution to make your floor space look expansive, but the truth is that it contributes to the cramped feel of your space. Sometimes, exposing the ends of walls makes all the difference. This will allow your eyes to take a break from the busy living room layout, creating an illusion of a larger space.
23. Opt for Multi-functional Furniture Pieces
Things could go wrong when it comes to shopping for small room furniture. Although oversized furniture pieces take more space than smaller furniture pieces, many of them offer more functionality than the latter. Additional functionality means less furniture to splurge on and a well-curated space.
Your furniture choice will go a long way in decorating a small living room. When furnishing a living room, remember that you don't have to look for individual furniture pieces to fill your area. As much as possible, shop for multifunctional furniture pieces to provide you with maximum purpose while saving your valuable space. This will help you avoid adding too much furniture to your small living room.
Instead of shopping for additional chairs or a separate coffee table and a mini living room storage unit, choose a single couch that you can section to fit your space and a multi-functional ottoman coffee table to double up your storage. A sofa can be spacious but it does not have to be bulky. You may choose a couch with exposed legs to retain the airy feel of your small living room ideas.
24. Look for Options Other Than a Bulky Sofa
If your small living room really doesn't permit a sizable sofa, opt for a two-seater couch or a loveseat with exposed legs. This exposed look makes the small space easy on the eye. If you're in need of more sitting area, try listing down some lightweight solutions other than the arm chair and an extra sofa that might crowd your space. Look for pieces that don't only take less space but also give your room a fresher ambiance. Thinly designed metal chairs, transparent glass, or acrylic furniture pieces give the room a visually unoccupied feel.
25. Or Choose a Sectional
In other cases, the best thing to do when dealing with a small living room is to embrace it being small. A sectional will dominate the majority of the sitting room, but it will not require additional seating options. This way, you can make your small space look more unified and soothing to look at. This will also help you break out of the conventional sofa design provides.
When shopping for an L-shaped sofa, look for a piece that is more compact and flexible, so you can freely play with the layout of your small living room.
26. Find Storage Furniture with a Smaller Footprint
Smaller living rooms very much require efficient storage solutions. Ditch wide storage units that take up a lot of floor space and opt for taller pieces to maximise your ceiling height. A tall and slim bookshelf, a closed chest of drawers, or layered built-in shelves can instantly address your storage needs while taking a smaller footprint.
If possible, try floating your furniture to expose as much floor space as possible. Play with your rugs to enhance the proportions of your room.
27. Pay Attention to Your Coffee Table
If a big and bulky coffee table is out of the equation, try adding more surfaces for entertaining by opting for two nesting tables that you can stack together in a single space. These stackable pieces use minimal footprint when not in use. This provides a clean, Scandinavian approach to your small living room.
28. Pop a Window Seat
The key to an efficient small space lifestyle is thinking outside the box. When designing your room, try looking for architectural potential that you can convert into functional areas.
Have an awkward window area? Sometimes, what seems to be a challenge can be turned into an advantage. Look for large windows or a bay window that you can use for seating. Doing this will help you maximise your lounging options without investing in extra seats or taking up more of your valuable floor space.
29. Paint Your Room From Dark to Light
Many small living room owners avoid painting with dark walls, but if you want to go beyond light neutrals and still aim to maximise the look of your limited space, try painting your walls from dark to light, from below to above. Having darker shades at floor level and lighter colours going to the ceiling will give your room a sense of depth. Light-coloured ceilings also highlight your ceiling rather than the more occupied floor.
When furnishing a room with dark paint, choose lighter furniture pieces and decor to create a good contrast.
30. Express Yourself
While dealing with a small living room can be really daunting, it doesn't mean you should also limit yourself to space-saving but boring furniture pieces. When buying your furniture and décor, go for pieces that represent your own style.
How Should You Arrange Your Furniture in a Small Living Room?
Deciding on your small living room décor requires lots of considerations. Do you really have to pull your sofa away from the wall? Isn't it more efficient to place it in the corner so you have more room to move? The answer depends on every situation. Positioning your sofa inches from the wall enhances the room's proportion. This is great for creating a cosy and welcoming space that is also refreshing to look at. Pushing the furniture against the wall can also be an efficient way of sprucing up a small living room. It all depends on the area you are working with.
To decide, make sure to visualise your layout before arranging furniture pieces. Start by determining your focal point. Is it your sofa? Your coffee table? A wall art? An architectural area? Other furniture pieces should revolve around highlighting your focal piece. However, make sure to not create a busy and distracting interior design.
After determining your focal point, decide on the ambiance you want to create. Do you want to make a formal space or a casual one? For a small space, we recommend going outside the boxy, corridor-like layout where seats are arranged facing each other. Focus more on creating an intimate space that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their size.
What Furniture Shape is Best for a Small Room?
It depends on the structure of your space. A narrow room may be complemented better with slender furniture pieces. Round and rectangular furniture pieces work well with rectangular rooms. As for the biggest piece of furniture in your small living room, the sofa, we recommend looking for a piece with curvy edges and exposed legs to bring a soft and lightweight feel to the space.
How Do You Make Sure Your Furniture Fits Your Small Living Room?
Measure your available space, including the doors and pathways.
Plan your desired layout. You can draw this on a piece of paper. Layout all the furniture pieces and decorations that you want to include. Plan your space according to the configuration of your small living room and the shape of your desired furniture pieces.
Consider the distance between the furniture pieces in your room. Remember to allow enough area for everyone to move once the pieces are already arranged in the room.
Choose a focal point and arrange all furniture pieces to highlight it.
The living room is supposed to be a cosy, stylish, and welcoming spot where everyone wants to gather and relax. If your living room is cramped and filled with so much clutter, you won't enjoy its purpose.
We hope you got some ideas from the tips and hacks we listed above to improve your small living room without breaking a bank for expensive renovations. For more design tips and home furniture solutions in Singapore, visit our online collection at Megafurniture.sg.