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Popular in Decorating

Small Room Solutions: Living Rooms

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


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Stylish Storage

      Space Saver: Hide your clutter in undercover storage units.

      For an inexpensive take on a coffee table that's flexible to move and packs hidden storage, try a pair of cubes. Children's toys can be stashed inside these wicker models for easy access and they look great in almost any room.

    • Arms Race

      Space Savers: Use armless or slender-armed sofas.

      Living rooms are called on to do a lot of entertaining, but finding spots for guests to sit isn't always easy. Despite its limited size, this one makes space for multiple seating options without sacrificing comfort, thanks to two plush but armless chairs, an armless love seat, and a slender-armed sofa.

    • Calming Colors

      Space Saver: Choose furniture that can do double duty like this ottoman.

      Two trays quickly take an oversize ottoman from a casual put-your-feet-up piece to one fit for formal entertaining. In this tight living room, the soft corners also ease the pain of inevitable knee bumps.

    • Pop Art

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

      Give artwork extra sizzle against light-reflecting white walls by layering it on top of an inexpensive painted artist's canvas.

    • Clear View

      Space Saver: Stick with the same colors.

      Subtle tone-on-tone patterns add interest to the draperies, area rug, and sofa upholstery in this living room without making the space feel busy. "See-through" legs on the sofa, side tables, and coffee table also help keep the room's feel open and airy.

    • A Clear Call

      Space Saver: Choose clear furniture and accessories that don't visually take up space.

      For a family in need of a spot for casual TV dinners, drawing sessions, and game time, an acrylic coffee table provides a stylish and almost invisible solution in this tiny living room. Adding minimal visual weight, the table is sturdy yet lightweight, and it doesn't bite back if you bump into it.

    • Duo Tone

      Space Saver: Take advantage of built-in space.

      Transform built-in shelves into an eye-arresting display by selecting one color for the inside of the unit and another for the shelves. Against the snowy white backdrop, these simple wooden shelves appear to float -- a look that's perfectly in keeping with the rest of the room's breezy attitude.

    • Stack It Up

      Space Saver: Stacking accessories can add visual interest and contain the clutter.

      In this small space, furniture pieces were added for extra storage. A wicker basket, with deep storage space, stands in as a coffee table, and a china cabinet hosts a wine rack up top.

    • 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. The ledge atop the paneling in this living room provides a pretty perch for a piece of framed decorative paper, an unexpectedly empty gold frame, candleholders, and a corbel that can double as a bookend.

    • 10 of 21

      Look This Way

      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.

    • 11 of 21

      Long and Narrow

      Space Saver: Use rugs to separate the spaces.

      Conquer a long, narrow living room by breaking the space into two separate seating areas. A zebra-style rug anchors the largest zone in this room. A pair of slipper chairs draws the eye to an inviting window nook.

    • 12 of 21

      Think Tall

      Space Saver: Take advantage of your crown molding to make a room look taller.

      Lofty ceilings make even tiny rooms feel less claustrophobic. But if your ceilings aren't much higher than 8 feet, try to trick the eye into believing they are. The top of a tall and slender armoire sits just under the crown molding in this living room. Its height seems to lift the ceiling, an illusion that's enhanced by the unit's slender width.

    • 13 of 21

      White 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.

    • 14 of 21

      Floor Show

      Space Saver: The placement of your furniture is key to maximizing your space.

      An unbroken sweep of wood flooring is tops for making a room look larger. Arranging the sofa and chairs on an angle instead of lining them up against walls also kept this room from feeling boxy. Now it's all the more interesting.

    • 15 of 21

      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 apartment while providing a chat-friendly seating arrangement.

    • 16 of 21

      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. The vertical stripes on these linen sheers add to the effect.

    • 17 of 21

      Serene Moves

      Space Saver: Certain window treatments can make a room look bigger.

      Swing-arm-rod draperies make light work of creating privacy by night and framing views by day in this living room. Symmetrically arranged furnishings and matching sets of side tables and chairs underscore the sense of calm and order.

    • 18 of 21

      Mirror Magic

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

      Sometimes even small rooms suffer from too-tall ceilings that leave the space feeling cold. To visually lower the lofty ceiling, an extra tier of molding was added. You could achieve a similar effect at less expense with paint. On the back wall, mirrors pull off their expanding act by reflecting other parts of a room as well as bouncing light all around. Grouped together, the three tall mirrors make a striking focal point while stretching the dimensions of this one-room loft.

    • 19 of 21

      Visual Simplicity

      Space Saver: Stick to one wall color.

      Try using just one or two colors per room to expand the space. The light walls and white sofa help to visually push back the perimeter, but dollops of red and a touch of black anchor the scheme and keep it interesting.

    • 20 of 21

      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. White slipcovered furnishings pop against beige walls in this living room. Black serves as the accent color on furniture and picture frames, adding defining detail but not busyness or clutter.

    • 21 of 21
      Next Slideshow 26 Ideas to Steal for Your Apartment

      26 Ideas to Steal for Your Apartment

      Living in a small space is tough, especially when your decorating options are limited by rental rules and landlord laws. Let these ideas inspire you to make the home (and space) you want.
      Begin Slideshow »



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