Use space-savvy furnishings, clever storage solutions, and chic decorative touches to make your small living room feel and live large.
Choose furniture strategically
Whether purchasing new furniture or pulling pieces from other spaces in your home, think first about how the pieces work and the space they take up. The right choices can make the room look and function bigger than its space. Consider these ideas.
- Use furniture than can multi-task. An oversized ottoman in the center of the seating area serves as a coffee table with a decorative tray added, while the piece can double for extra seating. Or, trade a coffee table for a woven trunk with storage space inside.
- Select smaller, portable pieces that can be rearranged. Three small end tables grouped as a coffee table are easy to sprinkle around the room to open up traffic flow when entertaining or to clear space for children to play.
- Incorporate built-ins that provide storage, as well as architectural dimension. This wall of built-in cabinetry offers decorative display space and functional storage. Plus, a recessed daybed incorporated into the wall eliminates the needs for a sofa in the room. The living room can even double as a guest room.
- Choose furniture that doesn't overwhelm the space or hinder the traffic flow. For example, a pair of slipper chairs add functional seating without heavy arms that take up space and interrupt movement through the conversation area.
- Add round elements to a small, square room. A curved-back sofa, round coffee table, and circular ottoman open the visual and physical flow in a small space. Soft edges, instead of rigid corners, turns small into cozy.
- Defy the idea that only small pieces can be used in small rooms. Sometimes, a few oversize furnishings can make a small space appear larger, while too many small pieces can create a claustrophobic feeling. This generous sofa capped with a chaise lounge helps this room live large in form and function.
Incorporate storage in clever ways
Your living room is not only a space for people to gather and sit, it's a place where the family plays and works. If the room is small, it has to work even harder to function efficiently. Incorporate some of these smart storage suggestions.
- Choose seating and ottomans that open to reveal hidden storage. Use tables with shelves underneath, or slide baskets and bins beneath open tables to make the most of the empty space.
- Arrange bookcases as room dividers that create intimate seating areas and offer storage. Position a low bookcase along the back of a sofa to double as a console table.
- Pull the sofa or chairs away from the wall to make space for a console table that provides display space on top and storage below. Creating a cozy conversation area in center of room, with decorative space along the perimeter, makes the room feel larger because there are multiple zones.
- Keep bookshelves tidy and clutter minimal on mantels and tabletops to keep the room looking open and airy.
Use decorating tricks
You can't change the dimensions of your room, but you can fool the eye into seeing the space as larger than it is. Try these decorating tricks to visually enlarge your living room.
- Use scale to deliver big impact. One oversized piece of art on a wall can create a strong focal point that actually opens the room. To the contrary, multiple pieces scattered around the room make the room feel cluttered and small. Achieve a similar effect by covering one wall with an eye-catching patterned wallpaper.
Inspiring Living Rooms
-Do you suffer from multipersonality decorating? I know I do. Sometimes, I crave a so serene space and sometimes I just want a punch or two of color. I'm Lacey Howard, editor of Decorating Magazine and today I'm going to show you how to express all your decorating personalities with just a few easy changes. Right now, with beige walls, painted white case goods, comfortable upholstery, and just a few accessories, this living space is a neutral oasis inspired by Swedish design. -I traveled to Sweden for work and fell madly in love with their simple elegance. They only have a few pieces of furniture in each room and they deal in light grays and beiges, I just find that so soothing to your mind. -Meg likes to be able to put technology behind closed doors at the end of each day. -Technology already has such a strong grip on our lives. It shouldn't have our every moment. -To that end, Meg incorporates painted white case goods to hide her computer, television, and other electronics. Her serene design scheme allows her guests to relax, unplug, and be the focus of Meg's attention. When Meg craves a spot of color, her home offers a beautiful neutral canvas on which to paint an accent hue or two. The simple addition of a couple of pillows on the living room's upholstered pieces, a few lampshades with color, painted pottery and colored glass to catch the light in a window, and some patterned bedding gives Meg's home a whole new look. Look at this place now. At stage 3, Meg's serene oasis boasts a playful color palette and lots of personality. With a bevy of colored accessories including rugs, pillows, drapes, painted tables, dishes, bedding, and artwork, there's no need to paint the walls. The simple addition of accessories gives these rooms all the color, pattern, and energy they can handle. -Well, I really didn't wanna have to go and paint the walls so I figured I'll just run down to the art store and buy a canvas and paint it solid and I find it's the better way to go because anything else is just gonna compete with the fabric so stay solid and stay within your color scheme. -Remember where Meg's home started? Her rooms whispered with a serene palette inspired by sooting Swedish design, beautifully upholstered pieces, painted white furnishings, and textured rugs make her space a neutral oasis. A few pops of color in the form of pillows and other easy additions gave Meg's space a few visual accents from room to room. In the final stage, Meg's home reaches its saturation point. Layers of accessories bring color, pattern, and additional texture to walls, windows, floors, and furnishings. Loads of color take Meg's room from soothing to energetic, serene to empowering, all without painting walls or changing the major furnishings. Don't let multiple decorating personalities keep you from making design decisions. Just choose furniture you love and a neutral scheme that suits you. Have a few colorful accents to pop in and a closet full of bold accessories to layer on when the mood strikes. Then, you just tuck it all away and return to your neutral oasis. For Decorating Magazine, I'm Lacey Howard.