Choose Visually Lightweight Furniture
Pay attention to the visual weight of furniture, not just its actual size. Light-color furniture or pieces with legs appear lighter than dark or boxy upholstered pieces.
In this small living area, the leggy chair doesn't obstruct views of the passage or the floor, so the space feels more open. The metal and glass coffee table also consumes very little visual space.
Use Neutral Color Throughout
Using a neutral palette throughout a living room is one of the best ways to push back the walls. The eye can roam freely through a neutral palette, so the space feels more expansive.
Living Room Makeover
See how this awkward long and narrow living room goes from drab to fab in just three steps.
Emphasize the Vertical
A room's space always includes more than just its horizontal dimensions. Invite the eye to move above and below eye level.
In this living room, emphasis on the vertical comes by way of floor-to-ceiling draperies that hang just below the ceiling beams.
Use Small Scale Furniture
Choose furniture in a scale appropriate for the room and for the people who will use it. The sleek design and small scale of a Saarinen Tulip chair suits a small living room, as does the Parsons table. The armless chair is heftier, but its lines and shape won't make a small room feel crowded.
Play Up the Light
Take advantage of all available light to help enlarge the space. Use white or pale colors, which increase the brightness of a room by reflecting light. Keep window treatments simple and avoid blocking the windows with heavy layers of fabric.
Add Seating with a Window Seat
Turn a window niche into a mini living area with a window seat. Choose slender, leggy furniture for small spaces because they take up less visual space. The eye is fooled into thinking the space is larger because you can see under and through these pieces of furniture.
Add storage without eating up floor space by building shelves into the space between wall studs.
Enlarge Space with White
A small living room escapes feeling constrained thanks to white walls, pale floors, and white upholstery. The elements of the room are united by white, giving the space a cohesive feel.
Carve Out a Corner
In an open floor plan, stake out a section for the living room with two love seats, or one love seat and two chairs, a large coffee table, and a rug. In this space, the seating placement distinguishing a living space from the dining area beyond.
Filling the floor space with a coffee table may seem counterintuitive, but using a few large pieces in a small space actually simplifies the room.
Use an Ottoman for a Coffee Table
A large upholstered ottoman doubles as a coffee table when you add trays to provide a flat surface for drink glasses or a vase of flowers.
Scale Furniture to the Space
In a small living room, a narrow bench serves as a convenient coffee table without taking up much space.
Build in Storage
Give a small space grand character and maximum function with a bank of cabinets. This unit incorporates concealed storage with open cubbies, which help the piece feel lighter in the room.
Create Clear Traffic Paths
Arrange furniture to direct traffic around the conversation core rather than through it. In this small living room, the sofa marks the beginning of the seating space. Traffic coming in from the door is directed to go on either side of the sofa, rather than directly through the conversation area.
Keep Colors Light and Soft
Pastel furnishings, white walls, and a light neutral area rug make this living room feel lighter and brighter and therefore larger. The chair offers comfortable seating, but exposed legs, they consume less visual space than a club chair would.