Small-Space Sofas

Think you can't fit a couch in your tiny living room? Think again. Simplify your shopping with our guide to buying the perfect sofa for a small space.


When space is limited, it can feel like your choices for a sofa are, too. While that might have been a reality in the past, it's no longer the case. As urban living increases in popularity, manufacturers are upping the options for scaled-down furnishings: There is a compact sofa to perfectly fit any small living room, den, bedroom, or guest room.

"Apartment sofas" are scaled to fit smaller spaces. A full-size couch is wider than 78 inches and usually includes three full cushions, but an apartment sofa measures in at less than 77 inches wide (some as small as 66 inches) and no more than 40 inches deep, and usually has just two cushions and smaller arms. Also popular among apartment sofas is the armless design. Removing bulk at either end leaves the view unobstructed and tricks the eye into perceiving more space. A sofa with exposed legs and open space underneath creates a similar illusion. A low-slung sofa also appears to take up less volume than one that sits higher.

Furniture arranging can be tricky in a small room. If your space doesn't easily allow for a small sofa and a couple of chairs, consider a scaled-down sectional instead. Although they're larger than a single couch, small sectionals make perfect sense for a cramped space by offering as much seating as a separate sofa and chairs but in a smaller footprint. A sectional can also maximize a corner when wall space is limited. Stick to a 2- to 4-piece sectional for a small room, and choose a design without arms if you want the flexibility to rearrange or separate the pieces.

When decorating a small space, designers suggest avoiding overstuffed sofas, which appear larger than their actual dimensions, and extra-deep sofas that unnecessarily gobble up floor space. Bold prints can also overpower a small room. The safest bet for a long-term investment is a solid-color sofa with simple, classic lines.

When shopping for a small sofa, dimensions are critical. Measure your space carefully before deciding on furniture, and never leave home without measuring tape -- even a large, overstuffed sofa can seem petite in a giant showroom. Also, never buy a sofa without trying it out first. It's a big investment and a spot where you'll spend plenty of time in the coming years, so be sure the piece you choose is comfortable.


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