Small-Room Solutions: Living Rooms

Brown orange sofa
Savvy furniture choices, smart storage, and clever arrangements can help a small living room live large. When decorating and outfitting a small living room, pay attention to the type and scale of furniture, consider the way color can impact how large or small a room feels, and incorporate plenty of storage. Read on for more details!

Soft Background

Space-Saver: Visually fade the perimeter.

To make the walls appear to fade into the background, paint the walls, trim, and ceiling the same (or very similar) white and choose sheer curtains that match.

Go Armless

Space-Saver: Use armless or slender-arm sofas.

In small living rooms, inches matter, which is why armless chairs can be a lifesaver -- and a space-saver. Their slender-by-inches footprint can make the difference between enough seating and overcrowded.

Make your small living room better with these furniture tips. We'll show you how to arrange the space right, plus what furniture pieces to use and what to skip.

Arrange It Right

The right furniture arrangement can make all the difference in a small living room. Watch to see how to make it happen.


Stylish Storage

Space-Saver: Hide your clutter in undercover storage units.

For an inexpensive take on a coffee table that packs hidden storage, try a trunk. Children's toys can be stashed inside for easy access, and they look great in almost any room.

Small rooms don't need to skimp on decorating style. Here's how to turn small spaces into function-filled, style-forward rooms.

Big Decorating Ideas for Small Space

You don't need to scrimp on style when it comes to small rooms. Watch to see how this combo living room-dining room hits all the right style notes in a tiny space.


Double Duty

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

A tray quickly takes an oversize ottoman from a casual put-your-feet-up piece to one fit for formal entertaining. In this tight living room, the round ottoman also eases the pain of inevitable knee bumps.

Pop Art

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

Artwork doesn't take up any precious floor space and can go a long way in upping the style factor in a small living room. Stick to a few bigger pieces rather than a gallery of small frames to minimize visual busyness.

A Clear Call

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

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.

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. 

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.

Reclaim Storage

Space-Saver: Behind-the-sofa storage

If you're left without room for a tall bookcase, pick a shorter version and use it as a console table behind your sofa. 

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.

Floor Show

Space-Saver: Visually expand your space with a bare floor.

An unbroken sweep of wood flooring is tops for making a room look larger. Angling furniture can also help prevent a room from feeling boxy.

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 room while providing a chat-friendly seating arrangement.

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. 

Mirror Magic

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

Mirrors pull off their expanding act by reflecting other parts of a room as well as bouncing light all around. Group several large mirrors together to make a striking focal point while stretching the dimensions of small room.

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. The creamy beige walls and sofa and white built-ins are subtle, but dollops of blue and a touch of wood tones anchor the scheme and keep it interesting.

Corner Solution

Space-Saver: For a tight corner, a sectional can be your best bet.

A sectional provides seating without chopping up a small room. Tucking an L-shape bookcase behind the piece makes room for ample storage. (Use the lower shelves to store the things you rarely access, like seasonal decor.)



Layer It In

Space-Saver: Add interest with things that don't take up space.

Vary different types of textures -- smooth, coarse, and fibrous -- in small rooms to add depth and detail without demanding extra space. Here, a mostly neutral scheme is enlivened by marrying linen fabrics with warm wood tones. Mirror and glass accents make this small space shine.



Oversize Is OK

Space-Saver: Go bigger (where it counts).

It might sound counterintuitive, but a few oversize furnishings can make a small space appear larger, while too many small pieces can create a cluttered feeling. A sofa capped with a chaise longue helps this room live large in form and function.

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