20 Small Living Room Ideas That Maximize Style and Storage

Make a small living room feel larger with our ideas for color, furniture, storage, and more.

living room with gallery shelves and l shaped couch
Photo: Dylan Chandler

When designing a small living room, consider the ways color, furniture, storage strategies, and other elements can impact how the room feels. With a few tricks, you can make a tight space look and feel deceptively large. Use these living room ideas for small spaces to transform your home.

01 of 20

Sneak in Storage

chandelier living room vintage trunk mural
Hector Sanchez

Hide clutter in a small living room by using furniture that doubles as a storage unit. For a coffee table alternative that provides hidden storage, try a trunk. Books, children's toys, extra blankets, and other items can be stashed inside for easy access, and it looks great in almost any room.

02 of 20

Create a Focal Point

eclectic pink, blue, and yellow midcentury sitting room
David A. Land

If your small living room lacks a natural focal point like a fireplace, create one. Here, a large, colorful piece of art draws the focus to one wall. Matching bookshelves and wall sconces flank the artwork, creating a pleasing sense of symmetry.

03 of 20

Utilize Small Living Room Furniture

modern neutral tones living room
Laurey Glenn

Every inch counts with small living rooms, especially when it comes to furniture. Use armless sofas or those with a narrow design to avoid taking up too much space in a small living room. Their slim footprint can make the difference between having enough seating and being overcrowded.

04 of 20

Arrange Furniture Efficiently

sitting area with white brick fireplace
Josh Grubbs

The right furniture arrangement can make all the difference in a small living room. Although pushing all the furniture against the walls might seem like it would maximize space, this layout can actually make the room feel closed in. Instead, pull the furniture in toward the center of the room to create a cozy conversation area.

05 of 20

Add Your Personal Style

seating area with wicker chair and white sofa
Annie Schlecther

You don't need to scrimp on style when it comes to small rooms. The trick is to scale down the size and amount of furniture and decor so they don't overwhelm the space. Start with a few pieces of right-size furniture, then layer in a curated selection of accessories to provide texture and personality.

06 of 20

Make Walls Pop with Art

living room with gallery shelves and l shaped couch
Dylan Chandler

Since it doesn't take up any precious floor space, artwork can go a long way in upping the style factor in a small living room. Vary the size and style of frames throughout the room to add visual interest. To allow for frequent swaps and rearrangements, prop framed art on floating shelves rather than hanging each piece.

07 of 20

Choose Double-Duty Furniture

dormer hangout room sofa boho pillows bold poufs gold accents
John Bessler

Outfit a small living room with furniture that can do double duty, such as an ottoman or pair of poufs in place of a coffee table. A tray can quickly take these upholstered pieces from a casual place to put your feet up to a surface fit for entertaining. In this tight living room, the plush poufs also ease the pain of inevitable knee bumps.

08 of 20

Minimize Visual Weight

Mancini home tour living room
Melanie Acevedo

Choose clear furniture and accessories that take up minimal visual space. An acrylic coffee table provides a stylish and almost invisible solution in this small living room. The table provides a sturdy yet lightweight solution for displaying books, flowers, and other accessories.

09 of 20

Establish a Soft Background

white living room with wood floors and fireplace
Brie Williams

Visually fade the perimeter of your small living room for an expansive effect. To make the walls appear to recede into the background, paint the walls, trim, and ceiling the same or very similar shades of white. For the windows, choose sheer curtains that match the walls and let in as much light as possible.

10 of 20

Add Character to Walls

Living room with blue seating and TV
James Nathan Schroder

Dressing up the walls can add a lot of character to a tiny living room. For small rooms without much space for accessorizing, bring architectural detail to walls by installing molding or paneling. A deep charcoal hue and picture frame molding add depth and personality to one wall of this living room without taking up too much physical or visual space.

11 of 20

Reclaim Storage in Small Living Rooms

living room with sectional and sofa table two ceiling fans
James Nathan Schroder

Capitalize on every available inch in a small living room with behind-the-sofa storage. Slide a narrow console table along the back of the sofa to create a landing spot for books, knickknacks, and other items. For even more storage capacity, opt for a short bookcase or cabinet instead of a table.

12 of 20

Choose Space-Expanding Colors

blue, white, and yellow living room with modern touches
David Tsay

The right color scheme will instantly make a small living room look larger. Since pale and cool colors reflect light, paint colors such as bright white and light blue can create the illusion of a bigger space. Painting woodwork, trim, and doors the same color as walls also helps them "disappear."

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Keep Floors Bare in a Small Living Room

living room with plush pink couches
Nathan Kirkman

Maintain an open feel in your small living room with a bare floor. An unbroken sweep of wood flooring will make a room look larger than a busy-patterned area rug would. If you prefer covered floors, be sure to choose the right size for the room, as a too-small rug will call even more attention to the room's diminuitive size.

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Select Low-Profile Furniture

white living room with patterned chairs
David Tsay

The success of many small living rooms relies on smart furniture choices. Complement the size of the room with low-profile furniture that minimizes visual disruptions. A pair of low-slung chairs allows an uninterrupted view into this living room, while matching sofas provide a chat-friendly seating arrangement.

15 of 20

Fake Taller Ceilings

den with patterned curtains and wall art
Nick Johnson

Make a short ceiling appear taller with this small-space living room idea. Simply hang curtains just under the ceiling instead of directly above the window frames. To make windows appear larger, choose curtain rods that extend slightly beyond the frames.

16 of 20

Decorate a Small Living Room with Mirrors

living room pink couch cream armchairs
Laurey Glenn

Use mirrors on one wall to make a small-space living room feel more open. Mirrors pull off their expanding act by bouncing light around and reflecting other parts of a room. Choose one statement-making mirror or group several mirrors together to make a striking focal point while stretching the dimensions of small room.

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Stick to a Clean Color Scheme

white living room remodel black fireplace
Seth Smoot

Keeping your color palette simple will make a small living room look larger. Stick with neutrals and just one or two colors to deliver a look that's both streamlined and well-coordinated. In this living room, white walls and furniture combine with a black fireplace to form a neutral foundation, while dollops of blue and a touch of wood tones anchor the scheme and keep it interesting.

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Maximize Seating with a Sectional

striking living room with black gallery wall and white couch
Brie Williams

In a tight living room, a sectional can be your best bet for maximizing seating. These corner-hugging pieces offer multiple seats in one, providing plenty of lounging space without chopping up a small room. Here, a sectional is positioned in front of built-in bookcases, leaving just enough room to access the lower cabinets.

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Layer In Texture

living room slipcovered sofa floral curtains window seat cushions
John Bessler

Add interest with design elements that don't take up space. In small living rooms, using a variety of textures, such as smooth, coarse, and fibrous, can add depth and detail without demanding extra space. This small living room is enlivened by a mix of linen fabrics, woven materials, fringe details, and warm wood tones.

20 of 20

Go Big Where It Counts

minimalist living room with gray sofa and wood floors
Matthew Williams

It might sound counterintuitive, but a few oversize furnishings can make a small space appear larger. That's because trying to cram in 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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