Furnishing Small Living Rooms:
A Complete Guide

Smaller living rooms can pose a bit of a conundrum when it comes to decorating and furnishing. Too much furniture or the wrong sort of colours can make the space feel even more cramped than it really is, while an absence of those personal touches might leave it feeling cold.

If you have a small living room and are thinking of giving it a bit of a revamp, here are our top tips for maximising the space and stamping your own personality on it.

Look On The Bright Side

It’s a well-known fact that light, bright colours can make a space feel bigger, while darker shades draw a room in and leave it feeling more enclosed. If you want your living room to feel more spacious, then choosing lighter colours for the walls, floors and furnishings is the best way to go. Lighter woods or neutral-coloured carpets create the illusion of more floor space, while painting walls cream or pastel colours will open the room up.

If you want to make a feature wall, one way to make ceilings appear higher is to use a darker, bolder tone on the lower half and a paler colour on top. This blurs the lines between wall and ceiling, meaning you feel like there’s more headroom even if your ceilings are quite low.

Logical Layouts

If you want to make a small living room feel bigger, then you need to really think about how the layout might work for you and furnish it accordingly. One of the best ways to save on space is by thinking about furniture which serves a dual purpose, for example, choosing an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table for stashing away all those little bits and bobs you still need to keep close at hand.

Explore our Colosseum Bespoke Sofa

Larger items of furniture can be used to help divide a space up. If you have a living-dining area and want to delineate between the two different uses, a sofa or corner sofa can draw a line between them and help you portion the space out more effectively. Corner sofas can also fit snugly into a corner to leave the central floor space free, giving you more room to move around.

Think Built-in

Built-in bookcases, display stands and storage units are ideal because they allow you to display your treasured possessions without taking up too much room. This approach also helps to give a smaller living area that much-needed injection of personality. Also, think about how you use larger pieces of furniture such as sofas. If your entire home is fairly compact, a sofa that doubles up as a bed or has base storage units can help maximise the space.

Built-in units are a useful piece of living room décor and are almost always of superior quality because they’re usually hand-made to fit the space. The same goes for bespoke sofas, which can be designed around your specific needs and customised with the fabric of your choice.

Small Can Be Beautiful When It Comes to Sofas

If you’re short of space, then you might opt for love seats and smaller bespoke sofas over larger three-or four-seaters. If space is really, really tight then you could think about snug chairs or armchairs over sofas, which take up even less room.

As you would with the walls and flooring, think about choosing lighter coloured fabrics for your sofas and chairs – perhaps opting for paler cotton or linen materials to help brighten the space. If you have young children or pets and are worried about the material becoming discoloured, then wipe-clean leather is the perfect choice for a busy family home. Another alternative is stain-repellent fabric – fabrics that are inherently stain resistant are a great choice for families who’d prefer not to have leather.

Use Mirrors To Full Effect

Another friend in your living room décor arsenal is the trusty mirror. Mirrors bounce the light around and reflect the space back at you, creating the illusion that a room is bigger than it actually is. If you have a free wall then you might think about a full-length wall mirror, which will add height to the space and reflect the maximum light possible.

Positioning mirrors opposite windows is also a good way of ensuring you get the most from the natural light – and if there’s greenery outside to reflect back, then all the better.

Keep Window Treatments Simple

Curtains can be heavy and bulky, and can often make a space feel more cramped than it actually is. Instead of choosing fabric curtains that take up space and often block out too much light, opt instead for Venetian blinds or roller blinds.

These let in more light at the same time as affording you the privacy you need, and they don’t dominate a room in the way curtains can. Once again, choose paler colours to make the room feel bigger and pick easy-to-clean fabrics so they stay looking their best.

Think Smart With Your Lighting

Lights in a compact living room should be varied and add interest. A fantastic touch is to have at least three working lights in the space, positioned at differing heights.

A ceiling light is good for gloomy days and sheds light downwards, to create a pool of light over the centre of the room. For cosy evenings, a free-standing lamp is good for reading or creating a warm ambience, while table lamps can be positioned around the room without taking up much space. These cast a lovely warming glow upwards and help make a room feel snug rather than cramped and claustrophobic.

Save Floor Space With Hanging Planters

Being surrounded by greenery has been shown to have a positive impact on our mental health, boosting feelings of well-being and alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety. If you want some greenery without taking up floor space, then wall-mounted mini planters are the way to go.

These can be incredibly attractive and help transform a small space by bringing the outdoors in, creating the impression that a room is bigger than it really is. They also help purify the air, so the benefits of wall-mounted planters cannot be underestimated.

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