Your living room is such an important space in your home. It’s where you relax, hang out with the family, and entertain guests. And while wide open layouts and spacious living rooms are great, we don’t all get these features to work with.
A small living room can feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable, leaving you hesitant to use it for yourself or for entertaining. This is especially true if the room isn’t smartly arranged and decorated to counteract its size. But there’s no reason for the room to go to waste!
The 15 tips below help offset minimal living room square footage. They’ll make the room feel bigger and more functional, while avoiding common layout and décor mistakes that can make a small room seem even more cramped than it actually is.
How to Make the Most of a Small Living Room
- Consider love seats rather than full-length couches. With its narrow legs and open arm design, Heywood-Wakefield’s Biscayne Collection Love Seat is a perfect option because it doesn’t have a bulky appearance that highlights the lack of space, and its low design adds height to the room.
- Hang mirrors—particularly large ones—on the rear wall to make the room feel more expansive.
- Hang relatively small artwork on the walls to prevent an overpowering presence and to better coordinate with the size of the room.
- Keep decorative items on walls, shelves, the mantel, and tables to a minimum. It’s surprisingly easy to make a small room feel too cluttered. However, don’t shy away from using some; too bare a room never feels warm and inviting.
- Avoid busy patterns or more than two or three colors between your base and accent colors. It’s not hard to make a small living space seem too hectic, or even overwhelming. Two neutral base colors and a single dramatic accent color works well.
- Incorporate a variety of textures into the room décor to add depth and visual interest while minimizing decorative items, colors, and patterns.
- Narrow end tables, like this Heywood-Wakefield End Table, are convenient for providing surface space next to chairs and couches without eating up much floor space or contributing to a cluttered feel.
- Float furniture, rather than have it pushed up against the walls. The space around the items adds volume to the room.
- Choose lighting that mounts on the walls or hangs from the ceiling, rather than fixtures that take up valuable floor or tabletop space. If you use lighting from above, though, use a few throughout the room; a single overhead light source tends to draw the eye in and create a constricting feel.
- Nesting tables are an excellent way to have surface space on hand for the family or guests while minimizing the space taken up.
- Hang curtains well above windows, even just a few inches below the ceiling. Accentuating the vertical in this way has the visual effect of lifting the ceiling, creating the impression that the room is taller and more open than it actually is.
- Use narrow vertical stripes and wall hangings to create the same effect, or narrow stripes and horizontally oriented wall hangings to add width.
- Let in as much natural light as possible. There’s no overstating the power of sunlight to open a room up.
- Incorporate nature into the room, as it conveys a sense of openness and freshness. Natural wood furniture, flowers, or a potted plant can work wonders in a small living room.
- Use a large area rug to define the primary seating space. It helps delineate the section of the room, and it can add an expansive feel.