Decorating a home can be both fun and a challenge. What’s even more of a challenge is making a small living area look nice without it feeling cramped and claustrophobic. In this post we’ll take a look at some cool small living room ideas to get the best out of a smaller space.
Living smaller – whether it’s a little house or a small apartment – doesn’t mean your place has to resemble a shoe box or be devoid of furniture. Your living room can still have furniture and be decorated without it feeling like the walls are closing in on you when you spend time in the room.
Let’s take a look at some ideas that will make a small space feel homey as well as more spacious.
Mirrors Will Always Help
There is nothing quite like mirrors to make a smaller room appear much larger, even if it is only an illusion.
I’m not talking about one or two little mirrors, but one really big mirror, or a series of mirror tiles, either rectangle or square.
A long mirror hung from one of the living room walls can really make the room appear twice the size. Cover an entire wall with mirrors at that will definitely be the result.
You don’t have to go that far, but having at least one big mirror will definitely go a long way towards making your living room look and feel much bigger than what it actually is.
If you plan to have any sort of storage space located in your small living room, here are a few tips to “keep it out of the way”, so to speak, so it doesn’t consume extra floor space and make that small room feel even smaller.
One way to achieve this is to buy an ottoman with internal storage. The footrest is actually a lid. When you take it off, the ottoman is hollow. Inside you can place your blankets and throw rugs, extra cushions or whatever will fit. The ottoman acts as a footrest, an extra seat, as well as handy and conveniently located living room storage.
If you want actual storage cabinets, then build them up higher towards the ceiling, much like many kitchen cabinets are built. You could even buy kitchen cabinets for this purpose.
This way you still have plenty of floor space, but also get your storage at the same time. Just don’t store anything too heavy in the overhead cabinets.
Only Use a Small Sofa
A smaller 2 seater sofa works really well in small living areas, and if you do some research on the best small sofas for small spaces, you’ll actually discover that there are some really cool designs that transform these small sofas into beds, chaise lounges, or even extra seating.
You obviously can’t have some giant L shaped or U shaped lounge in a small living room, and you also don’t want all of the available floor space devoted to just a couch alone.
It’s best to purchase a small sofa that’s adaptable and versatile.
Even a small corner sofa could work well, if you have a corner in the room suited to it. This will also free up useable floor space.
Chances are you’ll still have some room for another chair as well, and if you take up the ottoman idea, that’s some extra seating space too if you need it.
Paint the Room In Light Colours
Chances are high you will anyway, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
A white ceiling is a given as it’s the best colour to reflect light around the room. What you don’t want are dark walls.
Normally a feature wall in a contrasting colour can look fantastic, but in a living room lacking space, a dark feature wall can really make the room feel even smaller.
When it comes to the walls – all the walls – really light colours and pastels work the best. You don’t have to paint your walls stark white, but even an off white, cream or light beige will usually work really well.
Depending on your colour scheme for your furniture and floor coverings, you could even go a really pale shade of sunny yellow or powder blue.
Creams, whites and beige are the safest colours for walls though, as they’ll go well with just about any decor.
Multi Functional Furniture Is Best for Small Rooms
We’ve actually already mentioned this with the use of a hollow ottoman for storage, as well as a multi function sofa.
You could even take things a step further and buy a small 2 seater sofa bed, if you have the available space to unfold it into a bed.
With the ottoman idea, perhaps you could even have 2 of them. That’s double the storage as well as having two extra seats that really don’t consume much floor space whatsoever.
There are even coffee tables on the market today that also double as storage bins.
Another idea is if you plan to have a small desk or workstation in the living room. Many of these are space savers and come with some really cool and innovative storage ideas.
Check out these posts for some inspiration:
Avoid Excessive Clutter
There’s nothing that can make a room look small and cramped more than an overload of clutter. Even a large space can visually look depleted when there is just too much stuff in one room.
Some people like to fill every available space, whether it’s floor space or space on a coffee table, desk, side table or shelves.
Clutter like this will be death to a room that’s already on the smaller side. You need to keep the decorations, ornaments, photos and so on at a minimum to give the room that spacious look and vibe.
It’s All About Lighting Too
Actually, lighting can be everything.
If you have a very dark living room that doesn’t get much natural light in the daytime, it can look super small. The more natural light the better.
It’s pretty rare that a living area won’t have at least one window to the outside world, but if it doesn’t, then a skylight could be the solution, so you don’t have to run artificial lighting in the room day and night.
If your living room does have windows, either use lighter curtains or blinds to let the light in, or at least open darker curtains and blinds during the daytime to let in some natural light.
As far as artificial lighting goes, you’ll likely want a mix of a bright overhead light for when you really need to see clearly at night time, as well as some more subtle, ambient lighting to give the room that cozy feel when bright light is not required.
Lamps, candles, a light with a dimmer switch will all achieve the desired low light effect, enabling you to relax and watch TV, or even take a nap.
You could even use directional lighting to showcase a certain area of the living room, or art on the wall.
A fireplace is another really cosy way to add ambient light (and warmth) to a room. You won’t be using it in summer obviously, but it’s an awesome way to bring light and warmth to a living room during the colder, darker months of the year.
The Colour of Your Furniture
Dark coloured furniture in a small living room can make the room look smaller again. If you already have dark furniture and can’t afford to (or don’t want to) swap it out for something lighter, then you can always brighten up that black lounge with a white throw rug and a few bright cushions.
It’s the same deal for any dark timber furniture you have. Brighten and lighten it up with some whites and pastels somewhere on the piece. Maybe even consider removing the dark stain on the timber and replacing it with a white wash, wood grain effect.
Lots of modern timber furniture has that look these days, or even a lighter, distressed timber finish for rustic modern.
Keep Seating Close Together and Intimate
If you keep your sofa, chairs, ottomans, stools and so forth close together and intimate in your small living room, not only does it look a little more spacious, but it also looks more homely and inviting too.
It adds a really welcoming feel. Toss in a large floor rug that’s soft and plush and it will really complete the atmosphere.
Another idea is to use low seating, as this gives the impression of a larger space wile still being intimate.
Display Some Artwork To Distract the Eye
You won’t want a lot of artwork or photos on the walls in a small living room, but a few select pieces strategically placed can really draw the eye away from dark corners or areas of the room that look extra small and tight.
Place the artwork on the more open walls to draw the eye to those open spaces.
It’s an illusion of sorts that works really well when done right.
It’s always nice to have something decorating the walls anyway.
A smaller living room doesn’t mean it has to look, feel and actually be cramped. It’s all a matter of introducing some common sense, space saving ideas in combination with a few illusions and ways to trick the eyes and brain.
Rather than being cramped and uncomfortable, a small living room can be transformed into an intimate, cosy and warm space.
It could even become your favourite room in the house.