Top tips

14 small living room ideas

Make the most of your small living room with my space-saving tips and furniture ideas.

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Styling a small living room can be a challenge. Choosing the right décor and furniture is important to the look and feel of your home and a small space requires extra consideration to make it feel beautiful but not overcrowded.

With some carefully chosen pieces and clever interior tricks, you’ll have your living room looking lovely without having to compromise on style.

Here are my 14 super space-saving techniques and decorating ideas for small living rooms:

1. Choose a neutral colour scheme

Using a pale palette in compact spaces is a well-known method for making small spaces appear bigger.

I recommend classic colours of creams, beiges and whites not only give a simple and elegant touch to any room, but are also fantastically versatile and open up opportunities for you to add your own character through furniture, artwork and accessories. 

2. Match your skirting boards to your walls

Painting your skirting boards in a different shade divides the wall, making it look shorter. However, painting your skirting boards the same colour as the wall will extend the interior scheme, making the room appear taller.

3. Illuminate the room

One of the top rules for making a room look bigger is to make use of lighting. Dark rooms can appear dingy, so maximising light, whether it be natural or artificial, can make a huge difference to smaller rooms.

Let the light in with some lightly lined curtains or voiles and add table lamps or floor lamps where you can. Don’t be afraid to go big with some statement ceiling lighting. A bold piece can draw the eye up, offering an attractive focal point. 

4. Maximise with mirrors

Mirrors bounce light around a room, creating the illusion of more space. I'd suggest opting for an oversized mirror or a cluster of different sized ones for an interesting feature.

5. Place your TV on a wall

Foregoing a TV unit and mounting your TV onto a wall will instantly tidy up your little living room and create space.

6. Clever storage

One of the biggest challenges when tackling a tiny space is the struggle for storage. Think about what you really need in your living room and be realistic about how the pieces you choose will affect the space you have.

Choose items that also offer storage, such as coffee tables with drawers.

Shelving is also a great way to add storage without taking up floor space. My top tip is to place your shelves slightly higher up on a wall to draw the eye up to make the room feel bigger.

7. Choose furniture with multiple uses

Finding furniture for small living rooms can be a challenge. Save on space with pieces that have other purposes.

For example, a storage footstool can be used to put your feet up, an extra seat for a visiting guest and a place to store items, such as remote controls, toys and books.

A slim console table can easily be used as a desk and I personally love a nest of tables also has multiple uses and can be neatly stacked away when not in use.

8. Keep your furniture off the floor

Showing more floor space gives the illusion of a bigger room. Swap chunky items which sit on the floor for slim-legged pieces to give the appearance of more floor space.

9. Create ‘zones’

A living room can have many uses. From home offices, dining areas, play rooms and space for entertaining or relaxing.

Create designated zones in your living room with the use of rugs, accessories and art. For example, placing a rug underneath a dining table or artwork directly above a sofa or desk will help to define the space.

10. Innovative dining designs

If your lounge doubles up as your dining space, choose a table that is going to suit your everyday needs and try not to be tempted to go for anything bigger than you need.

If you want the option of a bigger table for occasional entertaining, extendable dining tables are a fantastic option.

Otherwise, a simple circular table will provide a delightful dining option and will look lovely placed in an alcove, bay window or a designated dining corner.

11. Attract with artwork

Use artwork to create a focal point in a particular area. Contrary to belief, oversized artwork can help a space look bigger as it looks less busy than several pieces.

If you would prefer a gallery wall, place your selection above a sofa or console table rather than across an entire large wall.  

12. Fewer, bigger pieces

Investing in a few larger items of furniture can be better for a smaller space than having more smaller pieces as you may take up more room than you realise.

Think about what you need in your living room and invest in a few perfectly proportioned pieces. 

13. Keep your furniture away from the walls

If you have a small living room to work with, it can be tempting to push everything against boundaries to make space in the middle of the room.

However, if you bring furniture away from the walls, you can create space behind, making the room look larger.

14. Compact couches and curved sofas

Finding your dream sofa when you struggle for space can be frustrating, however there are many snuggly sofas and comfortable couches for small living areas that are equally as appealing. Switch your suite for a stylish two seater sofa.

If you want something that offers more seating, a cosy corner sofa or chaise will open up a narrow living room and create an easy flow to the space. Alternatively, a contemporary curved sofa will not only add adequate seating but a modern touch to your home. 

I hope you have found some helpful small living room design ideas to maximise your space and enjoy your lovely little lounges!

For more small living room inspiration, read our article(s) Décor ideas for small homes and 10 of the best small sofas.

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Victoria Foster

Written by:

Stylist & Visual Merchandiser

at ScS

10th March 2023

Victoria is a stylist and merchandiser based at our in-house photo studio. Having been part of the ScS family since 2012, Victoria styles stunning home sets with the latest trends to showcase newly launched ScS products. With over 25 years of experience in styling and merchandising, she loves to keep an eye on the latest trends in the interior landscape. Victoria's favourite interior scheme is the Boho trend and loves to layer a mixture of different textures in her home. Her styling top tip is to always create a focal point in a room. Whether it’s a feature wall, a piece of artwork, or a bright patterned rug, having a focal point can help to drive the decisions on the rest of the rooms layout.