A small-sized living room may present a design challenge, but you can still have an amazing space perfect for entertaining and relaxing. After reading this list of small living room decor ideas, you’ll see nothing but opportunity when designing your room.
I love a design challenge, and most small spaces have plenty of obstacles to overcome when it comes to finding a functional yet beautiful interior design.
But I firmly believe that there is always a way to overcome the limitations in your space.
With a little bit of ingenuity (and these design tips), any living room can feel larger than it is, even if you don’t have much square footage.
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1 | Use consistent flooring
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You may be surprised to know that your floor has a big impact on how large your room looks. But it does!
Having different types of floors, such as a small area rug on top of hardwood causes the eye to stop. Which means you subconsciously see a break in the room. And it makes the room seem smaller.
By using one type of flooring throughout the whole space, your eye doesn’t stop until it gets to the other side, making it the room feel bigger.
So if you’re going to use an area rug, make sure it’s big enough to cover the whole space.
2 | Expose more of the floor
Along the same lines, using furniture that lets you see more of the floor also gives the illusion of more space.
Which is why sofas with exposed legs and glass coffee tables work best in small living rooms.
3 | Paint everything one color
Following the same principle as consistent flooring, painting your walls, trim and ceiling the same color also helps to make a room seem larger.
This is because your eye can travel all around the room without having to stop. So it’s not as obvious where the walls end and the ceiling starts.
4 | Tame the clutter
Clutter quickly eats up a room, and too many items make a small space feel chaotic.
But it can be hard to find somewhere to put all of that extra stuff if your living room is small.
In this case, try looking for pieces that offer double functionality.
Can your coffee table also have storage drawers? Could a sofa lift up and have room to store extra bedding?
For instance, Jen at I Heart Organizing uses stacked baskets as both storage space and a side table.
5 | Add built-ins
Another great way to add storage space is by building built-ins.
They add vertical storage, giving you lots of room for books and accessories without taking up a lot of floor space.
Jen at I Heart Organizing used built-ins and placed furniture that is easy to move directly in front of them.
So she got function and storage without compromising on style.
If you’re going to do this, it’s also a good idea to put less frequently used items in the lower half of the shelves so you’re not having to move the chairs all the time.
6 | Buy a sectional
It may seem counter-intuitive to put a sectional in a small space. After all it’s a pretty big piece of furniture!
However, a sectional takes up less room than a sofa and a chair, giving you additional seating in a smaller space.
Jules from Om And the City used a sectional to provide the equivalent of a sofa and a chaise.
I think every house should have a chaise! But they’re usually too big to fit in a small living area, so this is the perfect compromise.
7 | Get scaled down furniture
Sometimes, a sofa just takes up too much room.
For small living rooms, dens, or sitting spaces, consider using a settee or love seat instead.
Settees are usually narrower than a standard sofa, so they don’t stick out into the room as far.
They still offer seating for two, but may leave extra space for you to fit in other furniture, such as end tables.
8 | Make use of benches
Chairs can quickly fill up room, but what if you need extra seating for guests?
Other options such as benches, ottomans, and poufs can add additional seating to the room, all while maintaining a low, streamlined look that doesn’t take up much floor space.
This is exactly what Dani Austin did for her living room. I can already see the family gathered around this coffee table, ready for a game night, with the way the room is arranged.
9 | Add a round coffee table
Round coffee tables are another great design idea for small rooms.
They are easier to navigate around and take up less space than the same-sized square table.
And they often come in streamlined shapes that don’t take up much visual space in the room.
10 | Build a rolling coffee table
Have you seen kitchen islands on wheels? It makes the room more versatile, moving the kitchen island wherever you need it or out of the way.
The same practice can be applied to the living room.
Whether you need to make more space for the pullout sofa or to dump all the toys, you can simply wheel any furniture out of the way, and open the space up instantly.
This DIY rolling coffee table by Shanty 2 Chic is low to the ground and is very mobile. And it has extra storage. Always a bonus!
11 | Hang mirrors
Mirrors are one of the best tricks for making small rooms look bigger.
By reflecting the space in the room, mirrors add depth and trick the eye into thinking it’s bigger than it is.
In addition, they reflect any ambient light to help brighten the space.
I also like how the TV blends in because it goes with her off-white and black color scheme.
12 | Replace table lamps
If you don’t have a lot of table space, finding somewhere to put lamps can be a problem.
In that case, try hanging pendants from the ceiling where the table (or floor) lamps would normally go.
You can also hang up a few wall sconces or lights on the top of a bookshelf to add more ambiance.
13 | Make good use of corners
Corners are often underutilized spaces.
And in a small room, you need all the space you can get.
So look for furniture that is designed to make corners more functional, such as sectionals and corner bookcases or desks.
Kelly from Studio DIY had even more of a design challenge since this corner also has multiple windows in it.
But her low-backed sectional sofa fits into the space perfectly and turns that difficult corner into the perfect seating area.
14 | Add layers
A layered living space adds tons of texture to a room without over cluttering it.
By layering, you can add the finishing touches to a room, making it livable and comfortable without needing lots of furniture to overstuff a small living room.
Take a look at what Lindsay from The White Buffalo Styling Co did with her living room.
She added a patterned rug, textured ottoman, throw pillows, greenery, and curtains to add pops of color and visual interest to the room without taking up a ton of space.
15 | Hang plants
Next up on this list of small living room decor ideas, are hanging plants.
Plants add life to a room, working with any design style and budget.
If you like having plants in your home but don’t have anywhere to put them, try hanging from the ceiling.
Aniko at Place of My Taste, managed to add one more to her collection by putting it in a macrame hanging basket.
16 | Paint a dark accent wall
Contrary to popular belief, dark colors do not make a room look smaller. They actually appear to recede. Especially when placed next to lighter colors.
So painting one dark accent wall in your living makes it look like that wall is further back than it actually is. Giving the appearance of a larger room.
In this room featured on Apartment Therapy, the sofa is also the same color as the accent wall, making that whole side of the room blend together.
17 | Hang high curtains
On first instinct, most people hang their curtains to align with the top of their windows. But what if you took them higher, even all the way to the top of the wall?
This actually creates the illusion that your ceiling is higher than it appears. Which helps to make the whole room look bigger.
Find more ideas on how to make your ceiling look taller HERE.
18 | Go vertical
When you don’t have a lot of floor space, you need to make sure you are making good use of your wall space.
A gallery wall, wall shelving or narrow styled bookshelves adds visual interest and will give you more room for decor and accessories.
This gallery wall from Confetti Closet is personalized with family photos and makes the living room that much more homey.
19 | Hang your TV
Along the same lines, hanging your TV on the wall or in a bookshelf makes great use of vertical space.
It also eliminates the piece of furniture that the TV would otherwise have to stand on.
This way, the television also tends to blend in more with its surroundings so you don’t notice it as much. You can find more ideas for hiding your TV HERE.
20 | Go bold
If all else fails, you can always go really bold with your decor by adding a large sized mural or painting.
This makes such a strong focal point that draws the eye and totally distracts you from noticing the size of the room.
And that’s the final note of inspiration for this list of small living room ideas. Hopefully you have found a few tricks that work with your style, and will have your living room will feeling more spacious in no time.
Other decorating ideas you might like
- How to arrange your living room furniture
- Living room focal point ideas
- L-shaped living room layout ideas
Have comments or questions on our small living room decor ideas? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on June 18, 2021 but was updated with new content on March 28, 2023.