37 Small Living Room Ideas for Maximum Space and Style

Small light-filled living room with light-colored couch and brown chairs with decor items throughout

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Don't let your small living room pinch your style. No matter how small your space, it can still look stylish whether you own or rent. Discover the ​best small-space décor tricks for personalizing the most lived-in spot in your home.

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    Focus on one color palette

    small living room

    @thevisionairyhusbands

    “The primary thing to remember when designing a small room is to ensure all tones stick to the same color palette—thus creating flow throughout the room,” says Gian Moore, former interior designer and partner at Mellowpine. “Make sure to shift your focus around monochromatic and tonal hues that will accentuate the scheme further.”

    That doesn't mean that it can't be colorful, but that does mean sticking to a tonal palette, whether that be cool tones like blues and greens or warmer tones like terracotta, beige, and rusts.

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  • 02 of 37

    Layer your lighting

    small living room

    @thelasthouseonbedfordlane

    “Layering the heights of your lighting is key—so ensure you have a pendant light overhead with a dimmable control, lots of lamplight and wall lights,” says Moore. “Choose shades that can both direct light for tasks like reading, and create pools of light for the atmosphere. Having wall lights that direct soft shafts of light up and down will also make the space look taller.”

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    Open up walls (when possible)

    small living room

    @reflektiondesign

    You can add a clean, crisp, and contemporary feel to your small living room by opening up some walls. “A bright and fresh feeling is created when you open up the space, allowing natural light to enter,” explains Kate Diaz, Interior Designer and Co-founder of Swanky Den. “You can install floor to ceiling windows or doors, or side panels. You can also paint your walls in light colors with white trim, which will make it seem large.”

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    Create an accent wall

    small living room

    @lasthouseonbedfordlane

    According to Diaz, it's better to use one accent wall to show character rather than many patterns on one wall. One well-chosen color that sticks out well will frame the focal point of your living room nicely.

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    Consider mirrors

    small living room

    @love_in_1000_square_feet

    According to Diaz, adding a mirror leading into your living room will help give the space a more light and airy entrance. You can also try adding mirrors to opposing walls to create the feeling of a bigger space.

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    Install open concept wall mounted shelves

    small living room

    @darbywallisdesign

    Open concept shelving might not seem like the best idea if you’re trying to minimize clutter—but this type of airy shelving unit will do much better than closed off or boxy shelving if you’re hoping to create a more light flooded living space.

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    Opt for neutral walls

    small living room

    @love_in_1000_square_feet

    Whether you love bold colors or you could do without them—you’ll want to paint the walls one neutral shade, says Diaz. If you do want to add some personality by way of bold colorways you can always add pops of color in select furniture pieces

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  • 08 of 37

    Mix floor and wall colorways

    small living room

    @love_in_1000_square_feet

    Light colors are great for your walls—but you can opt for a darker floor color if you’re hoping to maintain a sense of warmth. “Using light colors on the walls with dark floors will create a clean look,” explains Diaz.

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    Be strategic with your artwork

    small living room

    @darbywellisdesign

    The right wall art can add visual interest to your space while taking away from the fact that it’s smaller than average. Diaz suggests hanging artwork directly above your sofa rather than all around the room.

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    Opt for multi-purpose furniture

    small living room

    @reflektiondesign

    Multi-purpose furniture is a great way to save space while still ensuring your living room is as cozy and functional as possible. According to Diaz, this could look like placing bookshelves near windows so they can double as window seats or opting for plush coffee table furniture that can also be used as seating.

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    Use a variety of heights and depths

    small living room

    @thecollectivedallas

    Try to use furniture with varying height and depth, such as sofas or recliners in order for the space to feel more open than it actually is. Just because something seems small doesn't mean there isn’t any wiggle room left where creativity might come into play.

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    Consider small artwork

    small living room

    @oursouthwestnest

    “You’ll want to keep any pictures or wall art small and only hang them if they are meaningful,” says Diaz. This will allow your walls to breathe and actually make them look much more expansive than they are.

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    Add vases to your space

    small living room

    @oursouthwestnest

    You don’t need to forego decorations in order to make your space feel neat and decluttered. “Adding vases to your space can offer visual interest without looking cluttered,” says Diaz. “I suggest using a glass or porcelain vase for a tall, clean look.”

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    Consider wall sconces

    small living room

    @weepingwillow.farmhouse

    Wall sconces are a great way to add mood lighting without taking up floor space. Diaz suggests grouping sconces together for a bold wall statement or positioning them over windows for a gallery-like effect.

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    Take advantage of alcoves

    small living room

    @darbywallisdesign

    “If you have the space, put your sofa in an alcove to make it feel cozy,” suggests Diaz. If you have a smaller alcove you can hang shelves or create a smaller seating nook so as to capitalize on the space.

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  • 16 of 37

    Go for neutral rugs and carpets

    small living room

    @little_weavers_cottage

    Neutral colorways will make a tiny space appear larger—but that’s especially true for your carpets or rugs. You’ll want to opt for light-colored textiles, which will make a room look light and spacious, regardless of the size.

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  • 17 of 37

    Reorganize

    small living room

    @reflektiondesign

    Decluttering your living room is a great way to clear out extra space—but you don’t have to get rid of anything you don’t want to. In fact, Diaz suggests decluttering by putting items in different places around the room to keep the space interesting.

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    Avoid floor cabinets

    small living room

    @sanctuaryhomedecor

    “As much as possible, you’ll want to focus on hanging cabinets or open air coffee table storage,” says Jeneva Aaron, Founder of TheHouseWire. “The floor space can still be used for something else, so choosing hanging cabinets or coffee table storage that isn’t too bulky is key.”

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  • 19 of 37

    Paint the area with light colors

    small living room

    @oursouthwestnest

    Aaron suggests pairing your area with light colors—like whites and beiges. “White and beige are perfect choices,” she says. “They can absorb the sunlight, which makes the room well-lit and look big.”

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    Apply minimalism

    small living room

    @sorenshome

    The less furniture, the better. “Choose multifunction furniture so you wouldn’t need to include tons of furniture in the area,” says Aaron. “Be creative and try to mix and match.”

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    Work your weird angles

    small living room

    @lasthouseonbedfordlane

    An odd sized living room might seem like a challenge to decorate and furnish—but it’s actually a great opportunity to take the emphasis off the small size. Opt for a salon-style gallery wall or jewel box-inspired decor to help make your abnormal space shine.

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    Use the right proportions

    small living room

    @flynnhaus

    You might be tempted to opt for smaller furniture in order to make your space look bigger—but sometimes an abundance of small pieces can actually make your space feel more cluttered. Instead, opt for larger furniture in fewer numbers.

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    Leverage natural light

    small living room

    @darbywallisdesign

    Smaller living rooms can seem a whole lot bigger when the right natural light hits. You’ll want to leverage the natural light as much as possible by optimizing mirrors, sheer curtains, and moving clutter out of the window sills.

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    Opt for high reflectance colors

    small living room

    @weepingwillow.farmhouse

    “Colors such as white have a higher reflectance, and this can make your room seem a lot bigger than it is,” explains Roman Ramona, Founder of Living Beyond Design. “This trick works well when we're dealing with small spaces as it lets the light bounce around the room.”

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    Skip the bold rug or carpet

    small living room

    @trevorfulmerdesign

    According to Ramona, you’ll want to avoid using bold or statement rugs when possible. The logic behind this is that if you, let's say, have light flooring, like oak, and add a black or dark brown rug on top it will create a focal point and make the room seem smaller. “Try to make everything as uniform as possible, because that contrast can draw attention to that rug and your room will seem even smaller,” Ramona explains.

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    Use furniture with legs

    small living room

    @flynnhaus

    “Using furniture with legs helps create more visual space, which our mind translates as being more actual space into a room than it actually is,” says Ramona. “Use a table that doesn't block your visual space and your living room will look bigger.”

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    Place mirrors in front of windows

    small living room

    @lasthouseonbedfordlane

    Placing a mirror on a wall doubles the space visually, but if it has a window on the other side, it will help bring even more light into the room, increasing the visually expanding effect,” explains Ramona.

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    Allow the room to breathe

    small living room

    @revealmydiy

    “The effective use of space is the most important element in designing a small living environment,” says Heather Higgins, Founder and Interior Designer at Higgins Design Studio. “Although it is tempting to try and use every square inch, maintaining a balance with open, empty space is key to creating a personal, high functioning design that provides comfort and visual appeal.”

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    Use modular storage solutions

    small living room

    @masha_kindjer

    Providing enough and the right type of storage is a crucial element, says Higgins. Build in or fit out as much as you can behind the scenes. “Modular-style storage with cabinets and drawers will conceal clutter and streamline a space,” says Higgins. “I often create a ‘storage wall’ along a wall that runs the length of a space. Because the units are usually just 15-18” deep, they require very little floor space, but provide copious storage.”

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  • 30 of 37

    Consider a low sofa

    small living room

    @homesweetlakehouse

    The visual impact of a lower sofa and other furniture will help make your ceilings look much higher. In fact, playing around with the size and proportion of all of your furniture will create the illusion of a larger space overall.

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    Mix patterns and textures

    small living room

    @itshomeyall

    If you’re tempted to use bright colors or pastels in your small space but you’re afraid it’ll look cluttered, consider opting for patterns or wallpapers. This’ll give a more whimsical look without adding visual clutter.

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    Avoid warm color schemes

    small living room

    @thecollectivedallas

    Opting for warm colorways might seem like a cozy idea—but it’s the easiest way to make a room feel more congested. Instead, stick to classic and simple colors that will establish a flow throughout the whole room and not just on the walls.

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    Go monochromatic

    small living room

    @our_little_brodick_

    Consider using monochromatic and tonal hues which involve an accentuation for the scheme. “Using different colors and palette makes the room look divided which ultimately makes it look smaller,” says Richard Fung, Owner of Forever Homes. “Even if you use more than one color, limit that to two and be sensitive to the design.”

    For example, a dark color will make the room look smaller while a coral color with the right design lifts the room’s space. Using white on your woodwork and skirtings is also a good idea to increase the space of your small living room.

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    Consider contrasting colors for visual interest

    small living room

    @darbywallisdesign

    Using contrasting colors is a great way to add pops of color without making the room look smaller. Consider placing furniture in groups that coordinate with one another or use light colors on walls opposite of dark walls for a dramatic effect.

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    Make any and all vertical lines stand out

    small living room

    @thenewsmallhouse

    Likewise, by accenting any vertical lines in your space—including tall shelves, longer picture frames, or other furniture with vertical motifs—you’ll give the room a sense of space by making the ceilings appear much higher and adding visual interest without taking up much floor space.

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    Lose the drapes and curtains

    small living room

    @darbywallisdesign

    Drapes and curtains are a great way to add visual interest to a space—and of course block out the light when needed—but thick drapes can easily obstruct the view from outside, hence making the space feel much more closed off. Floor-to-ceiling drapes can also take up valuable floor space whereas blinds take up no space at all.

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    Consider an all-white design

    small living room

    @thecollectivedallas

    All white might seem a little bland—but it’s the easiest way to add light and the appearance of more space to a room. White reflects light which can help make the space feel much more light and airy. An all-white room also offers a clean and modern effect.

Watch Now: 5 Clever Tips for Decorating a Narrow Living Room