Living in close quarters doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. There’s a sense of coziness that can only be felt in smaller dwellings. After all, a big space can easily feel cavernous so let’s give our tiny homes some love! That being said, there’s a lot that can be done to make your space feel more comfortable. Knowing how to decorate a small living room to make it look bigger is effortless if you follow some sound design principles.
From which furniture to pick to the best color schemes, find out the best tips and tricks to make the most out of your small living room!
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Select the Right Furniture
DEFINE THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE LIVING ROOM
It’s always good practice to sit down and think about the functionality of the room. This is a crucial first step when decorating any room, but is especially important for a small living room because we tend to do a ton of activities there. What’s the primary use for you and your family? Watching TV? Entertaining? Playtime? Do you need to use the room for other secondary activities – does it double as a home office for example? Knowing how you want to use your space will help you decorate while keeping functionality at the forefront.
CHOOSE RIGHT-SIZED FURNITURE
The number one priority when furnishing a small living room is to find the right-sized furniture. You wouldn’t want to have a giant sectional taking up half of the room. Large furniture will make your space feel smaller due to the visual bulk. Pick a compact loveseat and a slender armchair or a few poufs. If you’ve downsized, you might consider selling your current sofa to cover the cost of a new smaller one.
SHOW THOSE FEET!
When picking out furniture for your small living room, remember to look for pieces with apparent feet. These items carry less visual weight than furniture with hidden feet or fabric skirts that go all the way down to the floor. The simple fact that your eyes can see the floor underneath tricks the brain into thinking the furniture occupies less space.
PICK MULTIFUNCTIONAL PIECES
Whether you’re buying, DIYing, or repurposing furniture, try to choose pieces that are multifunctional. Hollow ottomans can store blankets and cushions. A coffee table with storage will help keep the clutter away. By choosing fewer but more functional pieces, you’ll make your living room feel lighter and airy.
Let the Light In
ADD LIGHT SOURCES
If you’ve ever been to an open house showing, you’ll have noticed that all the lights were switched on. The realtor might even have added extra floor and table lamps. This is the easiest trick in the book to make any space feel bigger. To replicate this in your small living room, multiply the sources of light and swap out the current light bulbs for 5000K bulbs. This light color is the closest to real daylight, making your space look flooded in natural light.
MAKE THE WINDOWS BIGGER (no reno needed!)
To make the most out of natural light streaming in, extend the curtain rod past the side of the window, making sure the open curtains rest on each side without blocking in any light. This decorator trick will not only let much more light in but will also make your windows look larger.
Tone Down the Color Scheme
STAY ON THE LIGHT SIDE
We may all be smitten with dark and moody wall paint but it’s not the best choice to decorate a really small living room. Light is absorbed by dark shades but bounces off light colors. So stick with wall treatment in light and bright colors to reflect more light and make the room feels more spacious.
PICK A NEUTRAL & WARM PALETTE
For a small living room, choosing a warm neutral scheme is pretty much foolproof. Small spaces tend to feel cozy and a warm palette emphasizes this coziness, making the space feel just right. Going with bold, bright, or cool color schemes is possible but quite tricky to pull off in a small room.
If you need inspiration, check out my free Color Book at the end of this post! You’ll find plenty of color palettes to choose from, including some gorgeous neutrals.
ADD TEXTURES TO LIVEN IT UP
When preparing your palette, don’t just stick with colors. Include some textures and natural elements that complement the palette. Wood, natural fibers, and textiles will add visual interest to your living room decor.
Keep the Layout Functional
LET THE TRAFFIC FLOW
Plopping your furniture down without giving the layout any consideration is a surefire way to make a living room feel off. Think about the traffic flow and make sure there is enough space to walk around unimpeded. This is especially important if you’ve been wondering how to decorate a small living room & dining room combo. Can you enter the room and walk straight to the sofa without having to make a detour around the whole dining table? Can you pull up a chair without bumping into another piece of furniture?
DON’T FORGET TO SET A FOCAL POINT
When defining the layout of your room, choose a focal point and arrange the layout around it. A focal point is something that will attract the eye as soon as you walk into the space. In a living room, it’s usually a fireplace. If you don’t have an obvious focal point, you can create one! It can be a piece of furniture that stands out or some eye-catchy wall art. If you want to recreate the look of a fireplace, install a picture ledge or a thin console with a painting or a large mirror above.
Curate Decor Accents
KONDO YOUR DECOR
If you’re dealing with a small room, the best way to make it look bigger is to keep it clutter-free. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and sort through your possessions. Select a few statement decor accents that you truly love and store, donate, or sell the rest. Those carefully selected decor items will infuse your small living room with your style without crowding it.
Remember your space has walls and a ceiling! To decorate a small living room, make use of height. Some wall shelves or tall bookshelves will draw the eye up and add some much-needed storage while occupying very little to no floor space. Choose these in neutral tones so they blend in – otherwise, they might become your unintended focal point!
RESERVE SPACE FOR PLANTS
Finally, invite some life into your space. Even in the smallest living room, you should make some space for plants. Use hanging planters or small potted plants on shelves if needed, to avoid crowding your tabletops. For those who don’t have a green thumb, you can find some easy-to-care-for house plants or even fake but realistic-looking plants.