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25 Small Living Room Ideas - Maximize Your Space

August 26, 2019

Does your new rental have a super small living room? Are you looking for ways to maximize the space?  Maybe you’re just looking for some easy-to-implement small living room ideas. We’ve curated a collection of the best tips and tricks to help you maximize the space in a small living room beautifully and effectively.

Before tackling your square-foot challenged living room, we suggest you take a moment to take inventory of your space. It’s important to determine if you are currently using every inch of your small space to its fullest potential. 

Is the furniture layout allowing for the most activities and functions possible? Which of the following small living room ideas can you implement to get the most out of your tiny digs? These are some of the questions you must ask yourself. Here are a few of our favorite small living room ideas.

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

1. Multi-Purpose Your Furniture

From coffee tables with built-in storage to expansive sofa beds, furnishing your space with multi-purpose furniture will give you the biggest return. With their increased popularity, today’s micro-apartments and studios have inspired so many multi-functional furnishings. You can find a plethora of possibilities sold on sites like Wayfair and Ikea. 

Photo via Wayfair

2. Get a Convertible Sofa

If your small apartment design leans towards the tiny or micro-size like in a studio or efficiency apartment, your living room probably doubles as your bedroom. No worries, you can accommodate both sitting and sleeping in one dual-purpose piece such as a modern convertible sofa, futon, or sofa bed.

3. Invest in a Loveseat

If you have a dedicated bedroom and living room, forgo the convertible sofa and choose a loveseat instead. It will offer seating for two and nicely float if space affords.

4. Super-Size It with a Sectional

For small living rooms with an ample corner, tucking an L-shaped sectional in will give you loads of seating while using every inch efficiently. Skip the chaise to avoid blocking traffic flow in and around the sofa.

5. Float Your Furniture

Whether facing into the room or out, floating furniture can give the illusion of a more spacious living room. Center a large rug under your floating furniture layout to help create visual perimeters. Keep furniture low-profile to allow the gaze to move unobstructed through the room. This is one of our favorite small living room ideas. 

6. Organize

An organized and tidy space san the clutter will always appear larger and more inviting. Tuck away clutter in clever ways from decorative baskets to storage furniture. Make sure each piece you have is meaningful and well-placed to enliven and enlarge your living space. 

7. Ottomanize

Instead of using a wood or metal coffee table, go with a soft, fully upholstered ottoman. This will add an extra layer of comfort to the room and give visual interest, especially if the ottoman is button tufted. Set a wood or metal serving tray on top to hold drinks and plates with stability. This will allow you to keep the functionality of a coffee table without sacrificing comfort. 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

8. Define Activity Areas

If your small apartment design is an open shared space with the dining room or entryway, use patterned area rugs to define activity areas. A hand-woven rug in a tribal or Moroccan motif will add a splendid pop of color and pattern to your small room.

9. Climb the Walls

While floor space may be at a premium in your small apartment or house, you’re sure to have plenty of walls to play with. Add a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall with all your favorite artworks or framed photos. Or, hang planters from the ceiling down in differing heights for an eye-catching grouping. Taking décor to the walls adds visual interest and draws the eye up, making the room appear larger.

Photo by Ben Garratt on Unsplash

10. Add Height with Shelves

Installing floor-to-ceiling shelves or suspended wall shelves are other ways to draw the eye up while increasing storage space. This will give you a place to display all your coveted collectibles, favorite books, and other beloved items.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

11. Stash Your Stuff

Today’s storage furniture offers a myriad of cool ways to stash the stuff you need but don’t use daily. Think coffee tables and trunks with lift tops and hidden storage for blankets and photo albums. Drawered end tables and credenzas offer another level of storage when using apartment living room ideas for your small space.

12. Keep It Small

In addition to the storage pieces available for small living spaces, diminutive furniture with the smallest footprints can be found everywhere. Keeping to smallish furniture such as low-profile armchairs, slender side tables, and a loveseat instead of a sofa will allow you to get more into your space without the bulk. 

2-Piece Nested Tables Kit. Photo via Wayfair

13. Stack It

Stacking furniture allows multiple items to be kept handy for use when needed and instant storage when not in use. Think metal and wood stack chairs for extra seating when friends come over that easily tuck away in a closet or corner after. Little stacking or nesting tables also provide extra table space when guests are over.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

14. Go Leggy with Furniture

Another one of our small apartment ideas offers two approaches. Furniture with legs, tall and slender preferably, allow light to flow through the small space, making it appear airy and bigger. Tall chairs and elevated sofas with legs also offer additional stash space for your stuff. Just fill up a decorative box or basket and tuck it between the legs. 

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

15. Corner It

Think unconventionally when approaching the layout of your furniture. If you can get more room to move about by tucking an armchair, table, and floor lamp in a corner, then go for it. Otherwise, consider your furniture angles to get the most out of your floor space. 

16. Tone It Down

Neutrals of white, beige, light grey and blush have a way of opening up a room. One of the top small living room ideas is simply utilizing white walls and neutral furnishings. Forgo the colorful painted walls and wallpaper and opt for the illusion of airiness created by white walls and tone-on-tone upholstery. It’s fresh and visually open. 

17. Pop with Color

Of course, white walls and neutrally-toned furniture will require a pop of color. To create visual excitement and lead the eye, we’ve got some ideas. Use perfectly-tossed accent pillows in vibrant hues, a colorful throw on a chair back, thoughtfully-placed artwork at the far end of the room, and a bright patterned rug. These colorful elements will create an additional sense of roominess.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

18. Play with Patterns

Don’t be afraid to go big with visual elements such as pattern. You can play with pattern to your heart’s content on the floor, window treatments, wall art to expand the room visually. Think big geometrics, oversized florals, and stripes. 

Photo by Matthew Henry on Burst Shopify

19. Get Your Glow On

Lighting can be a great way to expand a small living room. Perfectly placed floor lamps with up lighting draw the eye to the ceiling. A grand chandelier centered above the conversation area can create a striking visual. 

Sho Hashimoto

20. Be Smart with Lighting

Smart lighting features allow you to turn on lamps and fixtures automatically without tripping over furniture in your tiny space. There are simple to install smart lighting kits you can control from your phone that will add big value as far as small apartments go. 

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

21. Go Against the Grain

If you plan to use wood furniture in your small living room, consider using dense wood with a fine grain instead of large expressive grain. Visually you will be able to leverage the solid look of the wood against other colorful or patterned elements for a more cohesive aesthetic. 

Photo by Grovemade on Unsplash

22. Treat Your Windows

We love the look of floor to ceiling window panels in small living rooms. It brings the eye up to the ceiling. Wispy white panels can create this illusion as well as patterned and colorful draperies. Go with what makes your heart soar. 

Photo via Wayfair

23. Be Clear

Transparent furniture is a wonderful way to let light flow through your space. Think acrylic coffee tables, upholstered stools with transparent legs, or clear acrylic armchairs.

Image by ErikaWittlieb via Pixabay

24. Bounce the Light

Anything mirrored bounces light and increases the illusion of space through reflection. Think large mirrors spanning a wall and mirrored sofa tables or end tables. A mirrored surface is your best friend when it comes to expanding your space visually. 

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

25. Get Inspired

In addition to all the above small living room ideas, you are sure to come up with some of your own. There are many sources of small space decorating inspiration to be found such as Pinterest and Houzz but be sure to check back here for more articles on apartment living room ideas, decorating your rental, and more!

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Joanna is a freelance writer at Apartment List. She has over 16 years of experience creating interior design, furnishings, home decor, and home improvement content. Read More
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