All living spaces present certain design challenges, but the living room is probably where you spend the most time. It's also the area where your guests will experience the most of your house. For this reason, designing a small living room can be quite tricky.
So, how can you strike a balance between making the room feel more spacious and even squeeze in extra seating? Where do you place your furniture and which ones do you choose? In this article, we'll look at 15 design tips to help you make the most out of your space, and give you 10 specific ideas for furniture layouts in small living rooms. Let's get going.
Mirrors and Wallpapers
In a small living room, you can feel boxed in especially if it's short on windows. Papering a wall and hanging a mirror on top can create a focal point, add depth, and boost light in the room all at once. If it's possible, position the mirror across the window, as it will reflect the outside view, and give the impression of an extra window.
The layout: flanking it by a pair of matching lamps and side tables, center the love seat on the papered wall. A large woven ottoman can serve as an extra seat or as a coffee table. If there's room left, consider working in an extra chair or two (small scale) across the loveseat. This arrangement seats two to four people.
To reduce the amount of clutter, pick furniture that has built in storage. A storage ottoman or a trunk that serves as a coffee table works wonderfully. At the room's perimeter, you can try placing a small credenza or a tiny chest of drawers rather than having a full console table. This will certainly improve your storage options.
Small Scale Furniture
Of course, there's more to the living room furniture than bulky armchairs and full-size sofas. Some of the best places to look for small scale furniture are the antique shops, since the average room was significantly smaller than it is presently in the last half a century or so. Look for small love seats, settees, and chairs that can work with your space.
The layout: At the center is the love seat in front of the bay window, and two petite tables are placed on either side. Opposite the sofa is a pair of Louis XVI armchairs, and a trunk is placed in between to serve as the coffee table. There is also an antique Recamier placed on the wall diagonally across the sofa, complemented by a slim console table that sits on the opposite side. The arrangement seats six people.
For those whose living rooms are blessed with high ceilings, you can take advantage of the extra space. Although vertical space doesn't necessarily help to squeeze in an extra seat, you can give the impression that you room is way grander and far larger that it would otherwise seem, by drawing the eye upwards. You can produce this effect effectively by filling the vertical space with an eclectic art gallery.
Fill a Corner Completely
If you have a small corner living room space, going with the largest possible piece of furniture could seem a bit counterintuitive, but it can possibly make your room feel a bit larger. Why? Well, a generously sized sectional piece of furniture is quite comfortable, and can seat a ton of people; but since it reads just ass one piece, it can make the room feel a bit uncluttered. Having a modern sectional with straight, clean lines can work wonders in a small space than the overstuffed option.
The Layout: in one corner is a tailored sectional, with a pair of folding leather stools that are pulled in close to create a conversational group. You can fill out the group using a slipper chair if the room allows. The setup can seat seven or eight people.
Downsize the Sofa
With some rooms, a full sized sofa just won't do. In such a case, you can try placing a petite sofa or a slimmed down love seat instead. For the airiest look, choose ones with exposed legs and lean lines.
The layout: A small sofa ideally floats at the middle of the open plan space, and faces the media center on the wall. The upholstered ottoman (which also doubles as an extra seat) and the armchair round the group up. The arrangement seats three or four.
A backless Sofa is a Great Option
With an open-plan space, the best position for a sofa is in the middle of the room, not necessarily on the wall. Nonetheless, unless your sofa is small enough, placing the sofa in the middle of the room will gobble up the space. A backless sofa can be a chic alternative, which can be used on either side. It's quite a bonus in situations where the seating options are limited. If someday you wish to place the sofa in a bigger room, it can serve as a separator between seating areas.
Just like mirrors and wallpapers, plants are a wonderful way of adding a bit more depth into a small living room. The lush greenery ideally softens the corners, which fools the eye that there's more to the room than there really is. Adding plants especially in corners, and behind or besides sofas and chairs can be very effective.
The Layout: In this open-plan space, a backless sofa floats in the center of the room. There are two upholstered armchairs and a small table sitting between. These are placed beneath a bank of windows located on the opposite side of the sofa. The small side table can essentially serve as an extra seat, and during a party, the backless sofa can comfortably handle two people on each side. The arrangement seats four to seven people.
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Each piece of furniture in a small room should rightfully earn its keep. Think of it this way, the ottomans work as extra seating, or as a coffee table, the versatile little stools can be tables or seats, while the nesting side table can be moved around the room whenever needed.
The Layout: Two low, large ottomans double as seats or coffee tables, and complement the sleek, armless sofa that floats away from the wall slightly. The arrangement seats two to four people.
Keep a Stash of Extra Spare Seats
In small spaces, it's not always possible to have a variety of seating arrangements as one would want. You can get around this by stacking a few stools under the bed or in the closet or by storing a few foldable café chairs where you can easily retract them whenever you have guests.
The layout: A small scale love seat sits opposite a built-in storage wall that has hideaway bookshelves, TV, and cabinets. There's a low-slung plywood lounge chair that has been slipped right in front of the media wall, and doesn't block the storage area. The arrangement seats three.
Shake up the Armchair and Sofa routine
In this stylish, petite living space, there's a little upholstered settee, a wooden frame daybed that doubles as a guest bed, and a window seat. The arrangement provides a variety of seating options without having the conventional sofa or armchair setup in sight.
The layout: With the day bed facing the settee, a fur pouf sits between it and the slender acrylic coffee table. There's a built in window seat below the bank of windows on the opposite side. The set up sits seven.