modern living room

20 Small Living Room Ideas That Will Maximize Space And Light

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Normally, the advice when remodeling our living rooms is to avoid overfilling or cramming the area. Accomplishing this, particularly in a more compact room, can indeed be quite daunting. The problem emerges when you attempt to fit all the essential furniture into a restricted space. As you plan out the room’s structure, additional issues like deciding the amount of furniture to buy, possible overcrowding, and appropriate paint color choice may come up.

The questions are endless. However, we are fortunate enough to have the internet where there are plenty of ideas and layouts, no matter how small or big your space is. If you are looking for small living room ideas, then, take inspiration from this article, to unlock the potential of a comfortable small living room.

Small living room ideas for your home

1. Club Chairs instead of sofas


A big sofa can take up a lot of living room space. It is important to find a chair that is small but not too small. The chair should also accommodate an adult and a child. This is one of the best small living room ideas to create space. Floral chairs also light up the room, making the room look bigger.

If your room is too small, such that it cannot accommodate either the sofa or club chairs, then you can forego this option and use two comfortable armchairs.

20191218_Jae Joo_443 Marlborough Street-38.jpg

2. White walls

Consider keeping your walls and ceilings all white. White can create a dulling effect but tends to make a small space feel larger and brighter. If you are using white walls, avoid using black and white artwork, because it might reduce the brightness of the room. Colorful paintings and furniture are the way to go for most small living rooms.

However, this is not always the case. Some work best with all neutral colors and a few pops of color and texture like houseplants, especially if there are large windows. Others have an accent wall, where one wall is painted a different color from the rest, which is also a good idea. The point is that you should find what you like and what works for your room.

3. Lightning

small blue and white contemporary living room

In a living room, the floor is the most important space of the room. The lightning should be attachable to the walls or the ceiling to save floor space. Another ideal situation for a small living room is the swing arm scones which bring dimension to the walls while also freeing up the floor space.

In cases where the living room has large or a lot of windows that give a ton of natural light, ensure that you don’t use dark curtains. It is important to allow the light to freely pour in, which makes space become airy. If you have small windows, then use semi-sheer shades of curtains, to allow maximum light to get in.

neutral living room style

4. Large Rug/ Carpet

A large carpet visually breaks up the floor, making the room feel bigger. It also makes the room feel much bigger if you use a carpet with a bold pattern and colors. Smaller carpets don’t do this. Large carpets also help anchor space giving you a good design for the rest of the room.

5. Shelving

Small spaces lack adequate storage. Whether your house has a big living room space or a small one, it is important to have shelves to act as a storage zone and a decorating piece. Get creative about the kind of shelves your space need and where to strategically place them.

small living room ideas

Floating shelves are perfect small living room ideas for extra storage. This is because they can hold a lot of things, making use of each of the spare space available. I would personally not recommend the floor to ceiling shelves, because there is a need to have room for an extra seating option. Make sure the shelves are the same color as the walls.

6. Hanging chair

small living room decorating tricks

Sling chairs are yet a new design trending in the whole world at present. They are a great trick to spare a living space especially when dealing with a smaller living space. Therefore if one wanted to have extra sitting space but do not want to waste much floor space then would be the ideal style to have. It also a comfortable and relaxing seat.

7. Two small coffee tables instead of one big one

If you are looking to get a glam living room, it is recommended to get two small items instead of one large item. Use two small side tables to take the place of one big side table. The small side table allows easy traffic flow and also it is easy to move around.

8. Mirror decor

This is an old and common trick, but it for sure works magic. It is one of the best small living room ideas that no one should ignore. A mirror creates an illusion of space by reflecting backlight and interior design, making a small space look much bigger.

small living room ideas using mirrors

For a small space, it is better to use an over-sized mirror that covers one entire wall. You can also place it on the mantel and can also use tiled mirrors over one wall.

9. Strange angles

Sometimes, to highlight the shot you want to create, you may need to have some furniture in the living room, or a photo on the wall, placed at weird angles. One does not have to worry if things do not fit perfectly into their space; a slight imbalance is quite acceptable. It could turn out to be one of the most beneficial decisions that you can ever make in regards to your living room. But if it does not fit or its look is not attractive then you may have to live with the space occupied by that furniture and may have to remove it also.

10. Multipurpose rooms

When your house is small and space is lacking, another great option is to get creative and make multi-purpose rooms. This is what a multi-purpose room means; You can combine different concepts into one room. For example, if you don’t have a lot of rooms, such that you lack either a family room, a dining room, or an office, then you can combine the concepts. The family room and the dining room can be in one space and the living room and office in another space.

So, if you don’t have enough living room space you can combine it with either the family room or the dining room if you have them, to create more space. With the right layout and pieces, the combined rooms look great, no matter the shape or size of the room.

11. Dual purpose furniture

Multi-functional pieces of furniture should be your friend when you have a small living room space. For example, you can use stools as seats if you still need more seating spaces. Such type of stools should be the cube stools, which can also be placed under the coffee table when they are not in use.

These cube stools or even the sofa should also be lidded to create extra storage space. The furniture and the decor should maximize the amount of natural light getting in the room. You can also create more storage space below the coffee table.

12. Hanging baskets

This may seem a cliché and a common way of doing things but if you can get some attractive baskets then these should be pretty cool ideas. If you have any space where you can put up a wall be sure to maximize on it. The picture below is a representation of some of the attractive willow baskets that have been used as storage items. They are hanged well with the use of decorative hooks which can hold a lot of weight but the baskets should not be overloaded. They can be filled with various things, such as books and toys, etc.

small living room ideas

13. Arrange things vertically

It is important to take the decor items high up when the floor is limited. Arranging anything vertically allows you to make most of the room. Try implementing the various geometric and linear prints. This provides a small space with a sense of structure while also giving additional space.

The geometric at the window is useful to repeat the blue tones and provide a statement pattern. Many of such styles can be achieved by incorporating geometric and linear prints. This can add some level of structural importance as well as give the illusion of increased length and width to a small area.

14. Layer coffee tables

So far, large and bulky coffee tables are out of the question. If you can find a set of tables, that are small enough for your room and that can be layered when not in use to create space.

super tiny living room that is extra cozy

15. Colorful furniture

The recommendation is therefore that instead of using white furniture, the walls should be painted a different color as using white for walls gives a dulling effect on the home. Brighten up the home through colorful couches a coffee table, stools among other living room furniture.

16. Adding plants decor

Artificial or real plants can be a decent source of decor for the room. It will also add light to space whilst also ensuring the room is streamed with fresh air. Plants also add décor and personality.

17. Gold decor

Artificial or real plants can be a decent source of decor for the room. It will also add light to space whilst also ensuring the room is streamed with fresh air. Plants also add décor and personality.

Living room with gray sofa and gold accents

18. L shaped sofas into a tight space

An L-shaped sofa is another great resource for a small living room space. With this kind of sofa, zero square footage goes to waste. Its design scheme provides extra storage space and can also function as a coffee table. It is also very stylish and comfortable to sit in.

19. Display artwork strategically

Bring your artwork up to the feature wall, to add energy and interest to the room. Art also tends to trick the eye so that it looks like the room is bigger than it is. A gallery wall might be too much for a small space, but if it extends to the ceiling, it can actually make it feel bigger. The glossy effect of paintings or art is also one of the greatest ideas when it comes to artwork for a tiny space.

20. Embrace less

Sometimes less is the way to go for a small living room. This is especially recommended if you have a nice fireplace, beautiful hardwood floors, and large windows, such that tons of light gets in. If you overcrowd your living room, then that would be the last place you want to spend time in, since it won’t be cozy.


1. How can I arrange my small living room?

Organizing small living room means that a person should be able to play optical illusions and create the impression that the room is really large. With that being said, you have to learn to differentiate things you require from those you do not. It is nothing really complicated, just plain creative styling and layout. Here we have tried offering you some decorating tips which will assist you in the process of transforming your living room into a perfect place.

2. How can I make a small living room look nice?

It is simple as using decorations and adding a pop of color. These decorations can be things like mirrors, art pieces, etc. and to add a pop of color you can use plants, wallpapers, etc. You can also use a few nicely made pieces of furniture, that are stylish as well as comfortable. Avoiding unnecessary things in the room.

3. Which sofa is best for a small living room?

If your room has an appearance, a sofa that you require should meet your requirements. If the ceilings are low and the room is not wide, then you can opt for a long sofa that is narrow. To provide a wider space one may opt for an L-shaped sofa or even the same club sofas.

4. What colors make a small room look bigger?

Colors with soft tones will definitely make a room look bigger. While is the obvious option, it is not the only option. Other colors include the soft shades of blue, purple, beige, coffee, gray, mint green, pink, etc. This is because such colors are bright colors and the brightness of a room is what makes it look bigger and inviting.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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