Having a small living room can be challenging when it comes to decorating and designing the space. However, with some creativity and smart solutions, you can transform your cozy area into a splendid, functional room that looks and feels larger than it is. Here are 11 excellent design ideas to make the most of your small living room.

Choose Multipurpose Furniture

Opting for multifunctional furniture is a great way to save space in a small living room. Look for pieces like ottomans with hidden storage, coffee tables with lift-tops to accommodate more guests, and sofa beds that quickly convert into a spare bed for overnight company. Dual-purpose furnishings allow you to declutter and provide extra functionality in your modest square footage.

Incorporate Mirrored Accents

Using mirrored accents is an age-old trick to visually expand a small space. Strategically place mirrors, like on the wall opposite your window or above your fireplace mantel, to reflect light and create the illusion of a larger area. Also, consider a mirrored coffee table or accent cabinet to make the room feel more spacious.

Keep Furniture Scale Petite

When it comes to small living rooms, oversized furniture can quickly overwhelm the space. Look for pieces with low profiles, slender silhouettes, and compact footprints to maintain an open, airy feel. Nesting tables, narrow console units, and slipper chairs are just some excellent small-scale options to furnishing your room.

Let In Plenty Of Natural Light

Abundant natural light can make any small space appear larger and brighter. Maximize sunlight in your modest living room by keeping window treatments light and airy. Sheer curtains, bamboo shades, and blinds are fantastic options for filtering light while still allowing the sun’s rays to brighten up the entire room.

Paint The Walls Light Colors

Just like natural light, a light, neutral color palette visually expands a small living room. Stick to soft hues like airy whites, warm beiges, pale grays, or subtle pastels on your walls. You can then use accessories and bold artwork for pops of color without overwhelming your petite footprint.

Utilize Vertical Space

In a living room with limited square footage, take advantage of vertical real estate. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases, shelving units, and wall displays allow you to get items up and off the floor. Vertical storage helps declutter your small space and draws the eye upward, enhancing the sense of height.

Include At Least One Multi-Purpose Piece

A multi-purpose piece is an excellent addition to a small living room, combining storage, seating, and style. An ottoman coffee table provides a spot to prop up your feet and can conceal blankets or board games inside. Or try a storage bench, which offers extra seating and eliminates clutter.

Arrange Furniture Creatively

Get creative with furniture arrangement to define spaces and give your small living room an open, uncluttered look. Float pieces away from the walls, angle furniture diagonally across corners, or place the sofa in the middle of the room rather than against the walls. A thoughtful layout can help maximize every inch.

Add Shelving For Display and Storage

For a small space, shelving pulls double duty by displaying decor while also providing storage space. Mount floating shelves on a wall to perch plants, framed photos, and art. For bulkier items, look for taller bookcases or freestanding units. Proper shelving minimizes visual clutter.

Consider An Accent Wall

An accent wall is an easy, low-commitment way to inject color, texture, or pattern without overwhelming a petite room. Use bold wallpaper, colorful paint, or 3D panels on just one wall as a focal point. The pop of interest makes a big visual impact without going overboard in a small living room.

Install Wall Sconces and Track Lighting

Proper lighting can make a small living room shine, literally! Install wall sconces and track lighting to wash walls with illumination and highlight decor. Swing arm sconces save space by attaching directly to walls. Flexible track heads let you focus light exactly where you need it most in your room.


While small living rooms present some challenges, they also provide the perfect opportunity to get creative and make smart decorating choices. By incorporating multifunctional furnishings, mirrors, petite-scale furniture, an abundance of natural light, and clever layouts, you can transform your modest square footage into a splendid, inviting space. Use these savvy design tips to make the most out of your cozy living area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Designing Small Living Rooms

Here are some common questions people have about designing and decorating small living rooms:

Q: What colors make a small living room look bigger?

A: Light, neutral colors like whites, beiges, pale blues, and soft grays visually expand a small living room. Avoid dark hues, which can make the space feel closed in and cramped.

Q: Should you put a sectional in a small living room?

A: Sectionals can work well in small living rooms since they seat multiple people without taking up too much space. Look for compact sectional sofas with a chaise on one end to define the seating area.

Q: What size rug should you use in a small living room?

A: Choose a rug about 5-7 inches smaller than the overall room size. The rug should be large enough to define the seating area but not overwhelm the limited square footage.

Q: Should you hang curtains floor to ceiling in a small living room?
A: Yes, floor-to-ceiling curtains draw the eye upward, enhancing the sense of vertical space in a small living room. Long drapes and sheers soften corners and make ceilings appear higher.

Q: How do you arrange furniture in a rectangular living room?
A: Float furniture away from the walls and orient it diagonally across corners of a rectangular living room. Angle the sofa across from the TV instead of placing it flat against a wall.

Q: How can you decorate a small living room cheaply?
A: Use inexpensive accents like throw pillows, area rugs, and potted greenery. Repurpose flea market finds as wall decor. Paint or stencil artwork instead of buying expensive pieces. Utilize multifunctional furniture and shelves.

Q: Should you put a TV in a small living room?
A: Yes, just be strategic. Mount it on the wall or place on a console to save space. Position it where it won’t dominate the room or disrupt flow and conversation areas. Also use cabinets or shelving to hide unsightly cords and equipment.