Having a small living room doesn’t have to cramp your style. Here are eight small living room decorating ideas that will create the illusion of added space and make the most of every square inch.
In choosing your room color scheme, keep in mind that cool colors (blue or green undertones) create a feeling of openness and lightness, making a room appear larger, while warm colors (brown, red, orange or yellow undertones) make a room feel cozy and comfortable, but smaller.
A cool neutral color palette (such as white or gray) is a perfect match for a small living room. Accented with pops of bright color, light neutral walls and upholstery will make the room appear airy and larger. If you have dark flooring, even adding a light colored area rug over it will make a difference.
Can you use a bold or dark color palette in a small living room? Of course, and there is something to be said for making a statement with a dramatic room. Just know that it will make the room appear smaller. You might counterbalance this by choosing especially sleek furnishings, or by leaving windows uncovered to let in light. Do also use semigloss or satin finish paint, which will reflect light in the room.
When the horizontal space in the room is limited, drawing the eye upward opens things up. This is especially effective if your living room has a high ceiling. Make the most of vertical space with a grouping of photos or artwork that extends up beyond eye level. Another easy tip? Use floor-to-ceiling drapes rather than (or over) horizontal blinds. You can even hang the drapes just above the windows to create the illusion of added height.
Mirrors are nearly magical in their ability to make a room appear larger. They reflect light and create the illusion of added depth. Try using a mirror (or grouping of three mirrors) as a focal point. For maximum effect, place it behind a light source. You can also position a mirror on the wall directly opposite a window—it will reflect back the view and give the illusion of another window!
A well-lit room appears light and airy. However, in a small room you’re not likely to have a lot of table space for lamps. Go for hanging pendant lights instead (they’ll draw the eye up). Swing-arm wall lamps beside your sofa or favorite reading chair will free up valuable space on your end tables, or eliminate the need for them if space is tight.
In a small room, it’s hard to justify furnishings that aren’t functional. Thankfully, you have plenty of pieces to choose from that combine style with substance. As Americans have downsized to smaller homes in recent years, furniture makers have met the demand with multi-tasking furniture that makes the most of every square inch.
In place of a standard coffee table, opt for a coffee table with incorporated storage. Or, go with an ottoman that does triple-duty for seating, storage, and serving. Many sofas are now available with storage beneath.
Need more flexibility in your space? You might try nesting tables instead of end tables, which can be grouped together or separately whenever you need more table space. Or how about a wheeled serving cart or bar cart as a side table? Two end tables or drum tables placed side-by-side can take the place of a coffee table, and are more easily moved when you need to open up the space.
Bulky furniture pieces, like an overstuffed sofa, big recliner or heavy wooden table, can quickly make a small room feel crowded. Instead, choose smaller-scale furniture to fit the room. Chairs and sofas with exposed wood legs give a feeling of lightness. Sleek metal and glass tables have the same effect. Low backs on the upholstered pieces draw the eye up to the vertical space above.
Even if these streamlined pieces take up the same footprint as their bulky counterparts, they don’t look as if they do!
In a small room, corners are your friend. Put those underutilized spaces to work with shelving units, tables, bookcases, desks and TV stands that are specially designed to fit into the corner. A small-scale corner sectional can be a smart and stylish seating option when space is at a premium.
This is a tried-and-true home staging tip used to make rooms appear larger. Try placing your furniture out from the wall rather than tightly against it. This may seem counter-intuitive, but having open space behind the furniture creates the illusion of added volume.
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