How to Make the Most of Your Compact Living Room
Get the style, comfort and seating you need out of your small living room by finding the perfect arrangement. Although tricky, it can be done — here’s how!
Add Wallpaper and Mirror
Small living rooms, especially those with few windows, can feel a bit claustrophobic. To combat this, consider adding wallpaper and hanging a mirror. Not only will doing so create a focal point, it will also bring depth and boost light. Position the mirror across from a window, if possible, so that it will reflect the outdoor view and create the illusion of an additional window.
Incorporate Hidden Storage
Select furniture that features built-in storage to cut back on clutter. For example, a storage ottoman or retro trunk are both great coffee table choices. Swap out a console table along the perimeter of the room for a small credenza or compact chest of drawers to further your storage options.
Use Your Vertical Space
Lucky enough to have high ceilings? Take full advantage of them. While it’s true that vertical space won’t help with a cramped seating situation, it will draw the eye upward and help amplify the feeling that your space is bigger and grander than it actually is. A good option to fill the space is an eclectic showing of artwork.
Max Out a Corner
This may seem counterintuitive, but filling a small corner space with the biggest piece of furniture possible can sometimes make it feel larger. The reason this approach works? An oversized sectional can seat a large number of people, but also simplifies the room because it registers as just a single element. Keep in mind that a modern-style sectional featuring straight, clean lines is a better pick for small spaces than one that is overstuffed.
A great way to add depth to small spaces, plants are effective at softening corners and creating the illusion that there is more to a room than there really is. For the best results, use plants in corners, and behind or next to sofas and chairs.
Bring In Versatile Furniture
In a compact living room, every single piece of furniture should prove its worth. For example, consider using versatile pieces like an ottoman that serves as either a coffee table or extra seating depending on the situation, or a set of nesting side tables that can be moved wherever they’re needed. Little stools are another handy option that can be put to work as either tables or extra seats.
Build in Storage
Do away with all the small, hodge-podge storage pieces taking up space around your living room and go big instead: Dedicate an entire wall to storage. You’ll be surprised how much more space you’ll have. Plus, a storage wall can be customized to include just about anything — from books to a media center, or even a pull-down desk.
Remove the Sofa Altogether
A living room doesn’t have to have a sofa. If space is really limited, consider arranging a few armchairs around the coffee table instead. For even more flexibility, use a tray-topped ottoman as a coffee table and you’ll be able to convert it into a seat when needed.
Try Out a See-Through Piece
Because of their “invisibility,” materials like glass, Lucite and acrylic are wonderful additions to a small living room — they take up zero visual space. Consider incorporating a clear coffee table or clear nesting side tables to visually open up the room.
Pick Small-Scale Furniture
If you have a small-scale room, it makes sense to fill it with small-scale furniture. A great place to find smaller-scale pieces? Your local antique shop. That’s because the typical room size was relatively small up until the last 50 years or so. Try to find love seats, small settees, and small-scale chairs that will work well in your space.
Store a Few Spare Seats
Adequate seating is always a sticking point in small living rooms. The simple truth might be that it’s not possible to incorporate as many seating choices as you’d like. One way to work around this dilemma is to stash some stackable stools or folding chairs in a closet or under a bed. That way you can easily pull them out whenever necessary.