Small Living Room Ideas: 6 Ways To Maximise Lounge Space

Teeny, tiny living room? No problem. From space-enhancing furniture to clutter-clearing storage solutions, these small living room ideas will instantly transform your lounge into your favourite hangout zone. Prepare to be amazed…

How to arrange and design your small living room layout

Small living room designs require a little more thought than usual. You’ll have to think about how each piece of furniture will slot together to make the most of the minimal floor space.

A common mistake in very small living room ideas is to push all your furnishings up against the wall but this can often have an adverse effect, making the space seem even more cramped. It’s actually better to pull the furniture away from the wall and keep it more central as creating space beyond the furniture adds volume to the room.

Mustard upholstered sofa with black coffee table

When planning how to arrange furniture in a small living room, it’s important to be smart with storage. Keeping the area meticulously tidy and giving everything a home will make the room feel instantly bigger. For example, choose a coffee table that’s not just a great perching spot for your morning beverage, but also has lots of drawers or a shelf to hold your favourite magazines and the remote control you’re always losing. Consider tall shelves or slimline ladder-styles to make effective use of every spare space.

Multi-purpose furniture is also a life saver in small living room designs. We’re talking a desk that can be transformed into a dining table; an end table that doubles up as a bar cart; and a stool with a side table doppelganger. You get the gist.

Awkward shaped living room? Consider how best to optimise the space you have. An L-shaped sofa is a versatile – and very comfy – solution in a tight eaves space, while a bookcase or shelving unit is the perfect way to utilise any unused space under a staircase. If you have an open plan living and dining area, an easy way to give the illusion of more space is to visually divide the two rooms with a rug or clever furniture arrangement. Read on for more small lounge ideas…


What are the best colour schemes and decorating ideas for small lounges?

When it comes to small living room decorating ideas, there’s two ways you can go – play it safe with light and minimal hues or get the neighbours talking with an out-there colour scheme.

Generally speaking, crisp white walls or soft pastel shades will make the room feel more spacious and less cluttered, as well as providing a good backdrop for vibrant vases, colour-popping accessories or house plants. If you like the clean and minimal look, stick to one or two colours to keep the look consistent and cohesive.

Grey upholstered 3 seater sofa, wooden coffee table and pink velvet cushions

If, however you prefer a bright and beautiful aesthetic, you’ll be happy to hear that the small size of your living room doesn’t have to crush your colour dreams.  In fact, it has been said that big and bold can actually make small spaces seem larger. So, don’t be afraid to make a statement with a larger-than-life rug or patterned upholstery. Alternatively, if you just want a pop of colour here and there, you can always add interest with vibrant vases, decorative accessories or your favourite artworks.

How to choose furniture for your small living room

As previously mentioned, furniture for small living rooms should always be multi-tasking, aka pieces that have more than one use. For example, an ottoman that doubles up as a storage box, or a sofa bed that’s ideal for overnight guests. You need to be tough – in a small living room, each piece of furniture must work hard to earn its place.

Small living room storage ideas should be one of your first considerations. Keep your living room clutter free with storage that’s handsome as well as handy. Look for sofas with secret storage, coffee tables with drawers or shelves, and storage trunks that are as fashionable as they are functional. When it comes to shelving and bookcases, we say aim high – tall shelves add height to the room and give a sense of airiness. Ladder-style shelving is also perfect when tight on space giving a cool, contemporary edge with a minimal footprint.

Wooden AV unit with ceramic table lamp and vase

Fill with books, framed family photographs and stylish home accessories to create a striking feature unique to you. When choosing a side table or coffee table for a small living room, it’s best to go for a there-but-not-there glass or light coloured design to give the illusion of more space. If possible, choose a style with visible legs which will open up the room. Alternatively, think outside the box and choose two small styles that can be easily moved as required.


What sofa and chair styles work best in small rooms?

From the sofa to the footstool, our biggest tip for small living room chairs is to find seating that offers storage space to hide away all your bits and pieces. You’ll thank us later.

If you’d like a large sofa we suggest choosing a design with clean, simple lines in a light colour. L-shaped styles aka corner sofas make great small living room sofas as they perfectly optimise the floor space and are ideal for tight eaves. Alternatively, there are lots of stylish compact sofas and small lounge chairs to choose from, leaving plenty of room for your other furniture pieces.

Because every piece of furniture has to count in a small space, it’s the ultimate excuse to make a bold statement with striking modern chairs. A stylish armchair will get all the guests talking (and arguing over who gets to sit there!). Styles with exposed legs will keep the room from feeling crowded.

PU leather chair with wooden frame

If you do have an open plan living and dining area look for chairs that can easily be tucked away under the table and those with fine metal frames which allow you to see underneath, helping to make the room feel bigger. Folding chairs are also particularly handy when you have more guests than your sofa can hold.


How to make a small living room look bigger

Blue velvet sofa with pink carper and velvet cushions

With a few clever interior design tips and tricks you can easily add extra square inches to the room. Here’s our top ideas for small living rooms:

Great Lengths

Lucky enough to have high ceilings? Full-length curtains will draw the eye upwards adding height to your lounge. If you aren’t blessed with floor-to-ceiling windows, however, don’t worry. Simply hang curtains high above the top of the windows and let them fall all the way to the floor. Keep window dressings simple to make the most of the natural light in the room, and consider subtly striped curtains which will add even more depth.


Dizzying Heights

Take it up a notch with shelves that go as high as they can, accentuating the height of the room, and display artwork strategically, bringing the frames upwards to trick the eye and emphasise the high ceiling.


Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

Reflective surfaces, particularly mirrors, are a tiny room’s best friend, expanding the visual space. Whether you opt for one large mirror to act as the focal point of the lounge or scatter lots of smaller ones around the room, they will open it up and make it appear instantly bigger and brighter. Voila!

Wooden sideboard with gold mirror and blue ceramic table lamp


Floor Fillers

Generally speaking, small living room rugs should be light coloured to make the room look and feel bigger and brighter, but don’t be afraid of bold prints and colours. Size wise, rugs that reach beyond the edges of the furniture will make the room look larger.

On The Wall

Mounting a TV on a swing-arm device is a handy way to eliminate the need for a bulky media centre. The same goes for swing-arm lamps or wall lights which will free up space on the side tables. Clever, huh?

What’s the best lighting for small living rooms?

Green 3 seater sofa with black cushion and black table lamp

In need of some small living room lighting ideas? You’re in the right place. There’s lots of smart ways you can use lighting to illuminate the room and create a sense of space.

An overhanging pendant light will not only draw the eye upwards adding real depth to the room, but also provides the perfect focal point to mark out the living space.

Floor lamps are also ideal in compact spaces – with a small footprint, they can squeeze into unused spaces such as next to the sofa or in a neglected corner offering great task lighting for when the sun goes down.

It’s also worth considering wall lighting which frees up surface space for other essentials, such as that glass of wine you’ve been looking forward to all day.

Blue chaise longue

See, we told you having a small living room isn’t the end of the world. The possibilities are endless!

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our guide to living room lighting.

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