14 Ideas For Making the Most of a Small Living Room

14 Ideas For Making the Most of a Small Living Room

Additions and Remodels
Interior Design
By Mateos Glen Hayes December 15, 2021

At first blush, a small living room seems like it doesn’t have much to offer. However, this is not necessarily the case. There are in fact a few smart ways of maximizing the space of a small living room and making it seem a whole lot bigger. As with many things in life, the key to reimagining a small space is to have a vision and a clear direction. The solutions can come naturally once you establish those two aspects. To get started on the right path, all you need are a few easy hacks.

1. One Room, Many Uses 

One Room Be Multi-Use for Maximum Practicality

One Room Be Multi-Use for Maximum Practicality

A small living room is one of the best places to make use of multi-functional furniture. There are few better ways of saving space than by minimizing your living room’s furniture and only using stuff that has multiple functions. For example, many tables can be expanded to full size for dinner, then retracted into smaller coffee tables so that most of the time they aren’t in the way. And with all sorts of other nifty solutions such as desks that fold up and out of the way when not in use, futons, and cabinets with wheels there is no shortage of multi-purpose furniture out there that can help you make the most of limited space.

2. Have a Theme

A Theme Adds Character and Texture

A Theme Adds Character and Texture

Aesthetics may seem like the smallest detail in a tiny living room, but they are no less important. In fact, having a pleasant looking room can really help to make a cramped space feel cozier and more comfortable. In general, emphasizing verticality in your interior design is the best way to visually open up a small space. To achieve this, make use of vertical patterns and use beautiful framed pictures to cover blank walls. This can add character and make the space feel that much bigger.

3. Avoid Big Stuff 

Big Furniture Can Cramp up a Space Fast

Big Furniture Can Cramp up a Space Fast

When you have a small space there is not much allowance for big, bulky stuff. Of course, that does not mean that you can never put big furniture in a small space, but it does mean that any use of bulky furniture should be limited and targeted. For example, a large L-shaped couch does quite a good job of filling an empty corridor in the room, but too many big items will have you struggling to navigate through a cramped space.

4. Reimagine Storage

Vertical Storage Works Best When Space Is at a Premium

Vertical Storage Works Best When Space Is at a Premium

In a small living room the most free space you have is above your head. One way to add to the beauty and practicality of the space is therefore to make use of any free vertical space. Floating shelves are an excellent way of doing this, adding space for storing stuff and displaying decorations without cramping things up. You can also get creative by attaching woven baskets to your walls in a staggered formation, or just using plastic receptacles. Whatever you do, make sure not to add too much to the walls since overdoing it will make the room feel less cozy.

5. Avoid Uniformity 

Even Small Bursts of Color Can Really Liven up a Small Living Room

Even Small Bursts of Color Can Really Liven up a Small Living Room

When it comes to how a small living room looks and feels, uniformity is definitely something to avoid. A space that looks too samey is going to be monotonous to the eye and can even make you feel down. To avoid this use splashes of color to offset any dull whites or grays in your small living room. Even simple elements  such as flowers or colorful throw pillows  can make a big difference in how warm a room feels.

6. When in Rome… Use a European layout!

Practicality and the Bare Essentials Are Key to a European Small Living Room

Practicality and the Bare Essentials Are Key to a European Small Living Room

When it comes to making the most with limited space, our friends across the pond are experts. It’s no secret that the average European home tends to be much smaller than a comparable American one, so it pays to take some pages out of the European playbook when reimagining your small living room. The key to mastering this design style is to use only bare essentials, have limited decorations, and keep it all practical. So, only have furniture that you need and try to have multiple uses for your living room (a living room/kitchen combination is a pretty cool option).

7. Inject Some Modern Minimalism 

Sharp Lines and Simple Forms Make a Small Living Room Feel Airier

Sharp Lines and Simple Forms Make a Small Living Room Feel Airier

The clean, sharp lines and simple forms of minimalism are perfect for a small space such as a mini living room. By de-emphasizing complex shapes, you can reclaim some much needed visual space with this design style. To make your own minimalist small living room, be sure to emphasize neutral colors such as whites and grays , and to use low profile furniture. A mid-size rug can provide a splash of color, tie the space together, and inject life into your minimalist small living room.

8. Focus on Spacing

Making Full Use of the Space Is the Best Way to Revamp a Small Living Room

Making Full Use of the Space Is the Best Way to Revamp a Small Living Room

One mistake you certainly want to avoid is creating random empty spaces in an already small room. For instance, it is generally a faux-pas to have a sofa or other large piece of furniture in the center of a small room since this leaves behind two narrow “corridors” on either side of the sofa. Since that’s not a great use of the space, it’s better to have large pieces of furniture up against walls, and to receive the middle space for smaller items such as coffee tables or small chairs.

9. Add a Mirror or Two

Mirrors Reflect Sunlight and Are Great for Decoration

Mirrors Reflect Sunlight and Are Great for Decoration

The kings and queens of old made good use of this trick so why shouldn’t you? Mirrors are a reliable way of making even the smallest room look like it's bursting with space. It’s also a great way to brighten up the room since mirrors will reflect natural and artificial light. Plus, a mirror with an ornate frame can be quite a nice way to decorate a small living room. It’s no surprise then that when it comes to mini living room ideas, mirrors just might be the best.

10. Use All Space 

Make Use of Space in Creative Ways

Make Use of Space in Creative Ways

You might be lucky enough to have a small living room that is perfectly box-shaped. If you live in an older home, however, it is quite likely that your living room has a more irregular shape due to a bow window or some other design feature. This can somewhat complicate things since it means there’s always a part of the room that’s hard to know what to do with.

The best way to deal with odd spaces is to fill them since this will avoid leaving unused space, and will also prevent the corridor effect mentioned earlier. Shop around for furniture that can fit more or less snugly in any odd spaces, and your small living room layout will be much better for it.

11. Let In the Sun – Use Blinds Instead of Curtains 

Natural Sunlight Is Healthy Essential for Opening up a Space

Natural Sunlight Is Healthy Essential for Opening up a Space

There’s nothing quite like the sunshine to really brighten up your small living room. If you can, try to add a window to your small living room design —  or better yet, make the existing window bigger. A small living room layout will feel much bigger and happier with just a tad more sunlight. We also recommend using sliding windows since this will save space and will also allow you to let in some fresh air as well.

12. Brighten the Space Up  – Better Lighting, Lighter Walls

LED Lighting Can Be Bought for Almost Any Application

LED Lighting Can Be Bought for Almost Any Application

Speaking of making the room brighter, there are several other small living room lighting ideas you should consider.  Lighter-colored walls are generally better because they reflect more light and therefore help make a small living room layout feel more airy. Revamping your interior lighting is another solution to think about. Thanks to the affordability and easy customizability of LED lighting, you can now buy LED fixtures in almost any color, brightness, size, and configuration for affordable prices. Even one or two LED light fixtures can do a lot to brighten up a room, especially when complemented with accent lighting.

13. Have A Focal Point – or Anchor

Having a Focal Point in Your Living Room Enhances Your Interior Decor

Having a Focal Point in Your Living Room Enhances Your Interior Decor

When you’re dealing with a small living room design, having a focal point can help to give the room character. It also gives the eye something to focus on which is good in a small space where things can get boring fast. Thanks to the small space, an entire wall can be a focal point. A wall of portraits or landscape paintings, for instance, could be an ideal focal point for a small living room layout.

14. Add Texture 

Bohemian Style Decor Will Make Any Small Living Room Feel Unique

Bohemian Style Decor Will Make Any Small Living Room Feel Unique


The best small living room ideas are the ones that aren’t afraid to spice things up. Being open to experimenting is the best way to find a small living room arrangement that you are satisfied with. So, feel free to try adding different kinds of furniture, carpeting, light fixtures, and even decorations, even if they may not all match. As long as you don’t oversaturate the room, you’ll be able to develop a design that is both unique and visually appealing — think Bohemian, and you can’t go wrong.

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes