Small-Space Design for Living Rooms

Find out how to make the most of your small living room with tried-and-true design ideas and color schemes that won’t cramp your style.
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November 25, 2014

Photo By: Rikki Snyder

Photo By: Trevor Tondro

Photo By: Alexia Fodere

Bulk Be Gone

In small spaces, it's important to avoid bulky furniture. Designer Jenna Pizzigati created the sleek feel of this New York City apartment by opting for furnishings with thin legs and open bottoms.

Add a Rug

A light-colored rug can really open up a room. Cover dark wood flooring, or try placing an area rug over carpet for a cozy, layered look.

Spice It Up

Just because your living room is small doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun. Use bright colors and cool graphics to add interest to the space. Just be sure to limit your palette to two or three colors for a look that’s exciting but not overwhelming. Design by Andrew Suvalsky

Spatial Reasoning

Small-space dwellers know that in order to make the most of the space you have, you need to take advantage of every nook and cranny. Vertical space is especially useful. Add a few shelves, and watch what was once awkward space be transformed into useful storage. Design by RMS user kcuringa

Be Bold

Don’t be afraid to use dark colors, even in a small space. Lighter colors might make the room feel larger, but deeper hues add drama and style. If you do opt for a dark paint color, be sure to choose a satin or semigloss finish that will reflect light in the room. Extra tip: Window treatments can weigh down a small living room. Leave windows bare to keep your space light and airy. Design by Homepolish

Multipurpose Furniture

Get more bang for your design buck by choosing furniture pieces that do double duty. For example, the bar cart featured here is not only the ideal spot to store bar essentials, it also works as an innovative side table, housing a lamp, books and other belongings.

Just White

This mini cabin in the woods is packed full of homey decorations and other knickknacks, but the cohesive color scheme lends a calming, organized look to the tiny living room. White is a great color choice for reflecting light and adding visual space.

Optical Illusions

To draw the eye upward and create the look of extra space, hang curtains from the ceiling rather than directly above windows. In this living area, glass tables also trick the eye and make the room appear more spacious, while the built-in shelf adds much-needed storage.

Scale It Down

Nothing shrinks a room faster than large-scale, overstuffed furniture. To make your petite space seem just right, choose smaller furniture that fits the room. The two-seater seen here works perfectly in the tiny NYC apartment. And instead of a bulky coffee table, two end tables lend plenty of storage and can be easily moved for more space.

Mirror Image

A well-placed mirror can work wonders in a small space. Not only are they decorative in nature, but a perfectly situated mirror can also add dimension and pull in extra light.

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