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Small living room ideas.

While we all dream of having a huge house to decorate, the reality is that most of us are working within more modest spaces. When it comes to decorating a smaller lounge or living room, it can be tempting to keep furniture to a minimum. However, there’s no need to sacrifice on style or practicality. With considered furniture choices and some clever design tricks, it’s easy to make a room look bigger and also ensure it’s still a functional space for the whole family to enjoy. We’ve outlined some of our stylists’ favourite small living room ideas and décor tips to show just how easy it can be to make petite spaces look chic and cosy.
Design Inspiration Hints & Tips
buoyant legend swivel chair 1

1. Choose multi-use furniture.

When it comes to decorating a small living room, the last thing you want to do is make it look cluttered with too many pieces of unnecessary furniture. Instead, get the most out of your space by choosing items that can be used in a number of different ways. Footstools can double up as seats when you have extra guests, while ottomans can act as coffee tables with additional storage. And of course, if you lack room upstairs too then a sofa bed can be a fantastic addition for busy times of the year.

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2. Draw the eye upwards.

If you haven’t got much floor space to work with, you can add the illusion of space by making your ceilings appear higher. Vertical stripes on either the wallpaper or curtains are perfect for this, as are statement ceiling lights. Another great tip is to hang curtains a few inches higher than the window – not only will this draw the eye higher, but it will also give the illusion of a larger window and more light.

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3. Show some leg.

Did you know that rooms look bigger when you can see more of the floor? A key tip for decorating a small living room is therefore to choose sofas and chairs with exposed legs, as more floor will be on show. The same also applies for additional pieces of furniture such as coffee tables, bookcases and shelving units. Avoid blocky pieces that limit the amount of carpet or wood flooring you can see, and opt for items slightly lifted from the ground.

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4. Use rugs and wall art to section off your room.

If you think having a smaller room means you have to sacrifice a dining area, think again. Even in small spaces, it’s possible to create different functional ‘zones’ in your room through the careful placement of rugs and space defining furniture and accessories. For example, placing a large rug under the sofa and coffee table, and a smaller one under a dining table or desk, can help the eye to see these as different areas. Group a small selection of framed prints in one area or use a slim shelving unit or console table as a divider between living and eating spaces.

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5. Opt for a low sofa.

One little-known small living room idea involves choosing furniture that is lower to the ground. Again working on the principle that a high ceiling makes room feel bigger, a low sofa gives the illusion of more wall and therefore higher ceilings. Make sure to choose a similarly low coffee table so that the sofa doesn’t look disproportionately small.

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6. Swap bookcases for open shelving units.

Bulky bookcases and sideboards can easily swamp a smaller room. Instead, choose industrial-style open shelving units or ladder shelves for a look that is less intrusive (and very on-trend). Remember to keep trinkets to a minimum to avoid a look that’s too cluttered.

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7. Stick to pale shades.

A neutral colour palette of beiges, whites and light greys will make smaller spaces appear bigger. A good idea for small living rooms is to paint the walls a light shade and stick to pale or white-washed wood furniture. If you want to add a bit more personality to your room, incorporate pops of colour and patterns through cushions, prints and accessories.

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8. Let there be light.

One of the most common decorating tips for small living rooms is to get as much light as possible into the room. Avoid heavy, dark-coloured curtains that will block out the light and draw attention to the window – instead, choose light fabric curtains that will let plenty of light into the room. Mirrors are also a must-have for cosier rooms, placing one on the wall directly opposite a window can help reflect more light into the room and even give the illusion of extra windows.

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9. Choose glass furniture.

Because it’s so easy for smaller living rooms to look cluttered, many people decide against ‘extra’ items such as coffee or side tables. However, there’s no need to forego these handy pieces of furniture – instead, choose materials that won’t look too obtrusive. Glass coffee tables are ideal because they’re practical, without visually taking up much space. Glass nesting tables have the same effect, with the added versatility of providing multiple surfaces when you need them.

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10. Be clever with storage.

Having too many objects on show is one of the quickest ways to make a room look cluttered and cramped. Look for pieces such as storage footstools that can keep spare cushions and throws out of sight, and smaller sideboards with plenty of room for storing knick-knacks away. If you have items you definitely want to display, consider a corner shelving unit or floating shelves to make the best use of the space.

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11. Keep your furniture in proportion.

When decorating a small living room, some people think you need to keep furniture to a minimum. However, by opting for smaller pieces it’s possible to still fit all of the essential furniture in without the room looking overcrowded. Consider downsizing to a 2-seater sofa to save on space without sacrificing style, or choose a slim console table over a bulky sideboard. If you also need a dining area in your lounge then there are also some great space-saving dining tables available.

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