Looking for easy ways to make a small living room look bigger? With these clever tips, you can have a comfortable living room that looks larger than it really is – and you won’t have to spend a fortune!
Furnishing a Small Living Room
Thinking about buying new furniture for your compact living room? Here are a few tips to keep in mind while you’re looking.
Bigger is Better
Choose a few large items rather than several smaller pieces. This will make your area feel larger and not as cluttered.
For example, go with a small sectional sofa rather than a sofa and a set of chairs to make a tiny living are feel larger.
If you don’t want to use big furniture pieces, then downsize them. Use a smaller love seat rather than a full sofa.
Like a certain coffee table? Try to use the side table version.
Make your space appear larger and taller by using tall narrow bookcases. This will also draw the eye upward.
Using a bookcase or etagere with an open back will create the illusion of extra space.
If you can splurge, go with custom built-in cabinets or shelves. Otherwise, consider easy-to-install floating shelves.
Open Your Legs
Your furniture leg’s that is. Create a more open feel to your living room by using sofas and chairs with legs, as opposed to skirted furniture or items that sit directly on the ground.
Clear furniture that features glass or Lucite takes up less visual space and creates a more open feel. Consider using glass coffee tables or acrylic chairs.
Look for furniture that can serve multiple purposes.
A great space-saving trick for small rooms is to use an ottoman as a coffee table. Just place a tray on top to have a hard surface for a cup of coffee or decorative items.
An ottoman can provide additional seating in a pinch. Bonus points for using an ottoman that has storage underneath!
You could also consider an end table that has shelves for displaying art objects and also features a built-in swing arm lamp. It’s a fabulous space saver for any small living room!
Art Ideas for Tiny Rooms
Too many small art pieces will make a room feel cluttered. Go for oversized, large-scale pieces that will make your room feel grand in scale.
Create a focal point by placing small pieces in large frames. Create a sense of space by hanging pictures in large frames with wide mats.
Want a gallery wall? For a small space, use fewer pieces with wider mats rather than many small pieces. The effect is the same, but your space won’t feel so crowded.
Choose your favorites. Only include pieces that you really love and that make you feel good. If you have more pieces than fit comfortably, display a few at a time and rotate the others in and out throughout the year.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall
Use mirrors to make your room feel more spacious. Mirrors will reflect the light and brighten your room.
A great tip is to place a large mirror across from a window to reflect the natural light that comes in from the window.
If you don’t like the look of a mirrored wall, stand an oversized framed mirror against the wall for a stylish look.
Consider topping your coffee table with a piece of beveled plate mirror, or add decorative mirrors to your bookshelves. You can even repurpose an elegant framed mirror into a tray by simply adding felt to the back.
Does your room have tall ceilings? Emphasize the height by taking your gallery wall all the way up to create an open feel.
Curtain Ideas for Small Living Rooms
Hang Your Draperies High
The easiest way to make ceilings look higher is to hang your drapery rod about 2 inches below the ceiling. Then extend the rod at least 4 inches on both sides of the window.
This trick will make your windows look wider and let more light into the room.
If privacy isn’t an issue, use lightweight sheers for your windows. They will let the natural light in, and the lightweight fabric keeps the room from feeling heavy and dark.
Small Living Room Rug Ideas
Lighter tones reflect light, which creates an overall feeling of spaciousness. Darker rugs tend to absorb the light and can make your room feel a bit claustrophobic.
What’s the Right Size Rug for a Small Living Room?
A too-tiny rug makes any space feel smaller than it really is. Choose your rug size based upon the interior dimensions of your seating area, rather than just the coffee table.
Check out this rug sizing guide for more details.
Pick a rug that goes wall-to-wall, or choose one that’s big enough that most of the furniture sits on it.
Even the smallest amount of clutter in a small room can make the room look untidy and small. Use storage baskets or boxes to corral small items such as remote controls.
Know the Cantaloupe Rule
Decorative accents that are smaller than a cantaloupe will make your room feel crowded. Opt for one statement-making piece instead.
How to Make a Small Living Room Look Bigger with Paint
Best Paint Colors for Small Living Rooms
Wondering what colors make a small room look bigger? The short answer: light and neutral colors. Keep in mind that brighter rooms usually larger and more inviting than dark rooms.
Dark colors absorb light, which can make a small space feel cramped. Go for more neutral or light tones that reflect the light and allow more visual breathing room.
Pastels, light neutrals and shades of white are your best choices to create the feeling of airiness and openness.
Another great designer’s tip to make your room look larger is to paint your moldings and any wall trim in a lighter color than your walls. This will trick your eye into thinking the walls are further back…which makes your room look a little larger!
Using a striped pattern is one of designer’s favorite tricks to draw attention to space, and to make your area seem larger.
Use horizontal stripes on the rug to visually widen a small room.
You can use vertical stripes on the wall to create the illusion of height.
Don’t go overboard, though! Mix some florals or solid colors in to your decor to keep the room from looking cluttered and busy.
Small Living Room Lighting Ideas
Let There Be Light
On the wall, that is. Or the floor. Or the ceiling. You’ll need a table for table lamps, so opt for sconces, wall lights, or ceiling fixtures or floor lamps.
If you have high ceilings, play those up by adding a statement chandelier or pendant lamps.
Low ceiling rooms don’t have enough height for a dangling light (who wants to be clonked in the head by a light?), so consider recessed lighting or flush-mount overhead lights.
Two for One
When buying a table or floor lamp for a small living room, look for double-duty pieces that feature both an uplight at the top and an adjustable task light on the pole.
If you have small windows, be sure to create a bright atmosphere by using a variety of lamps/sconces/chandeliers.