Whether you're downsizing to a smaller home or just like to keep things simple, choosing furniture for a small or narrow living room can be challenging. You don't want the room to feel cramped, but you also need to make sure there's enough seating and space for storage.
These interior ideas for a small living room will help you to make the most of your available space. Because when it comes to designer living room furniture, bigger isn't always better.
If you're downsizing to a smaller living space, your current sofa might not be the best fit. A sofa should be proportional to the room it's in, but it's more important that it meets your seating requirements. If you need more than a loveseat or small sofa can offer, creative arrangement of a modular or sectional sofa around corners can work wonders.
Sofas with thinner arms and backs will take up less floor space and hug the walls more easily. A low sofa can make a low ceiling appear taller and less confining. As with all small living room furniture, light colours and long legs raising a sofa off the ground will lighten the room's visual weight and make it feel less cramped.
If space is at a premium and you don't need too much seating, you might prefer to dispense with sofas altogether and add more armchairs. Chairs with thin arms or no arms will take up less space, while long legs lifting the seat off the ground will expose more of the floor and feel less boxy.
Armless chairs and stools are easy to move around based on your changing needs, whether they're clustered around a coffee table or armless chairs are joined together to create longer seats for guests. Mixing and matching chair colours and styles can add interest to a living room, but pale colours should be favoured.
Round coffee tables take up less visual space and are easier to move around than square or rectangular tables. A transparent coffee table or one raised off the ground will show more of the floor to enhance the sense of space or provide storage room. Compact stools can tuck under a raised coffee table and be brought out when more seating is needed.
A popular alternative to coffee tables in small rooms is an Ottoman. This multifunction furniture can double up as a comfortable seat as well as provide storage inside for magazines and other items. Add a tray for a solid storage surface.
Shelving can add visual appeal to living rooms, as well as making sure objects you need are within easy reach.
Floating shelves will preserve your floor space. Match the shelves to your wall colour or use clear shelves to avoid drawing the eye and keep the viewer's attention on your ornaments and decor.
Bookcases take up valuable space, but they can make attractive wall features – especially floor-to-ceiling bookcases that make the most of the vertical plane. They can also be a way to make use of space behind a sofa. Remember, they can be used for more than just books.
Your living room shouldn't be your main storage area, but multifunction items such as Ottomans, under-seat drawers and coffee tables that open up can combine discreet storage with attractive furniture.
Floating desks or consoles can put an unused wall to use without sacrificing floor space, especially when they feature handy drawers. Entertainment units with closing doors will make your living room less visually cluttered when these systems aren't in use.
How do I make a small living room look bigger?
Beyond furniture, décor choices informed by psychology can make any space look larger and more inviting. Some of the most effective way to achieve this are:
Large windows that let in natural light can help a small room appear large and airy. In the evening, artificial light also plays its part, which can be enhanced by using multiple levels of lighting and avoiding heavy shades.
Blinds or drapes are necessary for keeping glare off your TV, but they should be chosen with an eye to making your room appear taller. Full-length, flowing curtains draw the eye upwards, aided by vertical stripes. Vertical blinds can also make a room appear taller than horizontal Venetian blinds or roller blinds.
A time-honoured trick to enhance small spaces is to place mirrors strategically, especially where they'll catch light sources. Mirrors reflect light and bright colours around the room to give the illusion of extra depth. Mirrors opposite windows will effectively add another window to the room, while those hung close to the ceiling can make a room appear taller.
Bright, neutral colours
Bold or dark colours can make a room feel more confined. Pale, neutral tones help a room to feel more open. You don't have to go full white – although that can be a dazzling effect – but white walls and ceilings certainly help to set a more spacious backdrop by reflecting more light. Furniture and décor in neutral colours can help to create a relaxing mood.
You might be tempted to space out your furniture as much as possible in a small room, but grouping tables and chairs together can take advantage of the intimacy to create a cosy space for relaxing and entertaining. This also means the entrance to the room will be more open to foot traffic.
Use all the available space
Alcoves and sloping ceilings can make a small living room even smaller – unless you use them to your advantage. Choose a sofa that fits inside your window niche to avoid wasting that extra floor space, or fill up other nooks and crannies with bookcases and floating shelves.
Create your custom living room
Whatever size or shape your living room, DeRUCCI's designer furniture range can be tailor-made to your unique needs. See the latest sofas, armchairs, bookcases and other items created by our European design team to find the perfect match for your home and your personality.