Usually the heart of the home, the living room is a key area you need to focus on when designing. - it has "living" in the name for a reason, as space needs to be liveable. Whether it's a small apartment, a studio flat, a tiny home or it just so happens to be a small room, the living room in any home needs to be functional but it can also be stylish and spacious if you use the right tricks!
If it's small and narrow, or cramped and awkward, by following our tips and using our ideas as inspiration, we can help you make a small living area look good and feel big.
Light Colours and the Walls
If you are starting from scratch or even just starting over, the walls are where you want to begin. Your color choice and/or wall ideas will dictate how you move forward. Here are some ways to help.
The Power of White
One of the oldest and most useful tricks in the book for a reason, white is a great way to make any room feel more spacious. You could go for standard white or an off-white like an eggshell to add another dimension, either way, this paint choice will help bounce light around your less spacious room. Feel free to use this on its own to create a more minimalistic look, or as a base for further decorating!
Add Some Colour
If white isn't for you or you are feeling more experimental but still want to create a sense of more space, you have the choice of adding color, too! Soft tones and pastels work great in a room that is lacking in square footage and is a great alternative if you feel white is too boring. These keep the room fresh and breathable while also lively and interesting.
It's great to add some features to the walls if you want to inject some of your style and personality into the room. Things such as a feature wall with patterned wallpaper, or a paint of a darker hue allow you to keep the room feeling spacious but more vibrant with that hint of creativity. These can work in combination with the lighter colors on the other walls and work as a great contrast to keep the interest in multiple areas of the room.
A constant mention on our blogs for a reason as mirrors really are a great friend when it comes to design - especially in smaller spaces! You could have an entire wall of mirrors or even just a beautiful or modern designed piece up against the wall and with that, you have immediately changed the entire dynamic. Mirrors bounce light around the room and create the illusion of space - something that's always a bonus!
Even in smaller spaces, you can get creative with layout design. You may be limited in space but not limited by what you can add or do with it.
If a feature wall isn't your thing then don't be afraid to add a little bit of personality elsewhere in the room! A great way to do this and also have the added bonus of making the room cozier is a rug. They come in all shapes and sizes and can even be specifically made to fit awkward-shaped rooms. If you are going for a more sleek white vibe on the walls, why not add a little depth with a patterned rug or even a block color.
Maybe you fancy yourself an artist or maybe you just want to show off a recent purchase, or maybe you just want something other than a white wall - art is the way to go! A few nails - or non-intrusive methods if you´re safeguarding that deposit, are easy enough to install. Hang the art piece and watch it be the focal point of the room instantly.
Wall Space Options
What to do with wall space can leave anyone with a dilemma but there are lots of options. If art is not your go-to, then how about a more personal touch by framing and hanging personal pictures throughout the room - this creates a sense of home and allows you to avoid bare walls. If all else fails, the television is here to save the day. Hang a flat screen on the wall and turn the room into both a cozy living area and a room for entertaining.
If you are done with the wall space, why not utilize the often overlooked vertical space. A set of floor-to-ceiling curtains can add warmth to the room while also allowing you to be creative in curtain design. Another idea is to forget about basic lighting fixtures and go all out. You could install a beautiful vintage chandelier that is not only a talking point but is practical and functional.
Sometimes moving into a new build can leave you wondering what to do with the place, but we have provided many ideas on how to cope with a blank slate. Now imagine remaking a classic build with original features - own those and work with them to create a thing of beauty.
Exposed brick or faux brick has become more and more popular over the years, so if you have the option to keep your building foundation exposed in a beautiful way, use it! Not only is this an interesting aspect of any room but it saves on decoration and allows you to use this as your feature point in your room.
An addition people would kill for sometimes happens to be something that cant be removed. An original fireplace in any build allows for you to design your room around it. Whether it is functional or not, the addition of a fireplace adds a nice rustic feel to a room which helps in the overall sense the “living” in the living room. Expand on this and design your room around it!
A lot of homes these days - especially apartments, find themselves using one space for multiple reasons. Why not take advantage of this and use your given space for both functional and stylish reasons. Use a small table and chairs to serve as both a chill space and dining area - a foldable table works great here as it gives you the ability to work from that space, eat from that space, and should the occasion call for it, entertain dinner guests
Light is an extremely important element in smaller spaces as it sets the mood as well as stopping the room from feeling dingy and claustrophobic. There are two main types of lighting: natural and artificial, both can be used individually and together to bring light into any small area.
Natural lighting is great at showing off paintwork or wallpaper. Doorways pour in natural light and can be manipulated through curtains and shades to create any desired effect. Living areas tend to need a softer touch so this manipulation works great in creating a calming ambiance in the room. Mirrors are a great way to bounce natural light around a room, especially if the room is awkwardly shaped!
If the natural lighting isn't reliable enough or efficient, artificial lighting can come into play and actually works better in certain aspects. Accent lighting can be utilized to draw attention to a key point of your living room, such as artwork or sculptures. While task lighting works exactly as it says, aiding in the completion of tasks. Whilst being functional, lighting is important in the creation of ambiance and atmosphere. Used correctly it enhances all of the design fundamentals and feels of the overall space.
Keep it Cosy
A lot of the time the aim when designing a small room is to create a feeling of more space but why not go the opposite route and play upon the small features to create the ultimate cozy living space. Here are some tips!
A lot of homes these days are opting to go the carpet-less route - we get it, wooden or tiled floors are a lot more practical when it comes to cleaning, but don't discredit carpets! Instead of a cold, hard floor, imagine running your toes through a nice, soft carpet. As they come in a variety of patterns and colors you are sure to find one that both matches the vibe of the room but also has your own personal touch on it.
The Ultimate Sofa
While in smaller rooms it is usually important to be very thoughtful when choosing furniture as you want it to be both practical but also fit the room. While this is true if you are creating the ultimate cozy living area you need the ultimate sofa! Whether you´re a fan of leather or a fan of fabric, sofas are a great way to add a pop of color to the room, if you have gone down the softer colored direction. Sofas can be slim, bulky, and even be custom-made to fit weirdly shaped rooms.
If hanging art is not your thing or you don't fancy yourself a decorator you can still utilize that valuable wall space in a number of ways. Whether or not you like paints and patterns, you can use that wall for how you see fit. Add some fabric to it - build up from the floor and add a flowing fabric on the wall that not only keeps the rooms lively but keeps it cozy.
Furniture to Fit
You may have a room that you think will do, but don't forget that your living room has to cover all the bases. It has to be usable, functional and after all that, stylish. Here are some ways you can achieve that!
Storage and Space
When it comes to storage ideas, we've got you covered. Throughout our blog, we have provided numerous ways in which you can maximize not only floor space, but the wall and vertical space with storage. Avoid bulky sofas but don't compromise on comfort and install a thinner sofa. Avoid bookcases and desks and build up! Use that wall and vertical space and create your own space from the ground up.
Extend Your Space
When it comes to furniture in small spaces, you can achieve both style and purpose by choosing the correct piece or pieces. Choose furniture that is functional and won't minimize your space. Use an acrylic trunk that doubles as a coffee table. This is both fashionable and eye-catching and a great addition to a living space - which both works aesthetically and is practical. A puff with built-in storage would not only provide space when needed but doubles as extra seating should the occasion call for it.
In a narrow space, you may think you are limited with what you can do but there are ways you can solve every problem! If a custom sofa is out of your budget, then go for a separate piece. This way you can control the size and dimensions of each piece and make sure that they are the right fit for you.
Don't be limited by the size or the shape of the sofa when it comes to comfort, you are in control when it comes to additions. Whether you get a sofa to fill the room or a few armchairs for a seating area, it's how you use them that counts. Remember the odd number pillow rule to pile on the comfort points and you have both a functional and comfortable space.
Room for Guests
Have a living room but no benefits of a spare room? We have you covered. Not everyone has the luxury of a guest room and that's where a sofa bed comes in. Sofa beds are becoming more popular for those that not only want to install a stylish sofa in their living space but also take advantage of it being a functional space for guests. There are many great options that give you the benefit of having your everyday seating area, but also give you the option of having friends or family stay over - if space allows it!
When it comes to decorating your living area, it's easy to want that bookshelf or that tv cabinet or even that coffee table you have had your eyes on, but it's not always practical. You can compromise and find ways of getting what you want and also keeping the space free in your room. Swap the bookcase out for shelves and, change the cabinet to one mounted on the wall and when it comes to a coffee table, find one that can be utilized as both a coffee table and extra storage or seating - an additional puff works well for this.
Although your living room may leave space to be desired, that doesn't mean you can't open it up and breathe some air and freshness into it with the aid of some plants and nature. Let us show you how you can use this to open up your room.
Bring outside inside
Enjoy some nature in your home. If your living space is small you may not think that plants are for you, but…you´re wrong. Even small (and low maintenance) plants can make all the difference. Give up a small corner and you could find yourself not only benefiting from the beauty but reaping the many health benefits that come with some indoor plants. Cacti thrive in any climate!
To minimize the usage of space, The Snake Plant is a great choice for those who want to add a bit of life into a room. With it being tall and narrow, as well as very low maintenance, it comes with the added benefit of being an air purifier – essentially breathing in what we breathe out, win-win! Couple this with smaller potted plants of varying heights and you have your very own little patch of nature at home.
Small living areas may be daunting and at first hard to deal with, but if you keep in mind certain rules you are sure to find and create the perfect space that works for you. Every aspect has to work together; function, practically, and style need to come together to create the perfect mix.
In previous posts, we have talked about the fundamental basics of design and it is important to keep these in mind when designing any space, especially a living area. With this guide, we can not only help you remember these fundamentals but guide you in maximizing both the space of your small living room but maximizing the potential for style.
How do you style a small living room?
First, you need to consider the form. If space allows it, the options are endless. Start with a base and work your way from there! White may be seen as “boring” but starting from blank can give you a better idea of what you are working with. Don't be afraid to go bold though! The room is what you make it.
How can I make my room look modern?
Modernity can come in many forms, be it minimalism or with the most up-to-date gadgets. If you are working with a small space and want a more “modern” look then go for more sleek and streamlined vibes. Crisp colors against modern sculptures, bright lighting accentuating your art piece, or even just a sleek sofa, strategically placed.
How do you make a small room look bigger?
You can't physically make something bigger but you can provoke the illusion. As mentioned in this post and many others, there are numerous “hacks” that can be utilized to make any space appear bigger. Whites on the wall create more space as well as soft shades. Mirrors work great with bouncing light around when a room is colored in softer colors. Lighting trumps all when it comes to illusions as you can utilize both natural and artificial to create brightness and add life and space to a room.