Design Tips and Hacks for a Small Living Room

Friday, August 25, 2017

If you're reading this, I'm guessing you're not exactly living in a luxury Upper East Side mansion and your most expensive furniture item is that funky ottoman you picked up from the Salvation Army shop. Am I close?

Well don't despair, even the smallest living space can be made – practically and visually bigger – using a few clever tips and tricks. And that ottoman could play its part!

When dealing with a small room, especially a well-used space like a living room, you are always going to have to balance storage and visual space. Getting that right is the key to having a pleasurable living room.

Storage, Storage Everywhere 

When it comes to storage you basically have three options. Put your stuff inside something (a cupboard, cabinet, basket, etc.); put it on top of something (a shelf, a sideboard, a window ledge, etc.) or just leave it lying around for folks to trip over. 

If you have a tall room, you will usually find a lot of vertical space that could be utilised by using shelves. Corner shelves and floating shelves are popular storage options but why stop there? From fixing wicker baskets to walls to converting stepladders into shelving units, people are finding ultra-creative solutions to a common lifestyle problem. 

As mentioned in the intro though, its best to balance storage with visual space – so don't drill into every square inch of wall and ceiling.

Think Small, Thin and Leggy 

OK, so you have probably already realised that a huge luxury modern sofa isn't going to work in your itsy bitsy living space, but furniture comes in all sorts of weird shapes and dimensions so take some measurements and then explore your neighbourhood (or the online auction sites) for suitable options. 

Popular space-savers include miniature stools, which can be tucked out of sight until friends pop over; nested tables and ultra-thin console tables. These can sit almost invisibly behind a couch but provide a useful hard surface for eating at when snack time arrives. 

Chairs, tables and sideboards on long legs are also useful for giving an overall impression of space.

Lighten Up 

Playing with light is one of the most fun parts about interior design. The strategic placement of mirrors and light sources can transform the look and feel of any space, not least your poky living room. 

One popular trick is to hang a huge mirror directly opposite a window. This gives the illusion of another window as well as the very real benefit of extra reflected light. 

Buying furniture made of light-colored woods or painted white can help a small room look bigger and even a transparent coffee table can make a big difference. 

Replacing heavy curtains with light ones – in weight and color – will create an airy and spacious ambience. 

Avoid One Trick Ponies 

By one trick ponies I mean those pieces of furniture that are restricted to one use. When space is at a premium, any chair or table that can double up as a storage unit is worth seriously considering. Some items will be so versatile they can perform three or more functions. 

Take that ottoman. By removing the upholstery and using some basic carpentry (if its not already hinged) you can turn it into a combined chair/footrest/coffee table/storage unit.

Some Extra Ideas 

You're probably itching to get to work on some serious home re-modelling but before you go, here are some more ideas to inspire you: 

  • Place plants in corners or beside bulky furniture items to create a feeling of depth 
  • A feature wall is another way of adding depth to a small, bland space 
  • Choose a rug with a small pattern. This makes your room look bigger 
  • Having friends round to stay? A compact sofa bed might be feasible in a small room
About Ronnie:
Ronnie is a home decor and DIY geek, HGTV addict, writer and blogger. He’s currently writing for Octane Seating, the industry’s number one source for quality products, competitive prices and knowledgeable service. Follow on Twitter @OctaneSeating

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