Style is not measured in square feet. So no matter how small your space, opt for a look that’s powerhouse – not poky. We’ve rounded up some of our go-to upgrades, from graphic wall treatments and riveting patterns to big-scale furniture and bold colour. While tailored to small living rooms, they work for floor spaces of any size. Which will you steal? Check out these very small living room ideas to help you decide!
Published April 16, 2019, Updated December 28, 2021
Let the Sunshine In
You can pack a lot into any living space, and this design illustrates how seamlessly it can all come together. From its vibrant blue fireplace and different coloured couches (with plenty of throw pillows!), some of the best very small living room ideas incorporate plenty of potted plants and creative flourishes such as the wicker swing chair.
We love the greenhouse feel of this space, right down to its dark green hardwood floors. This pristine, petite living room has plenty of natural light, too, which is perfect for a variety of potted plants that add to the overall outdoorsy feel. Patterned couch pillows and kids’ art on the wall offsets the all-white look of this enchanting living room.
The soothing neutral colours of this small living room design creates a cozy, welcoming ambiance. A single tall potted plant and art pieces on the wall provide a gentle pop of colour.
While not especially small, this small living room is tricky space-wise thanks to its bank of glass doors and windows on an angled wall. An ingenious way to minimize this is to essentially ignore them. We love the way the Property Brothers placed the armchair directly in front of the door to define this end of the living room. They also decorated the wall behind the sofa to balance the space. Note how high they hung the floating shelves – this keeps the living room and its seating area the focal point. Here’s a peek at the rest of this outdoorsy living space.
Flashes of Colour
This all-white small living room design embraces flashes of colour in subtle ways, such as with the ornamental vase in the brick fireplace and patterned square ottoman. The large rustic mirror makes the room feel bigger.
This Little Light of Mine
Unique lamps and light fixtures can transform a small space into something eye-catching. The arching reach of this lamp helps the space feel larger than it actually is while also drawing guest’s eyes to the variety of potted plants on the window sill and artwork behind the couch.
Party of Four
Before we take in the inviting display on the floating shelves, let’s focus on this sofa. Like many that are vintage, it features four seat cushions. These create an elongated silhouette, which a two-seater simply could not. They also form a bit of a visual trick: if this small space can fit such a long sofa, maybe it isn’t so small. The white-on-white shelves above it are styled with vibrant artwork and match the length of the sofa to subtly reinforce the roomy effect. Here’s an inside look at this rainbow-bright home.
Between the Lines
Sometimes there’s just no way around a small space. So rather than trying to disguise it, why not celebrate it? Some small living room ideas include big, colourful stripes that pack a graphic punch that’s bold and dramatic. Funnily enough, it also creates an expansive effect (just imagine solid-coloured walls here and the look becomes claustrophobic). The furniture in complementary neutral shades is key as it shifts eyes to the walls, where the standout stripes keep them moving.
How’s this for a small living room idea? It may seem counter intuitive, but placing a large, dark piece of furniture at the end of a narrow white room actually makes the space seem bigger. Here, a vintage sofa in a look-at-me shade of green feels bold and inviting against all-white walls. Its colour and scale draw the eye away from the room’s narrow dimensions, showcasing the pretty bay window and extending the view out to the leafy street.
Form a Pattern
transform tiny to terrific in this small living room. On their own, these bold accessories in shades of emerald and turquoise would shine – combined they become a beacon of inspiration. The clever use of print and stripes on the drapes draws the eye upward and frames the view out to the street. The artwork’s bold brushstrokes continue that energy on a windowless wall, and the cushions and ottoman are visual magnets. The takeaway? Mix vibrant patterns with abandon, but make sure they share a colour palette for impact that’s cohesive, not complicated.
Who says you need a sofa in a small living room? Two sleek seats, like these textured slipper chairs, are practical options that keep the floor plan open and airy. A round area rug, coffee table, stool and pendant light further the informal mood and act as foils to the room’s square footprint. Draw inspiration from the rest of this timeless-meets-modern home designed by the Property Brothers.
Sometimes more is more, especially in small spaces. A masterful mix of furnishings and accessories – from the carpet and cushions to the angled floating shelves – infuses interest into this otherwise plain space. And while we love exposed brick, if it and the other walls were left unadorned, the small living room would feel like a tiny basement rather than a dynamic space brimming with visual interest from every angle.
Every part of this small living room is furnished which is, paradoxically, why it doesn’t look cluttered. There’s a lot going on here: a full-sized sofa, chairs flanking the fireplace, a wooden chest, artwork and more. Yet, all of these conspire to create a decorated tableau that you’d expect to find in a large home rather than in a small space like this apartment.
An oversized armchair and lamps play with scale and give this small room a spacious countenance. The light walls, window coverings and upholstery have an airy effect, and we like the way symmetry was shunned here – there is just one of everything and each item is positioned in a way that’s practical for relaxing and entertaining.
Shades of Grey
A focal wall is an easy and fun way to transform a small living room. This one works especially well as the grey paint is a lively contrast to the white floating shelves and all they display. By echoing the neutral palette of the furniture and rug, the wall complements the space while adding depth and interest.