While it may seem daunting to fill a large living room with furniture, it can be an even greater challenge to make a small living room look comfortable without feeling cluttered.
This is particularly true if you’re a renter. You may have bought the perfect furniture for your last apartment but fitting it in your new one has proven virtually impossible.
Nothing seems to look right, often because the room’s dimensions are drastically different from the last apartment.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make a small living room more homey and comfortable.
If your room isn’t carpeted, you’re already a step ahead. While wall-to-wall carpeting can make a home look warmer, it can also give it a cramped feeling.
The eye can easily be fooled. Where carpeting can make a room look small, tile can make us think a room is larger than it really is.
If you’re stuck with carpeting, not to worry. Leaving as much space as possible between furnishings can help the room look bigger than it really is.
That said, it may mean that you will have to pare back on the amount of furniture you place in the living room.
If you’ve been a lifelong renter then chances are good that you already have a sofa or other furniture that is scaled to apartment living. If you’re moving from a home into an apartment, however, you may have to replace your sofa with a smaller one.
Even if your sofa looked small in your home, it can look huge in an apartment, especially in a small living room. The same is true of occasional chairs. You may want to get rid of the large, overstuffed chairs, the recliner or the wingbacks and go with chairs that aren’t as visually heavy.
You want to increase the space between the chairs or between the chairs and loveseat to make the room appear larger than it is. If everything is scaled incorrectly, the room will look cramped and uninviting.
Another nifty trick can be done with fabrics. Furniture and drapes with vertical striping or patterns can make the room look bigger and taller.
This is perfect for small living rooms that have low ceilings. If you want to spread a room along its width, go with horizontal patterns.
If your living room is not only small but narrow, you will want to get rid of a coffee table and use end tables instead. A coffee table can really suck up space in a narrow room and it’s far better to have a wide walkway than a little extra table space at the expense of a feeling of spaciousness.
If you want to open up the room, consider using a mirror. Placed on the right wall, it can make your small living room appear much larger than it is.
It can also bring in more light, turning a dark and dull living room into a bright, lively space. Maximize the light by placing the mirror on the wall opposite a window.
As you know, space can be at a premium in a smaller apartment or condo. To get more space, go vertical, not horizontal.
Get tall cabinets and bookcases and save the wide ones for bigger rooms or rooms with fewer furnishing needs, such as a guestroom. The vertical lines will help increase the perceived size of the room.
Get as much as you can off the floor. This includes entertainment center gadgets, CD racks, book cases and storage furniture.
If possible, get furniture that has legs to increase the impression that there is amble floor space. Wall mounted shelves will give you plenty of storage without eating up precious floor space.
Even a small window in the living room can help make the room look larger, if it’s left unencumbered. If there are drapes or curtains, get rid of them if possible.
Use a shade instead so you can shut out the light when you want to. Also, resist the temptation to place knickknacks on the window sills and don’t add sun catchers or anything else to the glass. Let as much light shine in as possible by keeping the windows free of clutter.
With these simple tips, you should be able to decorate a small living room with minimal fuss.