How to Decorate a Small Living Room

Two Methods:The Bigger StuffThe Smaller Stuff

You've got a new place and now you're forced to reckon with the fact that your living room is small. But don't fret! If you know how to make it work, you'll forget about your small living room and create a space that you can enjoy relaxing and entertaining in. wikiHow's here to help!

Method 1
The Bigger Stuff

  1. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 1
    Choose light colors. Lighter colors occupy less visual weight, opening up the room. Use glass and thin-legged tables so the eye can see straight through to the floor, making it virtually invisible. Avoid dark stains, woods, or colors as they have a heavy effect, constricting the room.
    • Design with a cool eye in mind, but adding bright, warmer colors as accents. In general, cooler colors recede, letting the room take center stage -- so that wood floor shouldn't be stained any darker than it already is. Keep the colors to three or less, however; if you're a texture-lover, go monochromatic.
  2. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 2
    Think in lines. It's so easy to think about the square footage of a room and completely forget that there's way more to it than that: just look up. If you can get the eye to move up from the floor, you're good to go. Get a tall, simple floor lamp or vase, full-length curtains, and hang your paintings and mirrors the tall way.
    • This goes for furniture, too. Often streamlined furniture takes up less space but offers all the beauty and comfort of a curved piece.
  3. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 3
    Scale down your furniture. If your room is small, choose furniture that matches. Go for chairs that take up less space (without arms or thinner legs), loveseats, ottomans, etc. At the end of the day, there will be more space in the room. Consider a bench as opposed to a conventional coffee table; but if a table is more you, go for a glass or lucite one.
    • However, too many small objects will make it look cluttered. Just because you have smaller objects doesn't permit you to have more of them. Think of it like dieting -- eating a dozen low-fat Popsicles isn't a good idea, even though they're low-fat. Having a dozen small shelves is furniture overkill.
  4. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 4
    Get a large print carpet. If you have a dark wood floor, this is an especially good idea. A large print carpet, ideally with lines, will open up your space, in addition to brightening it up.
    • It does not have to take up the entirety of your room. Just a large rug that accompanies the main pieces of furniture will accomplish what you're looking for.
  5. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 5
    Get multifunctional furniture. Start seeing double. An oversized ottoman in the center of the seating area can serve as a coffee table with a decorative tray added, while the piece can also double for extra seating. Or, trade a coffee table for a woven trunk with storage space inside.[1]
    • However, when choosing your tables, opt for ones that have wide open legs. Being able to "see through" the furniture makes the room seem larger to the eye.
  6. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 6
    Choose portable pieces. Select smaller, portable pieces that can be rearranged. Three small end tables grouped as a coffee table are easy to sprinkle around the room to open up traffic flow when entertaining or to clear space for children to play.[1]
    • Utilize the space beneath tables and slide pieces in and out at your leisure. A decorative basket can be seen but still used as storage and taken out when needed.

Method 2
The Smaller Stuff

  1. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 7
    Use mirrors. Mirrors can easily make a small space look larger -- we've all walked into a room that, upon first impression, was huge, but with a second glance, it was just our eyes being tricked. If you can, use a mirror that expands vertically.
    • Sometimes it's not that simple, however. Mirrors work best by reflecting light -- so make sure they're facing light itself or a light-colored wall. Check to see what gets reflected in your mirror by standing in different points of the room.
  2. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 8
    Layer your lights. To really appreciate any room, the lighting has to be right, but this goes double in a small room. All curtains should be light and airy and able to be drawn back -- after all, natural light is best.
    • To avoid the space taken up by lamps, go for wall sconces; you don't need an electrician anymore for that, either -- the new-fangled ones can be attached anywhere. If applicable, get light over pieces of artwork, too. Think in natural light (from windows), ceiling lights (preferably dimmable), sconces, and table lamps. If there are no dark corners in your room, you've succeeded.
  3. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 9
    Control clutter. There are going to be things you need in the room that you may wish you didn't, so get creative when it comes to storing them. Invest in some cute cubes, boxes, or baskets. They'll be less distracting and keep the room from feeling overwhelming.
    • Keep the knickknacks on your tables and mantle to a minimum. The less clutter in the room, the better you'll feel about being in it. Put away what you don't need and what doesn't heighten the ambience of the space.
  4. Image titled Decorate a Small Living Room Step 10
    Build in storage. If your budget allows, design some light-colored cabinets or shelving you can build into the room. Not only will this draw the eye upward, but it gives the room character and function, too. And more storage for you!
    • If you don't have the option to build in, get creative. Utilize space under pieces of furniture or put up a shelf or two. Buy an end table that can double as a bookcase and place hooks on the walls.


  • Add a couple of throw pillows to add an accent to your solid-colored couch.
  • Put a couple of plants in your living room to brighten up the feel.

Article Info

Categories: Home Decorating