Small Living Room Ideas - Articulate

Small Living Room Ideas

Big city living means never having to stray too far for top-rated cuisine, world-class entertainment, and stunning architecture. It also means a little less square footage. We tend to notice limited space the most in our living rooms. Living rooms are the heart of our homes: it’s where we gather to celebrate birthdays, watch the big game, host our monthly book club, play board games with neighbors, and more. In other words, the living room is where we spend quality time with those we love — all the more reason to make it a functional, beautiful space. With the help of some well-chosen furniture and some clever styling, a small living room can feel cozy, minimalist, and functional — no matter what you use it for, or who comes knocking on your door. Without further ado: our small living room ideas, hot off the press.

Multi-functional pieces

Options like the Culla bench are great for when you need flex seating... but also would like an extra spot to store a few things.

Options like the Culla bench are great for when you need flex seating… but also would like an extra spot to store a few things. Looks great paired with the Seno table and Svelti chairs too 😉 .

Limited square footage means you need to make every inch of your space count, which is why one of our favorite small living room ideas is to choose pieces that do double-duty in order to maximize space and cut down on unnecessary clutter. Take the elegant Culla walnut bench for example, which can be placed beneath a bright window, providing additional seating and storage — a win win.

In true Goldilocks fashion, the not-to-big, not-to-small Bios coffee table makes a welcome addition to any pint-sized living room. Open shelving and deep wild oak drawers hide away remotes, laptops, and other easy-to-misplace items.

The Bios coffee table is low-profile but manages to sneak in some handy storage spots. An open space for remotes and magazines, and a drawer for your secret stash of M&Ms.

The Bios coffee table is low-profile but manages to sneak in some handy storage spots. An open space for remotes and magazines, and a drawer for your secret stash of M&Ms.

Compact alternative seating

If you love entertaining but don’t have the space to accommodate traditional seating for all your guests, consider using cushions, poofs, and ottomans, which can be easily stored and transformed. We love the handwoven Texa pouf in ivory, which adds a soft, natural texture to any room. And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, summon your wild side with the Bamba pouf, featuring eye-catching African mudcloth-inspired motifs.

YellowBrickHome's rescue pitbull is laying claim to his favorite spot in the house: the Texa pouf in Ivory.

YellowBrickHome‘s rescue pitbull is laying claim to his favorite spot in the house: the Texa pouf in Ivory.

When you’re indulging some well-deserved me time, use the poufs as a stool or tuck them away under some furniture. The Amoeba coffee table, made of solid American black walnut, is just tall enough to shelter a small pouf, and pairs beautifully with the natural aesthetic of both the Texa and Bamba poufs.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Remember that time you visited a house of mirrors and your reflection went on forever? This same principle can be applied to your home. Like other small living room ideas, this approach is less about decor and more about tricking the eye. Since mirrors create the illusion of depth and reflect light, a small space will appear both bigger and brighter. Consider placing a mirror near a window to reflect outside light in, like the Beau mirror with its sophisticated leather detailing. Not only is it a statement piece in and of itself, it’s over six feet tall, which helps to add height to the room.

We love how VintageRevival has utilized her Beau mirror to reflect both light and space. It's probably also great for outfit selfies.

We love how VintageRevival has utilized her Beau mirror to reflect both light and space. It’s probably also great for outfit selfies.

Place another mirror on an adjacent wall, like the Oscuro, to reflect a focal point in the room. The brushed brass-coloured finish adds a contemporary feel, while the small shelf and hooks offer additional storage without taking up floor space.

Vertical decor

Harness those 10-foot ceilings you fell in love with. Custom floor-to-ceiling bookshelves make a bold statement, but they’re not always possible, especially in a rental. Alternatively, opt for a tall, elegant unit like the Archive walnut bookshelf to display your prized novel collection as well as favorite knickknacks and heirlooms.

Lisa Fogt teaches a master class in keeping her Archive shelving unit clutter-free and personal. We especially like the cat bed.

Artist and blogger Lisa Fogt teaches a master class in keeping her Archive shelving unit clutter-free and personal. We especially like the cat bed.

Show-stopping pendant lights can also help to create height in a smaller room by drawing the eye upward. Something sleek and unique, like the Jupiter lamp, acts as a statement without overshadowing your other prized pieces. Prefer something with a more natural vibe? The Suru pendant lamp made of tiered woven rattan is a stunning example of contemporary boho chic.

Room-dividing rugs

Deliberately placed rugs can help to section off a larger space into thoughtful smaller areas. In apartments, this can be particularly helpful, since the “living room” tends to blend into other areas of the home, such as the dining area and office.

To create the illusion of a living room, choose a large rug that creates a perimeter around the large pieces of furniture in the room, leaving just a small border between it and the walls. You want this piece to act as a focal point so go with something eye-catching in either color or pattern. If you tend to lean toward neutral tones and minimal patterns, the Adria rug in either ochre yellow or rust red is the perfect choice since the fibers are bold enough to anchor the room, but won’t overpower a neutral color scheme.

Our friends over at Flax&Twine have done a great job of layering neutral colors and patterns so their Mali rug feels like a natural addition to the room.

Our friends over at Flax&Twine have done a great job of layering neutral colors and patterns so their Mali rug feels like a natural addition to the room.

If you prefer interesting patterns with a modern feel, opt for the handwoven Mali rug. It features a fun, geometric pattern reminiscent of Malian mudcloth, while its neutral color scheme makes it easy to incorporate into your space.

Cutting corners

The sofa is often the biggest piece of furniture in the living room, so it’s important that its shape and position contributes to a feeling of spaciousness. The most common configuration we see is a regular two- or three-seater sofa placed against a wall. However, this can create a corridor effect in an already small living room, making appear even narrower. On the other hand, a corner sofa placed in one of the far corners of the room will create a cozy nook for snuggling up with popcorn and a movie. Not only that, it draws the eye diagonally, which — as we all remember from high school math — will be the longest line, thus making our eye believe the room is bigger than it actually is.

The Ceni corner sectional, structured and yet plush, is a great option. Plus it seats a comfortable four adults, so you can finally invite that new cool couple from across the hall over for game night.

Simply Grove's Corner Ceni Sectional looks cozy and inviting — and big enough to seat the whole family. Spread out, snuggle up, lie down: there's room.

Simply Grove’s Corner Ceni Sectional looks cozy and inviting — and big enough to seat the whole family. Spread out, snuggle up, lie down: there’s room.

Often host friends and family from out of town? The three-seater Oneira sectional exudes class and functionality with its luxurious velvet upholstery and that sneaky chaise storage! The memory foam pullout bed means you can host overnight guests, even though you may not have a guest room. Just remember: When choosing between left or right arrangement, pick the one that will hug the corner versus jutting out into the center of the room.

Rules are for breaking

We get it in our heads that every living room has to contain the same items: a sofa, a coffee table, a television stand, a couple side tables, and one or two armchairs. When brainstorming decor ideas for your small living room, remember the golden rule of decorating: rules are arbitrary.

We love how the Ceni loveseat is petite without looking cramped! Make the most out of your small living room by pairing two together for a modern conversation pit.

We love how the Ceni loveseat is petite without looking cramped! Make the most out of your small living room by pairing two together for a modern conversation pit.

If your living room simply can’t contain a full-size sofa without feeling cramped, opt for a loveseat, such as the uber-comfortable Ceni version. If you prefer something more flexible, consider adding the Solae lounge chair and matching corner module to your space, which can be used together or apart. Not only do they take up less physical space than a sofa, they’re also easier to position and re-position, so you aren’t locked into just one arrangement.

Does a standard-sized coffee table feel huge in proportion to the surrounding elements? Tap into your rebellious side and forgo a central table altogether. Instead, focus your attention on side tables. We love the Vitri table, which features a tempered smoke-glass table top and a walnut under-shelf for added storage.

Small but mighty

Whoever said bigger is better lacked imagination. Living in a smaller home can actually equate to a bigger, more thoughtful life free of unnecessary clutter — just ask Marie Kondo.

No matter the dimensions of your home, a few simple hacks and some carefully chosen furniture can help you turn your small living room ideas into a spacious reality. After all, many mighty things come in small packages — like macarons and ginger-turmeric shots. And let’s be real — after indulging in all the donairs, ramen, and happy hours the city has to offer, we could all use a little more ginger and turmeric to power our big city-living lives.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get new content, products & promotions in your inbox.