15 Small Living Room Ideas: Create the Illusion of Space


Discover more storage and entertaining space with these small living room ideas. Use these smart tips to make your room appear larger than it actually is.

When you only have so much room to spare, you need to make every single square foot work for you, not against you. Arranging furniture so the room feels spacious is a dance interior designers know too well. These 15 small living room ideas will help make your living room feel bigger.

15 ideas to make your small living room feel bigger.

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Discover More Space with 15 small living room ideas

Let’s look at 15 small living room ideas that will transform your space from cramped to roomy. Some of these ideas will make you feel like you have a whole new living room.

1.) Use Light Colors

The first trick used by interior designers to make a small room look bigger is to decorate with bright and light colors.

Just look at the before and after in the photo bellow. At first the medium shades of tan make it look cramped and small. But with some white paint and white decor, the room looks even larger!

Even House Beautiful shared about this phenomenon. They said that white reflects the light, so if there are windows in your living room, this is an even better idea.

White reflects the light and makes the walls recede, so a small space seems larger. 

House Beautiful

If you aren’t a fan of super white walls or the Scandinavian decor themes, you can always use a colorful accent wall for a splash of color.

15 cozy living room ideas to steal.

2.) Use Small Legs on Furniture

Another hack that will make your room look like it has ample space, is to use furniture with thin legs. These are called “mid-century modern” pieces. Lots of them will remind you of pieces used in the 1950s-1960s.

The hairpin legs create a feeling of airiness and openness. Being able to see through the bottom of the chairs or tables makes the room feel less crowded.

The photo below is a wonderful example. There are two tables in front of the couch, but it doesn’t feel like there are too many pieces of furniture.

3.) Use Rugs in A Smart Way

In addition to which furniture you buy, use rugs correctly in your room. Rugs can open up a room and make it feel cozy and perfectly arranged.

The photo below shows a perfectly-sized rug in a narrow living room. The designs and angles point to the longest side of the room. The bold black and white print provide downward elevation – meaning it grounds the room and prevents the furniture from feeling disconnected.

What size of rug is best? It depends on the room and use of the rug. In the picture above, the rug is so bold that making it small enough to fit just under the coffee table is a smart choice.

However, if you choose a more muted rug, you will want to choose a size that fits underneath all the furniture.

Kylie M. Interiors stated it best: “The length of your area rug should be centered on your longest piece of furniture. ” She goes on to say that when it comes to the size of the rug, more people make the mistake of using too small a rug than too large.

4.) Don’t Overstuff with Furniture

Everyone wants a comfy sectional that the entire family can pile onto. But unfortunately, sectionals can crowd a room and actually make it feel smaller.

When it comes to furniture, less is more.

Take this photo, for example:

The cream ottoman/bench provides seating to additional guests without cutting out the view of the room.

When you are furniture shopping, look for modern pieces. These won’t have all the extra thick pillows or be something you can sleep on. But it will open up your living room with more light and space.

If you want to add comfort without buying stuffy furniture, bring out pillows and blankets. They will add texture and colors as well.

How to make a small living room look bigger.

5.) Mirrors Make it Feel Roomier

The next trick is used by home decorators everywhere. Adding a few well-placed mirrors will reflect light and create the illusion of space in small rooms.

According to Sonoma Magazine, there are a few ways mirrors work to create more space: they draw the eyes either upwards (making the room feel taller) or adding depth.

Using multiple mirrors (like in the picture below) reflects light in all directions, creating a brighter space.

Another thing the photo below does is it uses mirrors near a light source. When the light is turned on, it will reflect in the mirrors and cast light all around the room.

6.) Create Conversation Spaces

You will need to decide the purpose of your living room. Is this the main area in which you will entertain guests? Is it where you family watches television together? Or is it a place that is more formal, where guests mingle before going to other areas like the kitchen?

If you use your living room for guests or relaxing with family, arrange your furniture so it encourages conversation. Face the loveseat and couch towards each other. Only add a coffee table in the middle if you have space around it to walk.

This photo perfectly illustrates how to arrange furniture.

7.) Decorate With Round Shapes

The next decorating tip uses shapes to trick the eyes. Using round shapes in the room – whether in the side tables, pillows, or on the wall decor – actually makes a room feel larger.

In the beautifully decorated room below, the designer was able to use multiple pieces of furniture because they are all round.

As you pick out furniture, keep it simple and scaled-down. Leave plenty of room to walk and use empty space around your furniture to your advantage.

8.) Mix and Match Textures

Use a variety of textures in your room to create depth. A very popular way to mix textures is to bring decor from outdoors in.

This photo shows a variety of all-natural textures all at play. It has the branch on the wall, fuzzy pillows, and a crocheted foot stool.

When you begin adding different fabrics and plants to your room, be careful to stay with colors that compliment each other. If you haphazardly add prints and fabrics together, you can actually overwhelm the senses and create an uncomfortable area.

Creative storage solutions for small living rooms.

9.) Use Hidden Storage

Additionally, purchase furniture that has hidden storage. There are so many stylish options that can double the storage size of your room.

Some common things that can add storage are:

The photo below has an ottoman with hidden storage. It matches the couch perfectly.

10.) Use Colors for a Focal Point

Design your room with one central focal point and use colors to maximize it.

What is a focal point and how do you find it? The Spruce has some excellent tips. Within their 10 steps and 3 tips, they said a focal point is most often the largest architectural piece of furniture.

Making the largest sofa the focal point is easy. Look at the example below. They chose a bold blue color and pulled that color out in the painting.

11.) Use Clear Chairs

Another hack interior designers use – decorating with clear chairs. It adds additional seating without making the room feel stuffy.

The fact that you can see through the chairs keeps the room feeling open. Look at the Instagram pic below. She was able to combine an eating area with a sitting room all with glass and see-through furniture.

12.) Make it Cozy with Pillows

You don’t have to give up super comfy furniture in smaller rooms. Add pillows – lots and lots of pillows – for soft luxury.

The best thing about pillows is that they can bring out pops of color and add to the complimentary design of the room.

In the photo below, the pillows have different patterns but all fit the overall scheme of the room – a natural pallet.

A very popular way to create a focal wall is to use prints to make a gallery wall.

Either use prints and artwork, family photos, or a combination. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to create a gallery wall. Mix and match sizes, shapes, and even types of decor.

An empty wall makes a room feel stark and impersonal. Create a warm, inviting room with a collection that represents you and your family.

This gallery wall is a perfect example. It’s especially beautiful how she paired the gallery wall with a mini side table and flowers.

Still not feeling confident about doing a gallery wall? Momtastic has some tips that will help. The best one – create a mock-up on the wall before you hammer any nails.

14.) Omit the Coffee Table

Don’t be afraid to create a living room without a coffee table. If the room is too small, you can gain extra walking areas by doing just that.

The only downside is guests won’t have a place for drinks or food. So perhaps consider at least adding a few side tables.

15.) Use ComplEmentary Colors

Finally, decorate your room with complementary colors to help it stand out.

Complementary colors are colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. So when you use blue, add some orange. This adds vibrancy without the colors clashing.

Look at all the shades in this room and how it makes it feel airy and open. The pinkish purple and yellow are perfect together.

If you are still unsure about how to pick out complementary colors, this article from Thought Company is really helpful.

How to Arrange Furniture in a Small Living Room

What is the best way to arrange furniture in a small living room?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It all depends on the size of your room and the size and shape of your furniture.

How to organize your small living room.

Before buying new furniture or going through the effort to move things around, create a sketch of your room. Either sketch it out on graph paper or use a free software like Plan Your Room.

Plan Your Room is amazing. You just choose your room size, then start placing furniture in it – all on your computer. You can see what will fit and how it fits the best. With just a few clicks you can create a ton of different layouts of your room and choose the one that looks best.

As you are designing your room, keep the furniture so it encourages conversation. Here are some popular layouts in living rooms:

  • Two loveseats facing each other
  • One sectional, facing the television
  • One couch with two small tables and two chairs facing the couch
  • Loveseat sitting diagonally in a corner with two chairs flush against the wall
  • One full-sized couch facing the wall with the television and a chair on each side of the TV.

This video shows you 4 popular ways to arrange furniture in your living room. It’s actually pretty entertaining to watch the same room get rearranged 4 times.

Creative Storage Solutions

Ultimately, when you have a really tiny space, you are going to want to explore different small living room ideas and find places to store things. The living room will feel more open and not as squished when you keep things minimal.

But let’s be real. Sometimes there just aren’t any other places to keep stuff.

This facinating video shows you some very minimal ways to store things like papers, the remotes, and even toys.

Small living Rooms Can Be Usable

Do you have some ideas now about how to design, decorate, and arrange a small living room? Maintain a minimal lifestyle, it will help you enjoy your room more without too much stuff taking over.

Use colors, furniture, and textures to your advantage. There are so many things you can do to trick the eyes into thinking a room is larger than it is.

Struggling to get motivated? Sign up to get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!

More Living Room Organization Ideas

Want more living room inspiration? These articles will help you create and maintain a tidy and organized room that you’ll love.


  1. My living room could definitely do with some illusion of space. The tips that would work best for my space are including hidden storage, proper use of rugs, and round furniture. These are the ones that I will implement. Thank you

  2. The color really makes a big difference. The lighter color we chose for our walls has really brightened up and enlarged our small space. Another thing we do that actually helps make the space feel bigger and more fresh is regular cleaning including professional furniture cleaning. I would highly recommend an annual cleaning from a reputable service to make your space feel larger and more personalized. Thanks for your tips!

  3. These small living room ideas are practical and stylish. Maximizing space with multifunctional furniture and smart storage is a game-changer. The cozy ambiance makes it a perfect spot for relaxation.

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