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Living Room Ideas: 5 Ways to Make the Most of a Petite Space

Ensure every centimetre of your small living room caters to your style and way of life with this space-savvy advice.

While the hard-working aspect of our living rooms may not be as obvious as the kitchen or the bathroom, they have to be incredibly versatile spaces. A living space has to handle gatherings with family and friends for conversation and good times, but also be capable of welcoming moments of solitude while also allowing an escape cosying up on the sofa getting lost in a good film, TV show or a great book.

The living room is a key space to making your home really feel like home, and while a smaller space may present challenges, the cosy proportions may in fact work in your style favour. Read on to find out how you can make the most of a small living room.

Small Living Room Idea: Play up the Intimate Proportions with Personal Touches

And while the petite proportions of a living area are normally not ideal, a small living room is already an inviting, intimate space. Play up this welcoming feel by introducing accessories and layers of cosy texture such as bouclé, which is all the rage at the moment – consider the Atelier sofa from Coco Republic and the Big Boucle cushion from Hommey (we love it in this forest-green Heritage tone). Showcase personal displays of keepsakes and favourite objet d’art, as well as personality-packed art – Greenhouse Interiors and Jumbled always have a striking range to choose from.     

Small Living Room Idea: Utilise a Neutral Tonal Palette (But Don’t be Afraid of a Vibrant Hue)

Going with a neutral colour palette will help increase a sense of space in your living room. The lighter, pale whites, greys and straw tones on the walls and floors will bounce any light through the living room for an airy feel. You can use these shades across your living room’s furniture and accessories, too, but welcome pops of colour will bring depth, interest and contrast – try using bold tones in accessories, artworks or, if you’re keen to keep the nature-inspired look going, bring in colour through indoor plants. For some perfectly proportioned small living room inspo, look to boutique accommodation Three Rooms Sydney for three brilliant takes.

Small Living Room Idea: Turn Your Floor into Another Space for Style Expression

Very often a small living room will sit within an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. So an easy way to define your living zone from the rest of the area is positioning a statement floorcovering just underneath your sofa and coffee table set-up. For plenty of ideas on where to begin your rug hunt, check out our online shopping guide for choosing a rug to find the perfect style match to suit your living space. We're in love with the Bobbie PEach and Ivory Textured Tribal Rug from Miss Amara.

Aero Single Bed, Temple & Webster
Aero Single Bed, Temple & Webster
Small Living Room Idea: Get Your Three Key Big-ticket Items in the Right Dimensions

Making up the must-have trio of a living room are the sofa, coffee table and sideboard or storage solution. Nailing your choice of these three elements from both a style and practical point of view will go a long way to making sure your living room is the stylish, inviting and versatile space you want. Before you get to the fun stuff, ensure you know the dimensions of your living space – go back to these measurements while you do your living room shopping as it’ll inform what actually fits and works together in the space.

Pay attention to the lines and shapes of pieces, too – clean lines and curves are easier on the eye and can visually enhance a sense of space. And to increase the functionality of your living space, look to pieces that work double-time: a sofa bed (try Koala, King and Temple & Webster for some contemporary options), an ottoman as a coffee table (West Elm has a smart variety) or a complete wall storage system that offers enough space to fit in the TV, as well ample zones for personal style vignettes (try the space-savvy choices at Ikea or Freedom).

Small Living Room Idea: Draw the Eye Upwards

Creating a sense of space is key to making a small living room feel comfortable and not closed in. Low-lying furniture choices will help visually increase the ceiling height while floating wall shelves or storage units bring items off the floor and create a lighter feel bringing details off the floor. Another way to draw the eye up is to hang artworks or photographs up on the wall for an extra personal, characterful touch – more on this particular point later. 

A small living room doesn’t mean that the opportunity to make an inviting and stylish impact is lost. In fact, working within these smaller dimensions presents a great chance to create a living space that is truly reflective of a homeowner’s style and lifestyle. To up the style ante in this important space, check out our guide to choosing art as well as the must-have indoor plants.