While living in a six-bedroom mansion could describe many of our childhood dreams, the grown-up reality is often a much more modest one-bedroom apartment, pokey nooks and awkward corners thrown in for fun. Even so, we at CasaOne love working with small spaces. We live and love our tiny homes – and our experience has taught us how to optimize and improve even the smallest of areas. So show your living room some love with this guide on how to decorate it and emphasize its plus points.
1. Decide on Decor Direction
From ‘Shabby Chic’ to minimalistic ‘White on White’, pick a rough direction which you want your living room decor to follow and work with this theme in mind to avoid your interior design going haywire.
2. Bare Necessities
Don’t go overboard. Depending on how much square footage you have, decide on furniture by importance. Essentials: a couch to lounge on, a dining set that doubles up as a work table and a cabinet or shelves for storage. Add-ons: a coffee table, a lounge chair. Anything else? Wasn’t your living room supposed to be small?
3. Get The Sizing Right
Buy your furniture to match the scale of your room, not your furniture fantasy. A bulky sofa with overstuffed cushions may be the dream, but more modern designs like these sofas on rent are as comfortable and don’t overpower the room.
4. Embrace Quirky Corners And Odd Walls
If a trapezoid was something you last thought about in geometry class…until you met your new apartment… don’t fret. Work with your oddly-shaped living room and emphasize its uniqueness by highlighting that weird wall with a bunch of funky posters or photo frames. Or revive a quirky corner with a standout lounge chair, stool or floor lamp.
5. Fill In The Blanks
Add a bit of decor without stealing floor space by aesthetically placing plants, books or decorative items under a legged coffee table instead of on it.
6. Get Furniture With Storage
Clutter just gobbles up room space and small rooms are most easily affected. Keep your living room tidy with remotes, keys, tissues and magazines out of the way, but always on hand, when you use utility furniture with storage options. For example, this sleek coffee table is the strong and silent type and will keep all your messy secrets in its two spacious drawers.
7. Keep Things Tidy; Throw Stuff Out
We all have the propensity to collect and keep. With a small living room you need to keep a check on the number of magazines, mail and bills laying around. Clutter can really shrink your room down. Have designated places for your everyday essentials like your keys, wallet, etc., so they’re not strewn across the room.
8. Have Enough Light
Good lighting is a great way to make a room look bigger. While wall lights meet your practical needs, table and floor lamps can add extra illumination to really liven things up. These trendy lamps for rent will give you added wattage and lend an edge to your decor.
9. Keep Walls Light
As with enough light, the general consensus is that a lighter colored room looks bigger and airier. White walls allow for more leeway with your decor color palette too as you don’t have to worry about clashing furniture colors with the paint or wallpaper.
10. Add Color
Stick to a few simple rules to avoid your decor being loud and messy. Don’t use more than two or three colors in your decor palette. Have one stand-out color to tie in the theme, like a bright lounge chair (see chairs for rent here) with matching cushions on the couch. Neutral walls allow more color flexibility with furniture and vice versa.
11. Embrace Fabrics As Decor
There’s a fine line between cramped and cozy and a ton of contrasting fabrics can help blur the boundary in your favor. Rugs, throws, cushions and tapestries can lend a fluid, laid-back vibe to an area while not hogging space.
12. Add Height With Vertical Design
Use vertical design tricks to give the illusion of height. Whether you have a high or low ceiling, striped curtains or subtle wall paint or paper designed in vertical patterns can lend an impression of a higher ceiling, making the room look larger.
13. Use This Curtains Trick
To add even more height to your space, set up floor-length curtains (even if your windows aren’t full length) way above your window – at least six inches nearer to the ceiling than you would usually place them. This adds visual length as your ceiling will appear higher.
14. Use Shelving To Add Length
If you need a cupboard or shelves for storage, always go upward and not sideways. High shelves (open is better in smaller spaces) add height to a room and don’t take up too much of your precious floor space, like this six-level shelf set for rent.
15. Think About Renting Rugs
A light rug can reflect light off, making your living area look more airy and spacious. This is especially beneficial if your flooring is on the darker side. A rug can also help section out your space nicely – for example, a rug under your sofa and coffee table visually isolates it from your dining area in the same room. See great rugs on rent.
16. Add Some Green Life
A few plants can break the monotony and add a bit of zest to the tiniest of rooms. A couple of pots on the windowsill or beside the sofa is all you need to breathe a little life into your room’s decor. If you aren’t a confident gardener, succulents and cactus are a breeze to care for, super cool looking and trendy, too.
17. Don’t Skimp On Seating
There’s a difference between bulky and large. You don’t have to stick to a tiny loveseat if you really like spreading out in front of the TV every evening. Get a large sofa, your friends will thank you for it, but make sure it’s not an overstuffed giant and keep other furniture sizes in check to fit it in nicely.
18. Contrast Fabric With Metallic Accents
We’ve talked a lot about fabric already. Keeping a balance of materials and colors is key to nailing living room decor – and metallic accents are perfect to offset the softness from textiles in the room. A metallic table or floor lamp for rent, wood and metal furniture like this TV stand for rent or this steel and glass coffee table are great additions to balance the decor. A glass coffee table also doesn’t take up too much visual space and can work well for a small room.
19. Back Off From The Walls
You may think that keeping the couch flush against the wall is maximising space but try this: keep a gap between and add in some storage like a narrow set of shelves. This design trick can sometimes make your room seem less cramped while added some funky-looking storage space that works well as decor.
20. Use Mirrors
Large floor length mirrors or smaller framed mirrors can add the impression of more depth to the room with their reflections. See our fabulous mirrors for rent to open up your living room.
21. Don’t Go Too Matchy
Just like putting together a great outfit, get pieces to complement – this doesn’t mean a perfect match; more like harmony in contrast. For example, pairing a plush leatherette armchair with a comfy sofa in linen and wood is a heady mix of classic and contemporary styles that’s charmingly mismatched and inviting.
22. Get Leggy Furniture
Pick out furniture with legs, and not boxy pieces, to make your room feel less closed in. Seeing the floor under your furniture lends a lighter, more spacious look overall. Take a look at these trendy side tables for rent and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
23. Get Light Furniture
We’re all for color, but when it comes to picking furniture, choose bright or light instead of dark pieces. Dark furniture can make your space look dull and dreary.
24. Segregate Space
It may seem counterproductive, but a small room can benefit from a bit of space segregation with rugs or strategic furniture placement. You’re not dividing the room so much as creating visual cues to differentiate areas (the lounging sofa area or the dining area) which can actually make the space feel larger.
25. Accessorize To Make It Your Own
Finally, add bold or subtle accessories to your room to personalize it. Cushions, photos, curios, plants, books and artwork can all really liven up your space. Just remember not to overdo it or it’ll seem cluttered.
The perfect small living room is clean and cozy, uncluttered but not bare. A few ideas and additions can go a long way to make your space personal and inviting.