Sometimes our living rooms are... less than ideal. But that doesn't mean you have to hang your head in small space misery! Using Homepolish spaces as examples, we have some solutions that'll work in any living room, no matter the size.
The living room is arguably the center of any home. After all, it is called the LIVING room, right? It is where you do the living: entertaining guests, vegging out in front of the television, relaxing with a good read. But sometimes, especially in urban areas, we run into a little snag with our living spaces… they are just TOO SMALL.
But wait, there is hope! Before you hang your head in small space misery and simply accept your space as it is, we have some tricks to maximize your tiny living room. Read on for our solutions!
1. Light colors
Creating the optical illusion that your living room is actually GIANT begins with the foundation, aka the paint color. To make a space seem larger (and less cave-like), paint the walls in a light hue. In designer Lindsay Saccullo’s article, you can learn how to choose the right shade of white or you can opt for a neutral tone. These sorts of colors will allow more light to bounce around the room. Once you have the base color down, you can extend the concept of light colors to your upholstery choices, rugs, and other furnishings.
But wait. You might be saying… I don’t get a lot of natural sunlight into my space to begin with! If that’s the case, it’s time to swap out those standard apartment light fixtures (we’re looking at you, boob lights!). An elegant pendant can brighten any living room.
2. Optimize your layout
Often overlooked, the layout of any room makes a HUGE difference. Our designers go into spaces all the time only to find that a simple furniture rearrangement can make a world of difference. Don’t be afraid to play around with your furnishings until you find the right one that works with the architecture of the room as well as the flow of movement. And keep in mind… you don’t have all the space in the world. As with designer NYC apartment above, you might have to go with the smaller coffee table or a loveseat (instead of a full sofa). Don’t try to squeeze in too much, lest the space starts to look crowded.‘s work in the
3. Find designated areas for different functions
And speaking of the optimal layout, try to set aside different areas of the living room by function. Living rooms in apartments can often serve not only as the entertainment center but also the dining room AND the office. In the New York apartment by Homepolish’s , she smartly used the building’s architecture to set aside both a dinette nook and a small desk with bench seating. Look at your space and try to imagine how you can divide it up, without losing any sense of openness.
4. Double-use furniture is key
Since you can only fit so much furniture, it is useful for some of your pieces to double up on purpose. Your coffee table or media console can double as storage. An ottoman can serve as extra seating when you have guests. And of course, there’s the classic sofa doubling as a guest bed in a pinch.
5. Show off some height
It’s time to have some fun on your walls. Creating a unique wall story that reflects your personal history and tastes brings eyes up and gives the entire room much-needed height. At Homepolish, we love a good wall gallery, but that isn’t your only option. Art shelving, hanging plants, live plant walls, geometric sconces, and mirrors are all good choices to give your space more dimension. Pro tip: hanging curtains at a higher placement will create the illusion that your space is higher than it really is.
6. And don’t forget storage!
It nearly goes without saying that storage is of utmost importance to a small living room space. Keeping everything in its place and tidy will keep the whole place looking organized and polished. Sometimes you’ll have to get creative. You might not have the space for a full-on entertainment unit, but perhaps you can fit shelving boxes on the walls (as above)? If you can afford it, have a custom piece built out that will fit perfectly to your space.
Need some more professional advice? Check out Homepolish designer Ariel Okin’s shoppable guide for small space living.