7 Small Living Room Ideas from Interior Designers

September 14, 2021

Many of us have dwelled in small spaces. Whether it’s a dorm room, shared apartment, or your very first property, there are those periods in life when we need the professionals to advise us on small living room ideas.

Fitting your whole life into one small living space is tough, but it isn’t impossible. So we’ve rounded up some expert hacks from notable Interior Designers to help you find the best home decor for your small space.

From functional furniture to playing with scale, these tips are smart solutions to the common trials some of us experience. 

Related articles:

7 small space living ideas

Focus, add, layer

These may sound a little confusing at first but give us a minute here while we explain why Luxury Interior Designer Lindye Galloway recommends this 5-step process for small living room ideas.

Credit: Lindye Galloway
  1. You start with a key piece in the room—say, the couch in the living room or the bed in your bedroom. And then you build from there. Let that key piece be the focal point of the space, so the rest of the pieces you add will complement it. 

Before you buy a new couch, have a good look at your living space. Is there enough for a standard couch or would a loveseat fit better? Some small rooms might feel cramped with standard sized furniture. 

2. Next you begin adding complementary decor to the couch, like a rug. We can’t stress the need for rugs enough. They elevate a space, add texture and liven it up. Choose a rug that’s in a similar hue to your couch.

For instance, if you have a beige couch, you might opt for a patterned rug, and one of the secondary colours of the rug can match the beige of your couch. 

Expert tip—opt for a rug that’s bigger than your couch. That’ll open up the space and make it look bigger. Also, since there will be a lot of “footfall” in that area, the more durable the rug, the better. 

3. Now we start to layer on with a side table or coffee table. Since you’re limited in space, avoid chunky designs. Even better if there are two levels to the table so you have twice the amount of stacking space. 

4. More layering! And this round, pay close attention to levels. A living room looks flat and boxy if all the furniture is on one level, and even more so a small living room. Work your green thumb and bring in a few plants. Some can stand by your couch, others can go on the tables. 

5. Finally, it’s time to decorate with accessories. The interiors will feel more complete with items like pillows, coffee table books/magazines and throws. You can use your imagination here! Create a cohesive colour palette and start adding. 

Use functional furniture

small bedroom storage

We love how simple and how smart this tip is from Mark Cutler at Cutler Shultze. When decorating your home, it’s easy to get carried away with beautiful shots on Pinterest. But we can also easily forget about storage! Mark advises to “look for dual purpose furniture every time”.

An ottoman can be an additional seat, a footrest as well as a storage unit if it can be opened up! Your bed frame can have a hydraulic system that lifts the mattress to give you an empty space below.

Or you can invest in a bed that simply has drawers and shelving for your things. “Making as many pieces as possible do double duty will really help to keep the clutter to a minimum”, says Mark. 

Hang your curtains high

long curtain over window

If you one of your small living room ideas is adding curtains, here’s a trick—hang the drapery rod close to the ceiling. It makes your ceilings appear higher and the room bigger!

You’ll want to hang them around 5 centimetres from the top. And while you’re at it, adding about 10 centimetres to the width will broaden the size of your windows. 

And if your curtains hit the floor, no matter! It can actually create the illusion of a bigger space. Just make sure your curtains are translucent so some light is let in. 

Add mirrors

different types mirrors on wall

Some of you may already know this but mirrors are highly regarded in interior decor for bringing light and space into a room. Whether it’s a small mirror or an oversized one, they seem to expand the visual room instantly. 

Opt for a full length mirror against the wall or above the furniture. It will capture light and increase the depth and dimension. 

Choose light colours

While we would never discourage using colour, you might need to think twice when it comes to small living room ideas.

According to Mark Cutler, choosing light, neutral colours “allows the eye to wander freely and create the illusion that the room is bigger and more spacious”. 

A bold accent wall, while trendy, can make an area feel choppy and perfunctory. Instead, create flow. Be colourful in art and with your choice of pillows and furniture. 

Play with scale and height

colourful interior design jungle

We were delightfully inspired after getting home decor tips from Interior Designer Jenny Sun. And her advice on scaling extends to small space living ideas as well. From your plants to your furniture, variety in height offers vibrancy and depth. 

When you build your living space, Mark recommends asking yourself if a few chairs might be better than a staple sofa. Or to consider a high top table with bar stools, or an extra low coffee table. 

Sometimes, it helps to show a little leg—furniture legs that is! When shopping for a couch or dining chairs, you can still add height. Look for items that aren’t low to the ground. It will breathe some air into the room. 

Use Your Walls

bedside lamp on wall

Every home will have walls and in a small space, a wall can serve many purposes. Take your table lamp, for instance. If you’re finding it tough to fit all your bedtime necessities on your nightstand, perhaps try mounting your lamp. This will save you tons of space.

Another wall hack is to build shelves. Areas like your kitchen and bathroom call for lots of storage space. So look for empty walls to add shelving. This way you’re maximising space but keeping your needs within easy reach. 

Looking for your dream home?

If you haven’t found your dream home to decorate yet, we can also help you out in that department. Browse our search page to check out some amazing listings available right now.

But don’t just stop there, download our app to get the full Soho experience. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
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