Decorating a small living room

Decorating a small living room is probably more challenging than decorating a large room.

You have far fewer choices in terms of furniture size and quantity. But this doesn’t mean you have to ‘make do’ and simply squeeze in existing items. By making your decisions in logical steps you’ll arrive at a comfortable and tasteful solution.

One of the most useful thing you can do is to make a scale drawing of your room and plan, plan, plan! Much better to make mistakes on paper than for real. Cut out pieces of card to represent your seating and other items, and place them on your plan of the room. This way you can see immediately if your scheme is practical.

How to plan for decorating a small living room

Focal point

The first thing you should do is to establish your focal point. This is important when decorating a small living room. If you have some sort of fireplace, that will usually be your focal point. This will then determine how you arrange your furniture and other items.

An important question is - will you have a TV in the room? The arrival of flat screen TV’s is a huge advantage for any small room. By fixing your flat screen TV to one of the walls you can have a decent sized one and not take up very much room space. Your TV can easily become a focal point as well, so take care when placing it.


The general rule applies here - lighter colors will ‘open out’ the room. So when decorating a small living room select lighter tones to give your room a more spacious look. You can always add more vibrant colors in carpets, rugs, pictures, or on chair covers throw cushions and drapes.


small living room seating

Even in a small room you can achieve an attractive and practical result. This room uses tones and shades from the same color palette which gives continuity to the scheme. By carefully selecting furniture which is stylish but doesn't take up too much room you could comfortably seat four people.

Instead of a standard coffee table with four straight legs, the curves of the one shown here and the way they make the top suface appear to 'float' all help to give an impression of space.



This is probably the most important part, so think carefully about it. How many people will need to be seated at any one time? There’s no point putting in seating for six when normally only three of you will use the room. If you have visitors you can always add chairs from other rooms as necessary.

Avoid sofas and chairs with large, thick scroll arms as these take up a great deal of room. Furniture with deep backs and back cushions will need more space, so keep your seating as compact as possible. This doesn’t mean it needs to be hard and uncomfortable.

If you have a TV then make sure your seating is placed appropriately. You don’t want to have to twist your neck to view your favorite program!

If you have a free corner, then consider using corner seating units.


Storage is an important part when decorating a small living room. Generally the less storage space the better, because storage units use up precious space. But you’ll need some, so use units which are not too deep and so don’t project too far into the room.


It may sound a stupid thing to say, but even when decorating a small living room you need to think about the space you leave free. If you fill the room with furniture and odds and ends, it will look cramped. By leaving some free space - even at the cost of a chair or two - you’ll give your room a restful appearance.


Decorating a small living room takes as much care and thought as decorating a large one, but it’s not difficult to achieve a practical and pleasant solution.



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