The Bulletin

Small Rooms that Live Large

Whether you are into minimalism or prefer being surrounded by your possessions, you can feel at home and uncrowded in your small living room by following a few design tips that make your room feel larger.

Banish Clutter
This is a perfect look for a small living room—clean, uncluttered with neutral colors and minimal furnishings. It’s elegant and understated without appearing boring, and it leaves room for personal touches.

Small Sofa Not Required
Just because you have a small living room doesn’t mean that you can’t have a large sofa. Choosing a sofa with clean, simple lines in a light color and keeping other furnishings at a minimum are the keys to making a large sofa work in a small space.

Maximize Your Storage
In small living rooms, storage space is usually minimal or nonexistent. Make the most of your small living room by incorporating floor-to-ceiling wall storage, and adding coffee tables, end tables and ottomans that double as storage space.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color
It is possible to incorporate big color into your small living room, if you know how to use it. Stick to a maximum of two or three colors within the entire room, or choose one bold color to be your feature color. In this studio apartment, the furnishings and flooring incorporate clean lines and neutral colors to keep the bright orange walls from becoming too overwhelming.

Break Free From the Basics
In a small living room, it’s tempting to push furnishings against the wall, but this can sometimes make your space appear more cramped. Try pulling the furniture away from the wall and adding a narrow table, shelf or storage behind the sofa. Glass tables work well in small rooms and give the illusion of more space.

Go Formal to Gain Elegance
Just because you have a small living room doesn’t mean that it can’t be formal. Armless loveseats, which work wonders in small spaces and a classic color scheme impart elegance and beauty.

Use Tall Shelving
Whether you add built-ins or use moveable shelving, go as high as you can. Tall shelves give the impression of added height and a sense of airiness.

Add a Light-Colored Area Rug
Use a light-colored area rug to make your living room look larger and brighter, especially when the flooring is dark wood or dark carpet.  Don’t go too small, though. Rugs that reach beyond the edges of the furniture make a room look larger.

Use Mirrors to Create the Illusion of Space
Mirror, mirror on the wall … makes your living room look not small. Reflective surfaces and particularly mirrors expand the visual space in any room. Whether you hang one large mirror or several smaller ones, they open up the room and make it appear larger.

Use Furniture With Legs
As funny as it sounds, furniture with exposed legs has a lighter feel than furniture without visible legs. The eye can see through to the flooring beneath the furniture, which increases the perception of space.

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