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11 Small Living Room Ideas: Layout & Design

A small living room needn’t feel cramped and cluttered. With a considered approach and a few bright ideas at your disposal, you can make the most of your lounge no matter how compact it is. All the best design projects start out with a little research, so you’re in the right place.

Here, we’ve shared 11 small living room ideas for a spacious, stylish and cosy finish. Read on to discover tips on layout, design and how to furnish a small living room, with smart tricks to open up the space and answers to the all-important questions like where to put the TV.

Along the way, we’ll discuss:


Wooden table in front of a grey sofa in a living room


Minimalist small living room ideas

1. Cut out clutter

In true Marie Kondo spirit, one of the simplest ways to max out on space in a small living room is just to declutter. Reducing the amount of furniture, sticking to minimalist decor and keeping things tidy can go a long way when it comes to creating the illusion of spaciousness.

Of course, you can still make room for the essentials. No living room would be complete without somewhere comfy to sit and a table to sit your coffee on, but less is always more when it comes to decorating a small lounge.


A living room in an apartment with furniture


2. Cohesion is key

Aiming for a cohesive style is pretty high up on the list of minimalist small living room ideas. And a consistent colour scheme is a good place to start. Too many contrasting colours can make a space feel busy and crowded, which in turn can create an unwanted sense of confinement. Instead, opt for a neutral palette to make the room feel more open.

Your interior design choices should also be fairly uniform: mixing traditional and contemporary styles can work well for more expansive spaces, but a compact lounge will benefit from a more unified aesthetic.


A living room with a beige colour scheme


3. Free up floor space

Open floor space is a vital element of any living room design – even more so when there’s less space to work with. There’s nothing wrong with a rug to break things up a bit, but covering up the floor with furniture and decorations can make a small room feel even smaller.

Top tips for freeing up the floor include:

  • Keeping furniture towards the edges of the room
  • Opting for a mini coffee table
  • Wall mounting your decorations
  • Choosing wall lighting.


A minimalist living room with a yellow accent chair


Clever tips on how to furnish a small living room

4. Downsize (or forgo) the sofa

Most would agree that a comfy sofa is the central component of any lounge, yet there are options to help you reduce the footprint that it takes up. A small sofa with thin arms offers you somewhere to relax without taking up too much of the room’s profile. You could even cut out the sofa altogether and go for alternative seating instead.

Patrick Tonks, our creative director, offers these tips:

“There are plenty of possibilities to explore in terms of seating ideas for smaller living rooms – a loveseat, small bean bag couch, or some cosy armchairs can provide the comfort you need yet still leave enough space for everything else. Many of us are now choosing to forgo the full-size sofa in favour of more modern compact seats.”


Our Luxury Chenille Couch Bean Bag

Our Luxury Chenille Couch Bean Bag


5. Choose wall storage options

Sticking with the theme of saving space, wall storage is an excellent way to keep the centre of a small lounge free. From floating shelves to ladder bookcases, there are many different types of low-profile storage you could consider. A floating cabinet is the ideal option if you’re looking for a covered living room storage space.


A living room with a lime green sofa and floating shelves


6. Use mirrors strategically

One of the most effective small living room design ideas is to position mirrors strategically around the room. A well-placed wall mirror will reflect natural light here and there, helping to make the space feel that bit more expansive. By a trick of the eye, a large mirror can also create the illusion of depth so that it seems like there’s more of the room than there really is.


A contemporary open plan living room with glass patio doors


7. See-through furniture

Transparent tables and chairs are perfect for a smaller lounge, and are particularly popular in Scandinavian interior design. Made from glass or acrylic, these stylish, contemporary items of furniture allow light to bounce around. Clear furniture also gives the impression of additional floor space beneath it and makes a room feel less cluttered.


A transparent glass table on top of a multi-coloured striped rug 

8. Create a cosy corner

When space is at a premium, make the most of the corners of the room. This is a great spot for a snug. You might try adding a small corner sofa with a mini side table – or even one of our slab bean bag cushions for maximum comfort. Rather than letting this area end up as wasted space, create a cosy corner where you can snuggle up with a good book in the evenings.


Cosy living room corner with bean bag
Our Corduroy Slab Bean Bag

Breaking down barriers

9. Open up to other rooms

For those with the opportunity to make more substantial changes, opening up to other areas of the house is a brilliant idea for a small living room. This can take many different forms. For a nod to vintage interior design style, you could simply add a hatch that goes through to the kitchen. Alternatively, you might want to remove a section of wall to connect the space to a hallway – or spare no effort and create a fully open plan space!


An open plan living room and kitchen


10. Let in the light

Many of the small living room ideas we’ve touched on so far relate to light – and, of course, the best way you can let light flood in and open up the space is to put in some extra large windows. Floor-to-ceiling glass not only offers the natural light you need to make a room feel more sizeable, it also gives a sense of added height.


A light living room with large windows


11. Connect to the outdoors

Perhaps the best way to design a small lounge that looks larger is to bring the outdoors in. Whether you prefer the look of sliding doors or bifolds, a new set of patio doors will transform the space so that it feels less oppressive and serves as more of a functional living area. During the summer months, you can leave these wide open to let the breeze in and help you cool down.


Open plan living room with easy access to outdoor entertainment area

Where to put the TV in a small living room

The final point to consider is the TV – where should it go when space is tight? Whilst modern flat-screens make this somewhat less of an issue, TV units can still be incredibly bulky and intrusive in a confined space.

You could think about some of these options if you’re wondering where the put a TV in your small living room:

  • Go for a recessed TV that sits flush with the wall
  • Mount your TV on a wall bracket
  • Find a floating media unit to free up floor space underneath
  • Pick a TV stand that folds away
  • Install a moveable cover or book shelf that conceals the TV.

A living room with a wall mounted TV


What next?

This guide has explored some of our favourite small living room ideas, offering tips on how to design a layout and furnish the space in a way that makes it feel more expansive.

If you’ve found this post useful, you might also enjoy some of our other resources:

Looking for a bean bag to complete your living room design? We make an awesome range of small bean bags that’ll complement the space without crowding it out.


Posted in: Living Room Ideas
12 May 2022
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