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Good Things Come in Small Packages: Five Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Small Living Room

Having a cozy living room where you can relax at the end of the day is always a welcome thing.  But what happens when your living room crosses the line from cozy to just too small and cramped?  If you’re lucky you can delve into some home renovations and make yourself a larger living room.  But some are stuck with what they got.  Fortunately, a small living room doesn’t have to feel cramped.  There are plenty of tricks for getting a small space to feel larger than it actually is.  Below are some of the tips we think work best.


Go With the Flow

Flow is an important thing to consider when arranging a small room; the flow of foot traffic and the flow of light all impact how big or small the space feels.  When shopping for furniture look for pieces that have a lightweight appearance.  Sofas and chairs that show their legs and are slightly lifted off the ground give the illusion of more floor-space and create a feeling of openness in the room by letting light flow not only above and around but also under the furniture.

The layout of the furniture itself is also crucial.  Instinct may tell you to push all the furniture up against the wall to open up more floor-space in the middle of the room.  But having everything up against the walls will only highlight how close together they actually are and make the room feel its size.  When you’re able to walk between the furniture and the wall it helps the room feel more spacious.  If you maintain clear pathways and keep an open flow to the room it won’t feel cramped and will seem larger than it is.


Re-think the Coffee Table

We’ve looked at alternative to the traditional coffee table before on the blog, but now is a good time to revisit the idea of scrapping a large coffee table.  If you don’t have the floor-space for a coffee table don’t force it in.  Small side tables placed next to the furniture can work just as well as a large coffee table in front.  Placing a slim console table behind the couch is also a space-saving option.  If you do have the physical space for a coffee table but are afraid of it visually weighing down the room, consider a glass or lucite piece.  A transparent (or mostly transparent) table in a small space will add the desired surface area while keeping an uncluttered look and letting the light flow through the room.


Reflect the Room

Scarred by the mirrored walls of the past, some may be hesitant to decorate with mirrors.  But a couple of strategically placed mirrors can really help a small space seem larger.  A large mirror in a central location is a great way to create a focal point in the room.  Another option for mirror location is behind a lamp or place you frequently light candles to reflect the light and add ambience to the room.  One of the best places for a mirror to help make a room look bigger is across from a window.  This way the mirror will reflect the outside view, and give the appearance of another window which will add some depth to the space.


Keep a Low Profile

Consider buying furniture that is low to the ground.  Furniture with a low profile can help create a sense of openness in the space since there will be more room above them.  Low profile furniture paired with window treatments that extend above the window will combine to create a sense that the room is much taller than it actually is.  Remember to keep any artwork or mirrors hung over the furniture down lower as well so that it still visually connects to the furniture and helps maintain the illusion of height in the room.


Careful Color Selection

We’re big proponents of not being afraid of color, but when it comes to small spaces the cliche is true – light colors really do help a space feel bigger.  You don’t have to go all white, but paler colors will make the room feel more open.  As long as the main areas of the room like walls, floor, and ceiling are a light tone you can still play with pops of bold color throughout the space to help it not feel washed out.  Using different shades of the same color in a space is another way to work in bold hues without making the room feel cramped.  Depending on the layout of the space, a smaller wall can be painted or papered a bold color to create a focal point that will draw the eye to that area of the room.  In the right space an accent wall can help make the room feel larger as well.


While clutter is generally never considered a good thing, it’s especially important in a small space to keep clutter at bay.  The more things that are in the room the smaller and more cramped it’s going to feel.  Fortunately there are a lot of easy ways to add storage to smaller spaces – one of the main ones being to look for furniture that has hidden storage.  Follow these tips and you’ll be amazed at how big and inviting your small living room can appear.

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