Small living room decorating mistakes | homify
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Small living room decorating mistakes

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Minimalist living room by José Tiago Rosa Minimalist
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When it comes to inhabiting a small space, it is up to clever planning to trick the eye into making those rooms appear more spacious. Creative small living room ideas can go a long way in making cramped and claustrophobic seem stylish and spacious. 

So, what do we do then to make that small living room seem chic and welcoming? We decorate in a way that maximises light and space, we pay attention to how we use colour, and we focus on the correct furniture pieces in terms of weight and look.

But before you start shoving furniture around, first see what you should not be doing – it could mean the difference between a cramped style and a relaxing space perfect for entertaining.

1. Don’t shy away from neutrals

Walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture decked out in off-whites and beige help to expand a space by appearing to push back the walls – which is exactly what you need for a small living room. 

In addition, soft neutral colours also help to illuminate a room by reflecting light. Plus, nothing beats a neutral palette when a calm and sophisticated environment is what you’re going for.

2. Don’t opt for bulky stuff

Tac 5 Chandelier Minimalist living room by Herstal A/S Minimalist
Herstal A/S

Tac 5 Chandelier

Herstal A/S

Bulky furniture and small spaces do not mix, which is why pieces with thin legs and slim designs are what you need to focus on. 

And any furnishings that don’t obstruct views will make a room seem more open. End- and coffee tables made from glass take up less visual space than, for example, wooden ones, as we can see right through them.

3. Don’t ignore double-duty pieces

'Asia' Rectangular coffee table with storage by La Primavera: modern  by My Italian Living, Modern
My Italian Living

'Asia' Rectangular coffee table with storage by La Primavera

My Italian Living

Multi-purpose furniture is heaven sent, as it doubles the duty without doubling the space.

For example, a side table which can serve as a bar cart can also house a lamp, books and other decorative pieces. And a coffee table that helps with storage space immediately frees up some much needed legroom.

4. Don’t commit to hard floor surfaces

Take Off, Una St Ives: modern  by iroka, Modern

Take Off, Una St Ives


A light-coloured rug can easily open up a room, so don’t think twice about covering that dark hardwood floor with some soft toned fabrics. 

homify hint: Try placing an area rug over a carpet for a cosy, layered look.

5. Don’t overlook your vertical possibilities

When pressed for space, you need to get most creative with what you’ve got. And vertical space is especially useful. 

Thus, treat yourself to a few floating shelves, and see how that once cramped living room breathes again thanks to some useful storage possibilities.

6. Don’t be scared of a bit of darkness

Duke Street, Mayfair Classic style living room by Perfect Integration Classic
Perfect Integration

Duke Street, Mayfair

Perfect Integration

Neutrals may be your best friend in a tight spot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce some bold tones here and there. Where lighter colours make a room feel larger, deeper hues add drama and style.

Thus, if you want to splash a dramatic grey on those walls, do so with a satin or semi-gloss finish that will reflect light in the room. 

Sssshhh! We have: The secrets of painting a wall evenly.

7. Don’t ever forget your mirrors

Buckland Crescent by Living in Space
Living in Space

Buckland Crescent

Living in Space

Interior designers often place mirrors strategically in small rooms to help expand the space – even if it’s just visually. To reflect light and add a stylish ambience, place/hang that mirror behind a light source like a lamp or candle. 

If possible, position that mirror across from a window so that it can reflect the incoming light and help give the illusion of another window.

8. Don’t shut out those vibrant tones

Hampstead Heath Apartment Eclectic style living room by Bhavin Taylor Design Eclectic
Bhavin Taylor Design

Hampstead Heath Apartment

Bhavin Taylor Design

Just because your living room is small doesn’t mean you have to forget about that cheerful throw or those jovial scatter cushions. In fact, some bright colours and cool graphics can add some interest to your space.

Just be sure to limit that colour palette to two or three tones, otherwise that look can be overwhelming instead of exciting.

Which of our ideas will you be trying out?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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