Our pick of the very best small living room layout ideas includes traditional and modern layouts to suit the size and style of any home – and we’ve added a ton of value-added design advice too.
So whether your small living room is open plan, family oriented, a shared home office space or on the small side, there is a living room layout to suit your living room and make the most of the space in your small living room.
Small Living Room Layout Ideas
Functionality is key for living room ideas, and the layout you choose should not only suit your lifestyle, but enhance it. These expert small living room design tips should meet your needs — and make the most of your existing small living space.
1. Turn the window into a seating area
If you have a bay window, creating a window seat is a great way to add extra seating for guests and create a cozy corner for reading or watching the world go by by taking in an elevated view. offer and bring a feeling of the outside in.
The base of the window seat can be used for storage with drawers or cabinet doors that are easy to hide. Adding a custom seat cushion in a complementary material to a sofa or armchair will not only make the seats extra comfortable, but it will also help bring the interior design together,” said Tom Rutt, director of TR Studio (opens in new tab).
2. Make the most of corners
Minimalist living rooms can be tricky to get right, but when done right, they’re a godsend if you have a small living room,” says Jennifer Ebert, Digital Editor, Homes & Gardens.
“The best way to arrange living room furniture in a small space is to use low pieces in lighter color schemes. “You don’t want furniture that fills the entire space. You want pieces that still leave a lot of room, so the size of the pieces needs to be a little smaller than normal to get the look.”
3. Use pale colors everywhere
“We all know that light-colored walls can help in small spaces, but choosing off-white and light gray furniture makes for an even more airy feel,” says Andrea Childs, editor, Country Homes & Interiors. “This small living room layout makes the most of this compact space – paying attention to the textures and shapes – the round rattan coffee table and bouclé chair help the space flow visually and counteract the angular corners of the sofa and armchair.”
4. Use storage in a small space
“As many homes get smaller and more compact, there are some key design considerations you need to make to maximize the space available, especially when it comes to the living room,” said Emma Deterding, founder and creative director of Kelling Designs. (opens in new tab). ‘A room in which we spend a lot of time relaxing, socializing and living, it is very important to plan it in such a way that it is both practical and stylish. Think about who will use the space, how they will use it, and plan your design around this. This makes it easier to make decisions about, for example, the size of the sofa, other upholstery such as armchairs and footstools, but also storage furniture.’
“In terms of color and pattern, my ethos is always to bring in as much color and pattern as possible. A compact space does not mean boring and neutral, color, pattern and print ensure that your living space is a true reflection of your personality.’
5. Place the sofa over a rug
“The hand-knotted rug in the center of the room helps bring the different elements of the room together while providing warmth and comfort underfoot,” said Clara Ewart, head of design at Kitesgrove (opens in new tab). “The colors and shapes reflect other features and shapes in the room, and the larger size allows the sofa in the living room to be placed on top for a luxurious feel. The dark paint used on the window frame draws attention to the view outside and gives the room extra depth and character.’
6. Use symmetry to your advantage
If you like a touch of order, let interior design symmetry guide your small living room layout. There is something so pleasant about this space, it is pleasing to the eye and soothing. Place two matching sofas opposite each other and combine them with a pair of armchairs. In this case, a square coffee table works best, soften it with books and a vase of flowers.
7. Opt for sleek furniture
“If there’s one thing that’s going to create the illusion of more space in a small living room layout, it’s investing in the right furniture,” says Jennifer Ebert.
Mid-century modern living rooms tended to encourage a no-nonsense, utilitarian style that defined interior design for the post-war generation. Now the functional, flowing furniture with slender legs has been adopted by the masses – especially those who want small living room layout ideas that give the illusion of space.”
8. Prioritize Placing a Bench or Bank
“Make the design of a small living room layout as functional as possible,” says Georgia Zikas, founder and chief designer of Georgia Zikas Design (opens in new tab). ‘By anchoring the furniture to the wall, natural light comes through the larger windows. This multi-purpose space is used for lounging, entertaining and even playing music with guests. The flow of traffic allows room to move as the sofa is pushed against the wall instead of being placed in the center of the room, as in a larger room.’
9. Make the most of every inch
“If space is tight, it pays to make a feature of the furniture instead — this works especially well if you like bright colors,” says Lucy Searle, editor-in-chief of Homes & Gardens. “Distract attention from the space by matching everything – blinds, rug, sofa and armchairs in a once compact space – plus it creates a great social hub if your small living room has an open plan.”
“Choosing smart furniture choices with versatile pieces will maximize space in smaller living rooms, creating a comfortable space that can be used to sit back and relax, as well as welcome guests,” said Stefan Ormenisan, creative director and founder of MindTheGap (opens in new tab). ‘For example, this combination of a smaller two-seater sofa and a comfortable armchair, rather than a larger sofa in a straight line, creates a more welcoming and social dynamic, and the upholstered ottoman is a brilliant space-saving option, which doubles as a seat or as an extra surface for favorite books and magazines, or trays of drinks for entertainment.’
“It’s often thought that pattern and color can’t work in smaller spaces, but on the contrary, creating layers of interest and detail with a mix of both can give a room a gorgeous, seductive jewel box feel, draw you into the space and smile.”
How do I furnish a small living room?
If you have or have ever had a narrow room at home, you will be more than aware of the daunting task of making it appear wider than it actually is, while desperately trying to make every corner look cozy. You’ve probably spent hours rearranging furniture in a frenzied attempt to make your rectangular space look squarer, but in the back of your mind you know that unless you tear down the walls and rebuild the room from scratch, there’s just nothing you can do.
When it comes to layout, the general advice is not to place all your furniture too close to the walls. “To make the room seem more spacious, move your sofa away from the wall, put a console or shelf behind it, and put the sofa in it,” says interior designer Kelly Hoppen.
Look for a table with simple or delicate lines. The table should appear to ‘disappear’, giving your room the illusion of more space in a small living room. And stay away from ornate furniture that will overwhelm the space.