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How to arrange furniture in a small living room

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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If there's one question that interior designers always seem to be asked, it's how to furnish and decorate a modest living room so that it look bigger and works more effectively. It's an understandable point of concern, given that living rooms are one of the most frequently used spaces in every home, particularly family households, it's natural for people to want to make them comfortable without straying into the realms of claustrophobia, but achieving the right proportions can be difficult. 

We've found a fantastic article with a host of great ideas for small living rooms, here, but why not come with us now as we offer a more prescriptive way to tackle modest proportions. There are a number of elements and solutions to consider and we're going to look at them all, in detail, to give you as much information as possible to help you in your quest to adequately account for modest dimensions and difficult to work with spaces.

1. Consider not having a sofa at all.

Let's start with a very simple, yet effective small space decorating technique. We have become so accustomed to simply plumping for a sofa in a living room because it's the normal state of affairs, but by thinking a little more creatively and opting for singular chairs, you can actually amplify the remaining blank space and create a feeling of more room.

Let's also not forget those individual armchairs are generally a more cost-effective way of furnishing, as opposed to choosing a larger sofa. Interior designers often demonstrate a commitment to an odd number of furniture items, as this seems to look more harmonious, as well as a little less static and formal, so depending on how many members you have in your family, try to avoid an even number of identical chairs.

2. If you need a couch, choose a small sofa set.

If you prefer to have a sofa in your living room, you need to think small. Yes, there are some schools of thought that state that larger items can distract the eye from more diminutive dimensions of a room, but in a lounge, where you will be spending a large proportion of your time, something that is just a little too big will soon feel cloying and ill-conceived.

Interior designers state that taking advantage of a free wall is a good technique for almost camouflaging a sofa, but if you leave at least 30 cm either side of the arms, the furniture will look more compact, while also offering a natural opportunity for a complementary rug. This is one installation that should NOT be too small, as a floating floor accessory always makes a room look smaller, whereas a rug that mirrors the width of a sofa and is anchored underneath the legs will create an illusion of expansiveness. 

3. Be inspired by small apartment design.

scandinavian Living room by Eightytwo Pte Ltd
Eightytwo Pte Ltd

FORESQUE RESIDENCES

Eightytwo Pte Ltd

To gain some real-world inspiration for successful small living room furnishing, we suggest looking to cosmopolitan yet compact apartments. Those found in busy cities, such as New York, have long been inspirational masterclasses in terms of making small spaces work more effectively and highlight the importance of accounting for every single installation in a room, not just the larger furniture items.

Take a look at this amazing apartment, as it gives you a wealth of practical solutions to consider. The television is a proportional choice, despite there being enough space for a far larger screen, and it acts as a natural focal point in the room as well. Central track lighting helps to keep the room bright and airy and the bare walls create an aura of freshness. It's all quite shocking when you realize just how modest the living room here actually is.

4. Sectional couches and furniture work well.

If you have a small living room that is also an awkward shape, you have multiple issues to contend with but there is a solution, at least in terms of how you can furnish. Section or modular furniture is a simple yet effective way to place seating where you want and need it, while maintaining some cohesion and not swallowing up every last morsel of floor space.

Heritage home, particularly Brownstones or terraces, are often at the mercy of inconvenient alcoves, tight corners and even badly-placed radiators, which is why modular furniture is a terrific investment, as it can adapt and evolve to meet the constraints of any space. Should something look too bulky or odd, it can simply be broken down and made into something else; something that works within the space more organically.

5. Detract from a narrow room with color.

A narrow living room can be a real bugbear, especially for homeowners that enjoy expressing their personality through eclectic interior design choices, but there is hope! By arranging the larger pieces of furniture at the outer edges, a simple thoroughfare can be created and then, the fun can really begin.

Having a neutral color on the walls of a narrow living room will create a sense of fresh and airy space and then, you can inject a little more vivid color as and where you see fit. The modular furniture in this picture shows that, in small doses, a vibrant hue or two will make for a far more bold and yet still generous room and you can see what we meant about large rugs here as well! Just look at the way that this skinny living room seems to stretch out and embrace far wider dimensions!

6. Keep your layout organic.

Our final piece of advice is a far more natural one, which will encourage you to take everything you now know and apply it directly and specifically to your home. After all, you can take a wealth of professional advice onboard, but if it doesn't seem to resonate with your particular dimensions, it will be hard to see a way forward, so always think and design your furniture layout organically. What we mean by this is identifying where the naturally optimum location for seating would be, then honing in on a size and style that would work, before finishing off with a complementary coffee table, rug and television.

Fore even more little living room inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Living room furniture for a small living room.

Do you have a small living room that is crying out for better organization?
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