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small living room layout

Great Layout Guide: 2 Layout Ideas for a Living Room in a Small Apartment

small living room layoutIn our Layout Guides series you’ll find layout solutions for rooms of all shapes and sizes. This week we take on the challenge of designing a small living room layout, with two multipurpose designs that save space and look good.

The Space: A small living room in a city apartment

The Style: Southwestern Chic

The Challenge: Creating a multipurpose living room layout that saves space and looks good.

When it comes to decorating a home, the blank space of a living room can feel like a very daunting challenge. Creating a space where you can chill out on your own or with family, entertain guests, watch TV, display art and photos, find room for storage, etc. takes some serious strategizing!

And if your living room is on the smaller side, then you have to be even craftier in your design work. A super tiny space, like a city apartment for instance, requires a small living room layout that checks all these boxes. Read on for our guide to designing a multi-purpose small living room layout that saves space and looks good.

small living room layoutLayout #1: Entertainment Layout

This small living room layout is all about entertaining. The design allows for open traffic flow into the room and leaves plenty of space to navigate around furniture. Instead of a coffee table, we used two poufs for the centerpiece of the room. They can double as a footrest, extra seating or a coffee table. The sofa has a clever built-in arm/side table so you don’t have to bother with an extra piece of furniture. And the wall-mounted desk/bookcase offers plenty of space-saving storage, leaving the floor free.

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Key Elements in This Small Living Room Layout for Entertaining

Ample Seating: This layout features a large, cozy sofa and a deep armchair as the traditional seating options. But the two poufs centered as a coffee table can also be split apart and used as additional seats for when extra guests swing by.

Optical Illusions: Both the mirror and the open-base furniture are great small space hacks. The mirror makes the room look much bigger. And open, airy furniture creates a sense that space is larger because it’s not bulky or visually heavy.

Chic Style: The Southwest chic style is trendy and very small space savvy! White walls and a light wood floor help keep the space feeling minimal, clean and uncluttered. And the exposed brick, neutral accessories and natural materials give it a warm, welcoming quality.

Can an Entertaining Layout Work in Your Small Living Room? Yes if You…

  • Love to entertain and want to easily make room for more visitors
  • Prefer a conversational area over TV viewing
  • Enjoy a sparse, beautiful and clutter-free space
  • Want your space to feel cozy and warm

small living room layoutLayout #2: TV Viewing Layout

Design #2 is a multi-purpose small living room layout with an emphasis on TV viewing. The sofa fits perfectly against the back wall so it doesn’t take up extra floor space by jutting out. Having the TV mounted against the wall directly across from the TV is optimal for viewing and also saves space. This layout offers a cozy spot for you to kick back and see what’s new on Netflix.

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Key Elements in This Small Living Room Layout for TV Viewing

TV Viewing Space: In this small living room layout, the sofa is positioned so it faces the TV and offers prime viewing ability. You can stretch out on the sofa and use the tucked away pouf as extra seating when needed.

Smart Storage: The large credenza under the TV provides tons of extra storage inside the small living room. Because the TV is mounted on the wall, it leaves room for such a large furniture item below it so you can make sure all your excess clutter is hidden away.

Fun Furniture: The small coffee table is perfect for this room because it is big enough to hold decor, beverages, remotes, etc. but it also doesn’t take up a ton of floor space—something important in a small room! The credenza doubles up as storage and the stylish pouf can be used for extra seating but also tucks away under the coffee table when you’re not using it.

Can a TV Viewing Layout Work in Your Small Living Room? Yes if You…

  • Love a cozy space to watch TV
  • Live alone or don’t need a lot of extra seating
  • Need your space to be beautiful and clutter-free
  • Love a sparse, minimalist design with a cool and relaxing vibe

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small living room design

9 Ways to Make the Most of Your Small Living Room

small living room designIf you feel like your living room is always cramped and cluttered, you aren’t alone. Let’s face it—small living room design can be a struggle. Especially in light of the fact that it’s the room you likely spend the most time in and also needs to be super functional. But don’t let your small living room cramp your style!

Some people say the only way to make a small living room work is by avoiding dark wall colors or certain types of furniture. But we disagree. You don’t have to sacrifice your personal style to make the most of your small living room. Here are a few tried and true tips from our designers that are sure to help you ace your small living room design for a space that’s big on style and functionality.

small living room tips1. Use Your Walls

If your living room is short on floor space, it’s time to get creative by using your walls! Wall-mounted storage options are amazing and they give you all the same functionality without taking up floor space. Think about using a bookcase to double as a side table or even try one with a built-in desk option. It reduces clutter, maximizes storage, and means you have one less piece of furniture to buy.

small space hack2. Go for Clear Furniture

One small living room design trick that often goes unnoticed is to use clear furniture. Clear, or even mirrored, furniture helps to reduce visual clutter which is a must-have in a small space. The optical illusion creates a more open and airy look instead of dense, heavy pieces that sit directly on the floor. You can get the same effect using furniture that sits on tall, tapered legs, as well. (Ever wondered why Mid-Century Modern design is so popular in urban spaces? Because it’s a great style for small rooms!)

small living room design3. Use an Organic Shaped Rug

Sometimes it can be a struggle to find a rug that fits into your small living room design. They often seem way too big or awkwardly small for tight spaces. Rather than drawing attention to the small size of your room with a rug that doesn’t fit, try using one with an organic shape. We love options like this cowhide rug. It has the same function and doesn’t need to follow any rules as far as room shape and size.

4. Hang Your Curtains High

One easy trick for making your small living room seem larger, is to hang your curtains up high! This gives the impression that your ceilings are extra tall and will draw the eye up rather than down. It’s a clever optical illusion that will make your space seem much larger than it is.

small living room design5. Skip the Coffee Table

In a room that’s already packed to the max, skipping out on unessential furniture items is the way to go. So we say get a little crazy and skip the coffee table. If you’re short on space, you can benefit from the open area to use in other ways, like this living room that uses two poufs to double as footrests and a makeshift coffee table. And they can be used as extra seats in a pinch!

6. Use Your Sofa to Divide the Space

If you’re doubling down on your space to create both a living and dining area, use your sofa to divide up the room. The back of a sofa creates a “zone” by partitioning the space into different areas. Having a makeshift wall like this helps to create a sense of rooms within rooms.

small living room design7. Make It Multi-Purpose

Having limited living room space means you need to get the most bang for your buck. Opt for furniture pieces that serve multiple functions—such as using a bench as a coffee table, or a bookcase as a room divider.

8. Maximize Every Square Inch

Another way to make your small living room look great is to make sure you’re using every square inch of space. Tuck in storage where you can, like these baskets hiding behind the open door in space that would have otherwise gone unused. Think about ways to work in extra storage, tuck in a desk, or even extra seating.

small living room design9. Add Sneaky Storage

You’d never guess that this coffee table has interior storage, would you?! Pieces like this are a great hack for small living room design. Instead of adding more clutter with bulky storage pieces, add furniture items that serve multiple functions. Enclosed storage is also great because it’s super low-maintenance—no one knows what kind of mess you’re hiding in there.

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small living room layout

My Modsy Story: Making A Small Living Room Work For My Family Of Five

small living room layout

With a oddly shaped space, Christina craved a small living room layout that worked for her family of five. See how she found the perfect solution for her space.

 

Homeowner: Christina M, University Business Officer

Location: North Logan, Utah

Room: Small, Awkwardly Shaped Living Room

Her Style: Comfortably Chic

The Backstory

Living in a charming home where comfort and practicality are paramount

We are a family of five and we’ve lived in our current home for about a year. We love the all the natural light and the vaulted ceiling, but that was about it.

Our living room is the center of our house. We’re big on movie nights and use the space to watch TV throughout the day, and it’s also where we entertain guests. Unfortunately it’s become a sort of waiting room and a playroom. And while it’s the most-used space in our home, it’s also the least functional.

small living room layout

The Design Dilemma

Dealing with a small living room that needed to work for a big family

I wanted this room to be a comfortable and inviting space since it’s the center of our home. But it’s so long, skinny, and just plain awkward that it seemed impossible to make it work. After six months of hating this room, I decided we definitely needed some professional help to make it into a space we loved.

But when it came to designing the space, we really needed help with everything – A functional small living room layout, some storage for kids toys and games, an awesome couch for movie nights and afternoon Sunday naps, seating for guests, and not to mention a space that was pretty. 

small living room layoutThe Modsy Moment

How a Podcast led her to the ultimate living room solution

I heard about Modsy on the podcast, Young House Love. I was slightly skeptical at first — what Modsy could do sounded awesome, but I wasn’t ready to commit. That’s until I got desperate enough for a design solution for my strange and small living room. Once I got started, it was so easy to use and I was totally convinced this was worth it!

small living room layoutHow Modsy’s Renderings Helped Christina

Getting the exact furniture and small living room layout she asked for — and more!

We LOVED the first two designs Modsy sent us. They were spot on with everything we needed! The 3D renderings looked just like our living room and it was so helpful to see the space with all the furniture in place.

It was amazing how our Modsy Designer was able to incorporate pieces in our designs that fit our style while factoring in all our needs as a family. Altogether, the designs were so doable and the small living room layout ideas were just so much more functional.

“We LOVED the first two designs… they were so doable.”

small living room layout

At first, we liked the simplicity and open look of the first design because it would work with the sofa we already had. We immediately rearranged the room with our existing furniture the very next day, and it made such a HUGE difference in the feel and function of the space.

Then in the second design, our Modsy Designer incorporated a console table opposite the sectional. This was so great to see because I had a very similar console table that I hadn’t thought would work in the space. After seeing that it could work, I pulled it back out and I’m now using it in the room!

small living room layout

Modsy’s idea to put chairs by the window in our second design was genius; it’s the perfect place for them! The round side table was one of our favorite pieces, and we ended up bringing this element to life in our space.

small living room layout

small living room layout

We also loved the mirrors above the mantle in both our designs — it was just what we needed for that space. Everything was just perfect for us.

Ultimately we really wanted a super comfortable space where we could put our feet up, relax, and cuddle with our kids. I had specifically requested to see an option with a sectional, and our Modsy Designer made it happen! Seeing that the right-sized sectional could absolutely work in our space and still look great was a huge eye-opener.

We ended up purchasing a super comfortable small sectional in order to make the sectional layout design happen—and we are so happy with all of it!

See Christina’s Favorite Design in 360!

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