A living room truly is the heart of any home–and a beautifully decorated one can transform the look and feel of the rest of your house. But when you're dealing with a small living space, creating the perfect layout can be tricky. You have to consider how to fit all of your furniture into the space while still leaving room to walk around and spread out. If your living room is short on square footage, it doesn't have to be short on style.
To fuel inspiration for your small living room's furniture arrangement, we've asked three interior designers to give us their favorite living room layout ideas for a small space.
Meet the Expert
- Caitlin Murray is the Founder and Creative Director of Black Lacquer Design, a Los Angeles-based interior design studio known for its bold, eclectic style and work in residential spaces.
- Kimberlee Gorsline is the Founder and Principal Designer of Kimberlee Marie Interiors, a Seattle-based interior design studio known for its ability to create residential spaces that inspire and awe.
- Abbe Fenimore is the Founder and Principal Designer of Studio Ten 25, a Dallas-based interior design studio known for its daring, bold style and work in sorority houses.
Ahead, see six brilliant ideas all based around one key feature of your small living room.
The Living Room With a Sectional
The Layout: This layout is perfect for a very quaint living room that requires walking through the center of the space to get to an adjacent room. It features a small sectional against the wall directly across from a TV with space for a single side chair diagonal from the chaise and a small coffee table.
The Sofa: It may seem counterintuitive, but In a really small space, Gorsline says a sectional can be king. "[A sofa with a chaise] gives you the ability to lounge without taking up a huge footprint." Just be mindful of the length of the sofa you pick and ensure there is extra space on each side of the sectional.
The Extras: If you're concerned about taking up too much space visually with a sectional, Gorsline says to consider curves or circular furniture. "They can still function while visually and physically taking up less space," she says.
If you don't have room for a side table, consider a C-table over the arm of your sofa instead.
The Open Concept Living Room
The Layout: Arranging your furniture in a small open concept living room can be a challenge. Here, two side chairs rest on opposite sides of the sofa to create an imaginary wall behind the chair. This helps to delineate the space from the dining area or kitchen behind it but still feels open and airy.
The Sofa: In this classic layout, the sofa is king and acts as the room's focal point. It is placed directly across from a fireplace or a TV stand.
The Extras: "The key to getting this layout right is to scale and ensure your furnishings have a little room to breathe on all sides," says Gorsline. While leaving little space around furniture can work in some small spaces, in this one you should opt for some empty space around each piece.
The Library-Focused Living Room
The Layout: Not all living rooms revolve around a fireplace or a TV stand. If you want your bookcase to be the focal point of the living space, place the couch perpendicular to the built-in or standalone bookcase. Then, place two lounge chairs directly across, pointing at the couch.
The Sofa: Because the sofa is off to the side in this layout, you may want to experiment with larger pieces. "Large pieces in softer colors blended with a mix of white and acrylic accent pieces will help to make the space feel larger than it actually is," explains Fenimore.
The Extras: Because your bookcase is the centerpiece of the room, consider wallpapering the back of your shelves to add a pop of pattern. "This will also help when styling, since the wallpaper will help to visually fill the shelves and prevent them from appearing over-styled," says Fenimore.
The Living Room With a Fireplace
The Layout: In this classic living room layout, the fireplace truly is the focal point. In this formal layout, you are not required to point the furniture towards a TV, giving the fireplace more prominence. The couch juts up against the fireplace facing directly across from two chairs.
The Sofa: Pick a sofa that is just large enough to fill the space without overpowering. Be mindful of the empty space on either side, especially if you have to pass through to other nearby rooms.
The Extras: Remember, you want to do your best not to distract from the fireplace focal point. Fenimore suggests an acrylic coffee table because it is "the perfect piece for a cramped living space like this one because it doesn’t visually block your view of the fireplace."
The Odd Layout Living Room
The Layout: "Sometimes you’re not only working with spatial restraints, but a strange layout to boot—I find this is most common in historic homes," explains Murray. To fix this, focus on pieces of furniture that are the appropriate scale for the room—you may need to settle for an 80" couch instead of a 112" or ditch that second accent chair.
The Sofa: If you don't have a place that really makes sense for a full-sized couch, consider a deep loveseat instead. If you don't entertain much, you can find a loveseat with just as much charm that won't overpower the small space.
The Extras: Don't be afraid to place a chair in front of a window, as long as you leave enough space around all sides to let light filter in. Floating furniture works in small, awkward spaces too, but opt for pieces with modern streamlined edges that can stand on their own.
The Very-Small Living Room
The Layout: In very small living rooms (we're talking could-be-a-den size), Murray says "I try not to do too much." Keep it simple and ditch the side chairs. Focus on a comfortable sofa that fits the space and add a comfortable oversized ottoman for extra seating when guests come over.
The Sofa: Here, you should splurge on the couch. Because this will be your only real piece of furniture in this teeny space, make sure to pick a sofa that has a lot of personality to act as a focal point for the room.
The Extras: "To bring a nice layer to the room, I go with an area rug that's almost equal to the dimensions of the parameter," says Murray. Layering in texture and color can help a quaint room feel larger than it is.