Wednesday, May 2, 2012

10 Tips for decorating a small living room

It's a fact that  in many of today's new home builds, either your living room or family room will be a smaller  room.  There are many things that can be done to help visually enlarge smaller spaces. There are ways to use darker colours and larger scale furniture in smaller spaces, but their successful use takes a trained eye.  If you want to decorate a small room  with confidence the following ideas are easily applied. 

1.  Choose light  furniture with simple lines

light furniture small living room
Houzz
There's only one thing I would change in this room. With everything else  so light , I find the darker wood of the table somewhat harsh.  Something lighter would be more cohesive

light furniture small living room decorating advice

Choose furniture first and look for pieces that are light in colour and have legs. Lighter colours occupy less visual weight and legs provide an unobstructed view of the floor, allowing the space to appear more open.  Coffee and end tables in metal and glass also allow the eye to move through the pieces consuming little visual space while dark wood furniture has the opposite effect.  The cow hide ottoman above works because it is overall light and has great legs. It also serves to connect the tones of the wood pieces in the room.

2.  Choose a lighter colour scheme 

light furniture small living room decorating advice
 Maria Killam

 Neutral colours mixed with  lighter shades of blue and  green  work well in a small living area.  Cooler colours recede  thus giving the impression of a larger space. . Use hints of  brighter colors in  accent rugs or pillows. The golden accents above warm up this space.  Small spaces work best with a three-color (or less) palette as in the room above.  If you love texture consider using a monochromatic scheme.   Bare  wood floors in lighter wood tones also add to a clean, flowing feeling.  Dark floors have the opposite effect.  Unfortunately the current trend for darker floors often causes many problems including closing in a space. The dark mirrors at the end of this space enlarge it.  Which leads me to ...

3.  Use mirrors effectively

mirrors small living room decorating advice
Mirrors can make a small space look larger but it's not that simple.  They function best by reflecting light. That can be the light colour of the wall or refleced  light. Be aware of what gets reflected in your mirror by standing in different positions in the room.  I have seen mirrors actually decrease visual space because they reflect the wrong things.

4.  Emphasize  vertical lines  

verticals in small spaces decorating advice

verticals in decorating a small space

We often forget that a room has a vertical axis. Add things to the space to encourage your eyes to move upward from the furniture.  Floor lamps, large vases with tall twigs, full length draperies, long  mirrors, vertical paintings or stacked paintings, mantles, tables with multi- layered  arrangements etc. are possible choices.Did you notice the large mirror on the end wall?


5. Match the furniture to the scale of the  room  

small scale light furniture decorating a small living room tips

If your room is small, choose smaller scale furniture.  Armless chairs, apartment size sofas, small sectional etc. will make the room appear  more spacious. Consider a bench rather than a conventional coffee table or a glass or lucite table as in #4 photo.  Don't get carried away with this and  end up with  clutter by using too many small items.

6.  Choose multifunctional furniture  

 small Living Room decorating tips

 One of the best ways to deal with limited space is to choose  dual-purpose furniture, e.g., a pair of ottomans can double as coffee tables, with storage inside; coffee tables with a lower shelf can hold baskets, books, covered boxes for storage; consoles with doors make tidy hiding places, bookshelves used as a sofa table when you can't walk around the sofa, etc.   

7.  Build in storage 


Give a small space  character and maximum function with a bank of custom-built cabinets in a light colour.  Built in cabinets and shelving triple storage options.  Keeping the colour of built ins light will increase the visual space. Arrange objects on open shelves in an artful way.  Leave lots of open space and vary the sizes and shapes of decorative objects. 

8. Harmonize  large pieces of furniture

harmonized furniture small space decorating

If you have a  sofa or sectional that you need to keep and it dominates the room,  paint the walls  a shade that is just a bit lighter than the upholstery . The eye will move  across the room rather than sticking on  the sofa. In the room above a stone wall harmonizes with the sofa and the warm yellow from the wall is picked up as accents.

9.  Control clutter

clutter control small spaces

Find interesting ways to store the objects that are needed in a room, e.g.,  storage cubes, baskets, covered decorative boxes, ottomans, etc. This room has a lovely wicker basket which serves as an end table.  On the shelf  is a fabric covered box and the coffee table has a lower shelf which can be used to store books, boxes, baskets etc.Sometimes the more space you have the more objects you accumulate. Keep shelving organized.

10. Layer lighting

layer lighting small spaces

Lighting is important in any room but even more so in a small room.  Keep window  treatments light and airy so that the natural light can shine through or have drapes that can be pulled back to let the light flood in. . For evenings or when there is minimal natural light use additional lighting to maximize each area of the room. A dark corner is a great place for a floor lamp or an accent table with a lamp for reading.   Wall sconces take up little space and can be used to highlight a certain areas of a room. Lights over artwork add an additional layer of brightness and highlight the artwork.  I try to have at least four  levels of light in a room- natural light, dimable ceiling lights, floor lamp or sconces, and  table lamps. Do a visual check to see if the four corners of your room have adequate light.

Many of these ideas will work in much larger rooms too.  The most important thing to remember is to select furniture that is the right scale for the space you are decorating. 


52 comments:

  1. Great points made in this article. I like the combination of the neutrals with a splash of brighter colors that seem to be in right now.

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  2. Great article. Love your taste and sense of style.

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  3. Avalon Painter,
    Thanks for dropping by. I enjoyed looking at your site. It is good to know that there is a professional painter in the area. I often get asked by clients about references for painters.

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    Replies
    1. Feel free to pass my info on to anyone Margaret. Cheers and Happy New Year to you.

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  4. Window Concepts,
    Thanks for the link on your Facebook page. It seems everyone is interested in window treatments. All my posts about this topic are well viewed on my blog.

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  5. Lovely ideas but really these are not small living rooms...

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  6. Anne,
    Small is a relative term. I tried to show a range of what would be considered smaller spaces by a variety of people. The suggestions for dealing with them remain valid no matter how tiny your living space is.

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  7. Margaret,

    Very helpful article. Thanks!

    Lina,
    Pulau Pangkor, MALAYSIA

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice imagine for home creation, Thanks

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  9. So much nice photos and information you share with us.. i so much appreciate
    Window tint central coast

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  10. What a amazing, useful article! Thank you.

    MDF | Veneered MDF

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  11. Very nice design, what kind of lighting have you set up to finish off the ambiance?

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  12. Thanks for sharing and for all the pictures. My living room is very tiny and only has one window so it looks even smaller. I just have my couches and a mirror hanging up. I need color because it looks so blah. Now that I know to stick with lighter shades I'll go find some home decor in Petoskey Mi and hopefully find some pieces.

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  13. These insights and tips are wonderful. I love all the examples you have in your post. Having knowledge of such kind will greatly help homeowners with smaller living rooms. For me personally, I do think that a smaller area is much easier to decorate and fill than a very wide one. Anyway, thank you again for these incredible tips. Please keep on posting.

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  14. Thanks for the helpful insights. My house has a small living room and these ideas will surely help as I move stuff to make more space. The wicker basket is an amazing idea. I will soon get several and maybe splash a few colors in since my walls are plain white. Thanks again for the info.

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  15. Found this link while searching Google, thanks

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  16. In fact, I believe that the most useful tips here is light palette and many windows. In this way the room seems to be much bigger.

    freelancemommyblog

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  17. You can learn 10 tips for decorating small bedroom. Good post

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Wow... They all 10 are perfect designs. Fabulous work u explained all the ideas in just 10 points.. great job!! Here are some designs of Living Rooms

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  20. 10 tips for decorating small living room is described here. Read all about it

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  21. No matter the area space, your living room can look cozy and inviting with the help of the right furniture, arrangement and the materials used in constructing the room. You have provided us with great insights. Thanks for the tips!

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  22. Some great tips here! Thank you they help! How would you suggest using this accent piece of furniture http://coco-interiors.co.uk/eames-lounge in a small room?

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  23. What lovely set you have here!
    A lot of motivation and fun, thanks you so much for sharing this post.

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  24. Stunning article! I love decorating our home and I'm looking for unique design. But I find this site, it gave me an idea for decorating our living room. This helped me very much, keep writing like this article. This will be serve as my source and guide in decorating our home. Thank you for this article. Do you want more KB Home? Find more here.

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  25. For someone, this is a small space, but for another one, this space may be large. so how can we applied this tips for really small living room, for example 3x3 measure?

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  26. I appreciate your appropriate tips and often read your blog for updates on home designing.

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  27. Great post! Choosing the right colour and furniture are two important factors that everyone should consider in decorating their living room.

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  28. Hi! Great ideas, but would appreciate further advice on decorating a granny flat.
    Space saving is of the utmost importance.

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  29. Some cool tips! When we choose a nice colour, its easy to getting the point.

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  30. Great post and images are also very attractive... and yes we can improve the visually size of room with the help of Interior Decoration.

    Decorators Painters London

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  31. So truly! Choosing the right furnishing with the right color hues and the appropriate accessories, the room may look much bigger!

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  32. Love them all.I love decorating my room.I really inspired with those pictures that you have posted here.So,really beautiful.

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  33. I appreciate your effort in coming up with this blog. Thanks! www.christmaslightdecorators.com

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  34. Hi,I like your post. I have been searching information on this
    Living Room Furniture for long time, so thanks for such a nice blogging .

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  35. Hi, just wanted to say, I liked this blog
    post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

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  36. Amazing pictures and color combination.

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  37. Excellent post! I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.

    Kind regard
    Interior Designers for MNC Companies in Bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  38. Giving concise and comprehensive suggestion is not the fashion of Home decoration industry, especially on web. But after seeing your “10 Tips for decorating a small living room” I was surprised especially “Emphasize vertical lines” is unique idea. You did great work by combing all working thoughts under pictures and now it’s become easier for every one to understand. Thanks

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  39. Hey very nice blog post. I am gonna to modify my living room, remove cluster and make it to look as a modern home.Thanks for the tips you shared here....http://myhouseguru.com

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  40. Hi,
    Thanks for produce wonderful blog article post.

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  41. These are such phenomenal tips! I'm wondering what you think about having a bunch of windows to bring the light in to our living room? We almost want it to be a sun room, but still our living room since it's the first room you come into through the front door.
    Celine | http://www.griffitts.net/windows.html

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  42. Perfect tips...amazing ideas.. your multifunctional furniture tips is superb..waiting of your upcoming blogs.. www.umangrealtech.com.

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  43. Very correct advice about the layered lighting. Mixing light sources using both lamp sets and natural light is the way to go. Don't put all your bulbs in one basket, you might say.

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  44. I've been looking at changing the lounge and dining room for a while. I have magnolia at the moment with white coving and its been like that for 8 years. Got a bit bored with it now. Thinking of peppermint green. Thanks for this great article, has given me inspiration to take the plunge and change everything. Thanks a lot. Very helpful.

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  45. Wonderful, wonderful article. Do you know how I can find that cowhide ottomon?

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    Replies
    1. Not sure where that ottoman came from but if you google cowhide ottoman there are lots of options. London Cows on Furnish .uk has a similar one.

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  46. Cute interior designing and interior furnishing!

    ReplyDelete

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