Furniture Arrangement Ideas for a Small Living Room

The Basic Rules Still Apply

small living room floor plan illustration
 Illustration: The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

Small living room furniture arrangement can be a challenge, but as shocking as it seems, small living rooms are often easier to decorate than larger ones, especially on a budget.

The main design rule applies for a small living room as it would for a larger room: Choose furniture that fits the space, and do not try to squeeze too much in.

This is easier said than done. But these tips and ideas for furniture layouts for small living rooms may inspire you and show you that less can be more.

Small Living Room Arrangement with Lots of Storage

small living room illustration with storage
 Illustration: The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

This arrangement provides a lot of storage, while still providing plenty of seating. The long wall has enough room for a large shelving unit, and the table behind the sofa provides additional storage and a possible place for lighting.

This furniture arrangement is ideal for a single adult or a couple. With the exchange of the bar for a slightly larger table, this arrangement could also work for a small family.

During entertaining, the stools or chairs could be moved somewhere else in the room for temporary, additional seating, and the bar can be used as a serving area.

  • Choice of a sofa: Armless sofas look sleek in small spaces, but they are not especially comfortable for lounging about. Another thing to think about is that you may not have a tiny living room forever, and a sofa may last 10 years or more, so choose a sofa that is comfortable. Think of your sofa as an investment and then purchase less expensive accent furnishings.
  • Accent chairs: When purchasing accent chairs, think “light.” Anything with a heavy look or dark colors will feel huge in the room. Armless chairs, like slipper chairs, can be a good choice. Avoid anything with a tall backrest. Transparent chairs such as “ghost” chairs look great in small spaces.
  • Simplify: In a small space, choose furniture with clean lines so the eye will not get stuck in one place. This is designer-speak for “keep it simple.” Overstuffed chairs and shabby chic slipcovers may overpower a small living room.

Small Living Room Arrangement for a Family

small living room arrangement for family illustration
 Illustration: The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

This furniture arrangement is a good choice for a single adult or even a small family. The use of a sectional sofa along with a coffee table is great for hanging out or playing board games.

An ottoman that doubles as a coffee table can provide extra seating. The dining table behind the sofa could seat two or four, making this an ideal layout for a small family.

  • Neutrals and light colors: Choose your larger pieces, like your sofa, first. Stick to neutrals with your larger furnishings. Then add interest and texture by mixing in smaller pieces in different styles and colors. This will keep your space interesting, and it will not have a generic, catalog-like feel. In small spaces, it is very important that you choose furnishings with a lighter feel and keep colors and patterns simple. In smaller spaces, color usually looks better in smaller amounts, like in throw pillows or accessories, such as vases or lamps.
  • Coffee table: If you go with a center coffee table instead of an ottoman for this arrangement, look for something transparent in acrylic or glass. And steer clear of ornate furnishings. Look for a table with simple or delicate lines. The table should seem to “disappear,” so it gives your room the illusion of more space.

Kid-Friendly Small Living Room Arrangement

kid-friendly small living room illustration
 Illustration: The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

A sectional sofa and tons of storage are perfect for a family with small children. In a small space, it is essential to maximize storage. Storage can even be designed around windows, so do not let a window become a hindrance.

Toys can be kept in the smaller storage unit, while the larger storage unit can hold the television and other items. A small side table provides a welcome place for lighting or a drink or both.

Unique Storage Solutions

Home Depot, Target, Lowes, IKEA, and other big box stores often offer good, inexpensive storage solutions. But, think outside of the box. 

To save money, look for stock kitchen cabinetry at building supply companies. Bedroom wardrobe or closet storage systems can also be modified for a living space. Set stand-alone pantries side-by-side on a longer wall to create a one-unit look.

Wall-mounted clementine crates or old filing cabinets can create a fabulous look (and lots of storage) and give your room tons of visual interest.

Modify storage bins, boxes, baskets, or other accent furnishings to make it more appealing. You can even attach a wardrobe to a wall and surrounded it with molding for a built-in look at a fraction of the price.

Another Solution for Small Living Room Arrangement

small living room arrangement illustration
 Illustration: The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

Often a window or other element spoils the best-laid plans. If storage or a couch just will not work on the long wall, this arrangement is a good alternative. And, feel comfortable pulling your sofa out from the wall. In a room with a combined living and dining area, visually dividing the space with your sofa is a good way to define your living space.

  • Color palette: In small spaces, use three colors maximum, but a two-color palette works best. An ​all-white color palette can be beautiful in small spaces.
  • Wall color: Purchase your furnishings before choosing your wall color. Most people work backward and choose their wall color first, and later find they need to repaint or get frustrated because they cannot find furnishings to match.
  • Minimal design: Keep furnishings to a minimum. One sofa, one chair, and one table is a great rule of thumb. After adding these elements, if you have room for more, great. If not, then let it go.

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