5 Ways to Brighten Up a Small Living Room

When it comes to design for small rooms in a home, a small living room can be one of the trickiest to figure out. In a bedroom or dining room, for example, you can basically just adjust the size of the bed or the table to fit the proportions of a room. But with a living room, you must find a way to provide ample comfortable seating for your whole family, plus any company — without it looking like a huge couch is swallowing up the tiny space.

The best way to make a small living room look cozy instead of cramped is smart design to make it as uncluttered as possible. You can do that with the help of the following must-haves for small living rooms.


The more natural light you allow to flow into a small space, the larger and airier it will feel. Maximizing natural light is particularly important for living rooms, since these rooms are often the central hub of the house throughout the day and can be a favorite spot for reading, games, and conversation. Large mirrors can play an especially helpful role when it comes to increasing natural light.

Mirrors aren’t just for the bathroom or bedroom anymore. A beautiful, well-placed large mirror mounted on a wall to strategically reflect natural light can provide an interesting focal point for the living room design. Make sure to skip the heavy curtains in the living room, too, and opt instead for sheer panels or blinds that won’t limit the flow of natural light into the room.

Space-saving lighting and furniture

The more floor space you can reserve for living room seating, the better. Look into light fixtures that hang from walls or ceilings instead of traditional floor lamps. Pendant lights and chandeliers can also serve as beautiful statement pieces. Ditch the bulky entertainment center and opt for a smart TV that you can mount to the wall or place on a console table.

Space-hogging bookcases, buffets and china cabinets can be replaced by floating shelves, and storage baskets made from natural materials. Some smartly designed coffee tables come equipped with storage inside, and some ottomans can also double as coffee tables — especially if they accommodate a tray on top.

The perfect wall colors

When you’re designing for a small room, you may assume that the best strategy when it comes to wall color is to choose a bright white that reflects a lot of light. However, there’s also a case to be made for choosing a darker color for small living rooms — or at least one with less of a reflective value.

Whites that are too reflective can look drab at night when there’s no sunlight brightening them up. Plus, a darker color can enhance the cozy qualities of the living room and help to make a statement. A darker color will allow you to play up brighter colors elsewhere in the decor, such as the art on the walls or accent chairs and pillows.

A large, plush rug

The size of rug you choose for your room can make a big difference in how big the space looks. Smaller rugs can break up the flow of the room and make it feel smaller. Although it might seem counterintuitive to choose a large, bold rug for a small living room, choosing one that accommodates all the furniture can make the room feel larger and help tie it all together. Plus, choosing a plush rug can also help you embrace the coziness factor of your living space and make it feel more intimate and comfortable.

Creating seating solutions

When you’re limited on living room space, you may benefit from corner seating options. Many modular sofas available these days come in all kinds of configurations, including “L” shapes that make great use of a room’s corner space, which would otherwise be empty. (Plus, it’s easy to take these sofas apart and rearrange them if your space needs change in the future.)

If you choose a smaller sofa for your space, you can supplement seating with a few space conscious accent chairs. Depending on your style, you can invest in a few with a minimalist, armless design or try a few simple chairs to add an earthy element to the room. You could even opt for a modern swing-style chair that hangs from the ceiling!


Need help with living room design?

I specialize in designing beautiful spaces in rooms of all shapes and sizes, even the trickiest around. I love making the most of every small space in a home — not just so it looks beautiful, but so that it serves the unique needs of you and your family. If you think you are ready to invest in your needs by working with an interior designer, I invite you to check out my portfolio linked above. If it speaks to you, please reach out to me and we can schedule a discovery call.