How to Arrange Furniture in a Small Living Room

living room

The Challenge of Arranging a Small Living Room

It is always important to arrange your furniture carefully, but if you have limited living room space, it is even more crucial. When you are shopping for furniture for a small living room, you will need to carefully assess your space, so that you do not end up with furniture that overcrowds your room. The trick to knowing how to arrange a small living room is to choose the right pieces and use a few different strategies to make the most of your space. Of course, the first step is to carefully measure your space, but we also have some small living room layout ideas to help you get started.

Choosing the Right Furniture

One of the most basic small living room ideas is to select appropriately sized furniture pieces for your space. When your living room is small, you cannot afford to fill it with oversized, bulky pieces. Instead, think about modern small living room ideas, with furniture that is sleeker and more compact, so that you can have the pieces you need without making the room feel cramped. Sectional furniture or modular pieces may be the right way to go for your living room, especially corner or L-shaped configurations that can be space saving. Be careful when you are choosing coffee tables, footstools, pouffes, and other occasional furniture, and pick pieces with rounded edges that will be easy to manoeuvre around and will not obstruct your pathways.

Creating a Focal Point

When you are planning your room, do not feel that you need a lot of furniture to make the room feel well-balanced. Determine what you want to showcase in your room, and draw the focus to that area, whether it is a fireplace, an architectural accent, a window with a view, or some other interesting detail. If you do not have a focal point, create one, perhaps with a piece of artwork or a gallery wall. Some people arrange their layout around the television, but most designers frown upon this practice. Rather, find something beautiful and interesting to feature. One way to do this is to create a symmetrical layout, with two sofas facing each other and the focal point between them. A symmetrical layout creates a sociable set up for conversation, visually balances the room, and helps give it a sense of flow. You can also use a rug as your focal point, anchoring the room visually by placing a large rug in the center, with all of the front legs of your furniture pieces on it.

Space Planning Strategies

One of the most practical small living room ideas is to use multifunctional furniture. A sofa bed doubles as guest space, and a storage ottoman can serve as a coffee table or extra seating, as well as taking the pressure off when you need a place to store things. Look for furniture pieces that curve, because they shave inches off by losing the corners. They’re also easier to navigate around in a smaller space. Do not skimp on seating by having just a sofa in the room. Rather, make the most of your space by choosing smaller pieces that optimise seating without crowding the room. A wall-hugging sectional is a good option, and an ottoman can provide seating that is easy to move when you need it placed differently. You want your room to be a place where people can easily converse, and where traffic flows comfortably without people bumping into furniture. When you arrange your living room, think about directing traffic around the centres of conversation, rather than through them.

Furniture Arrangement Ideas

There is no single right way to arrange your living room, and you might need to experiment with a few ideas to find the one you really love. Start with your larger pieces, and once you determine how they are best placed, you can fill in the details. If you have an open floor plan, or your living room shares space with your kitchen, take care to define your space. You can do this by arranging a small sectional, coffee table, and rug in a very definite living room layout, separate from the dining area beyond. You can also distinguish the two spaces by positioning the sofa with its back facing away from the living room, and accent furniture next to or across from it, to create a clear pathway into the room. 

Do not feel obligated to have the traditional three-piece suite of a sofa and a pair of matching armchairs if your living space is tight. You might find that a sofa and a single chair or two cuddler-style two seaters will be more practical for the way you use your living room. You can also ditch the sofa entirely, opting instead for a mix of chairs and ottomans that are easy to move around when you want to reconfigure the room. The most important thing is to find a design that works for you. Some designers like the idea of pushing furniture against the walls, while others believe in letting the furniture float in the centre of the room, to create a feeling of more breathing space. Sometimes, this kind of arrangement can actually make a small living room look bigger. Additionally, this kind of set up can feel cosier and more sociable, because the sofas and chairs will be grouped together more closely. Remember, too, that sometimes, furniture can take up less space visually if they have a lighter, simpler feel, or match the walls.

Storage Solutions

Having enough storage is key when you have a small living room, because it allows you to tuck things away and keep your space uncluttered, which makes the room seem larger. One solution to the problem of storage in a compact living space is a single wall-hugging storage unit, spanning the width of the living room, providing tons of storage without infringing on too much floor space. You can even paint a modular unit the same colour as your walls, to give it a built-in look. Of course, actual built-ins are also an option, and you can make the most of every alcove, recess, nook, or cranny by creating built-in storage that take up too much of the room’s footprint. For instance, a bay window can be fitted with a window seat, providing extra seating and storage within the bench. You can take this particular idea one step further by mounting floor to ceiling shelves on either side of the window, turning it into a cozy nook while also adding plenty of storage space. Wall-mounted shelves are a good way to maximise storage potential of a room without taking up any floor space at all. You can also utilise corner shelving units or cabinets, to make good use of otherwise wasted space tucked away in a corner. A mix of open shelving and cabinetry can add interest and make the room feel more spacious.

Maximising Vertical Space

Anything you can do to draw the eye upward in a small space will help to make it feel more spacious. Tall bookcases, wall-mounted shelves, and artwork are all good options for using vertical space. If you have a wall mounted television, floating shelves above and around it can provide storage in an eye catching way.  Do not forget the space above your doors. A well placed shelf above a door can be a clever use of space and provide some additional storage in an unexpected place. Floor to ceiling window treatments, just like floor to ceiling shelving, draws the eye both up and down, and elongates the room for a more expansive look. It might seem counterintuitive to use tall pieces of furniture in a small room, but, in fact, by drawing your attention, these taller pieces make the room feel bigger and the ceiling higher. An accent wall with vertically striped wallpaper can accomplish much the same effect, and so can tall, slim mirrors. If your ceilings are low, consider forgoing hanging light fixtures in favour of wall, floor, and table lamps. If you are afraid that floor and table lamps will take away from available space, consider swing arm wall sconces. Try to configure your lighting to cast light both upward and downward, creating a vertical glow that exaggerates the height of your ceiling.

Lighting and Mirrors

In fact, the way you use your lighting and mirrors can make a big difference in the feel of the room. As a rule, the more light you can let into a room, the more spacious it will seem. In the interest of accomplishing this, keep window treatments simple and use light colours to reflect the light and increase the room’s brightness. Mirrors can help make a room seem larger, too, so do not be afraid to use them to bounce light around the room. Consider a statement mirror wall if you really want a glamourous effect; or use several mirrors in varied shapes to not only reflect light but also add interest. Reflective surfaces on furniture can create the same effect. Another tactic to reflect light is to choose furniture in white or light shades, breaking up the expanse of light colours with pops of a bright tone. You may also choose to paint your living room in a monochromatic colour scheme of neutral tones, perhaps in variations of white, cream, or grey, to allow the eye to move freely around the room, thus creating the illusion of more space.

Find Your Perfect Living Room at Carters Furniture

There are so many different ways to optimise your space in a small living room, and we hope this guide has helped inspire you to tackle your small living room arrangement with confidence and creativity. When you are ready to shop for new living room pieces, head to Carters Furniture, where for over 47 years our family run business has provided not only a vast selection of furniture but also professional service and highly trained staff. Our stores are open 7 days a week, and our associates are happy to provide you with advice and information to help you choose the right furniture for your home. Even when our doors are shut, we provide customer service through online chat and an email system monitored 24/7 for urgent enquiries. At Carters, we have close business relationships with suppliers, allowing us to source furniture from around the world as well as locally manufactured pieces. From smaller local suppliers to big name brands, the prices at Carters cannot be beaten; our low price guarantee states that we will match or beat any competitors’ price on identical pieces. Shop with us online, or visit our two large showrooms, where large free car parks and customer friendly lifts make shopping convenient. For more information, call Carters furniture store at 05162 540862, Carters Bed City at 01562 66396, or contact us through our website.