Just as trends come and go from the catwalk, so do types of buildings come and go from our streets. That could mean some major changes when it comes to the typical British home.
Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that the average living room size for new-builds has shrunk by a massive 32% since the 1970s. Back then, the standard living room was around 24.9 square metres, while a living room built in the 1970s is more likely to be around the 17.1 square metre-mark.
If you’ve invested in a modern, new-build home, you might find that it’s a little cosier than houses of years gone by. It’s not about the space – it’s what you do with it that matters. Making the most of your small space living room means being selective about the way in which you curate it. It may take a little time to get it right, but the results will be worth it.
Luckily, here at Nyde, we have you covered completely. We believe that fine-tuned style and a knack for design can overcome most any issue. Small living spaces don’t have to look cramped and busy.
Instead, they can be the height of simplistic Scandi style. With just that in mind, here are 40 examples of stunning small living rooms and some interior design tricks that will help you perfect yours.
Effortlessly understated furnishings
The furniture you choose to display in your home is an expression of your innate sense of style and personality. However, when you’re working with a small space, you need to take a little extra care and make wise furnishing decisions.
Developing a small space living design that suits your home doesn’t have to be ‘mission impossible.’ Take the time to think about what each furniture piece brings to the room and how it can best be utilised in the given space. Simple.
Choose a muted colour palette
There’s no harm in experimenting when it comes to the colour of each piece. However, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm the space with too much noise, i.e. too many tones.
Using just a couple of tones – which you already know work well as a dynamic duo – is certainly the way to go here. Should you find a piece of furniture that you believe will work well for your small space living room, check out its various incarnations.
Keep things on the down-low
When selecting a sofa or chair to fit your living space, there’s one thing that you might not consider. It’s height. When it comes to modern-day living rooms, you may often find that they lack the tall ceilings of yesteryear. Don’t panic.
There’s a simple way to tackle this issue. Opt for furnishings that are at once understated but also low to the ground. Many Scandi style pieces have a design that will work with this trick. As you’re buying furniture, you will find that the dimensions are labelled online. Grab yourself a measuring tape and see how that new sofa will fit your space.
Jazz things up with added extras
Don’t be fooled here. Understated does not mean dull and boring. One of the main principles of Scandinavian design is the use of soft furnishings to give a space a homely, cosy vibe. Simply adding some cushions, throws, and blankets into the mix could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
To give your home that cool, welcoming vibe, pick out a few soft pieces that suit the room. When it comes to small space living, it’s important to remember that colour matters. Using one solid colour palette means that all of these extra pieces will fit the theme well.
Divide and conquer (your small living space)
Studio apartments, one-bed homes, and small living spaces – they all have one thing in common. You need to find a way to make the most of the room that you have. One of the most effective ways to do just that is to divide up the space into different areas.
In essence, a medium-sized room can become home to a bedroom, living room, and kitchen. The secret here is choosing a nifty way to divide up the space and make it look like a fluid home. You may not know where to start. Here’s a little inspiration.
Add a mezzanine
Blessed with high ceilings? There’s a simple way to make the most of them. Installing a subtle mezzanine could make more out of your space.
Small living space design is all about ingenuity, which means that you need to figure out what works for you. Utilising that – otherwise wasted – room is just plain good sense.
Work with the shape of the room
Don’t fight the natural shape of your living room. If there’s already a structure in place, you need to work with it – not against it. Those small nooks and crannies can be put to use, so long as you take the time to work out how.
Before you start designing a small space living area, consider what floorplan you’re working with. Avoid closing off any area of the space. Make a feature of it – create a reading corner or use an alcove as extra storage space.
Divide the space
Open plan living spaces can often work better when they are physically divided up. Yes, this means that you end up with a small space living room, but the open vibe of the home will make it feel much larger than it is. Talk about an optical illusion.
Of course, the most traditional way to split the room is to use a divider. There’s a range of styles that you can get – glass or solid. Avoid using anything too bulky or large and opt for dividers that allow you to still see the rest of the space.
Alternatively, you could also use your furniture as a divider as well. Opting for a large, modular sofa means that you can move it around as much as you please. It could create quite a dramatic look – when you get it right.
Colour the space beautiful
Pure white might be your ‘go to’ look when it comes to a small living space. While that minimal look is always going to be a winning one, don’t feel that you can’t think outside the box. There are plenty of ways in which you can use colour to great effect.
One of the most effective small space living ideas is to use colour to draw the eye to various places in the room. In doing so, you may find that you can make the space look larger than it is and even add a little character along the way.
Pick out key tones
With that idea in mind, a handy interior design tip could be to pick out a few key tones for your living room. For example, you might want to choose a muted blue and yellow look. Tones, such as these two, always work well together and will give you a guide for the space.
So, where should you begin? Here’s one rule to remember at all times. Highlight the areas of interest in your room. For instance, you could use an eye-catching piece of art to draw the onlooker’s gaze upward.
Mix things up a little
Combining Scandi style with a splash of unabashed colour is a daring move, but not one that you should shy away from. In fact, this look could work well in a small space living room. You’re free to experiment with a whole range of colours so long as you keep them understated and relatively quiet. Nothing could be easier.
Celebrate the simple things
Make no mistakes – simplicity is beautiful. One of the most remarkable tools you have when it comes to creating a stunning small space living design is the ability to keep things simple. While it may feel as though you should do ‘more’ with your living room, stripping it back as much as possible is a sophisticated move.
Now, it’s worth noting that this tip doesn’t mean that your living space shouldn’t have a personality. Essentially, you just want to take a minimalist approach when deciding on colours, styles of furniture, and other elements of the space. Keep it simple.
Up your storage game
Small space living is all about fitting everything that you need into a somewhat confined area. It’s anything but easy. Thankfully, sound storage furniture could be just what you need to turn this tricky feat into something that’s as easy as pie.
From bookcases to hidden storage units, there’s a wild array of choices in this realm. It’s all about figuring out what works in your particular living space and finding pieces that suit the general atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s a couple of ideas.
Choose subtle storage furniture
Since you don’t have a lot of space with which to work, the storage that you choose should never detract from that. Wall units and those that are less assuming could be the way to go. Functionality should be at the core of every item that you pick out here.
Feature your literary tastes
Books are just for reading, right? Sure, but they also make great decorations. Should you be something of a bookworm, your favourite novels could make a feature piece within your small space living room. Creating a wall of books or even including a large bookcase will make a real statement.
This hint is a genius one. It means that you don’t need to hide your storage away or worry about where to keep certain things. For a cool, unique aesthetic, you could even colour-code your library to make it look artistic and – let’s face it – neat.
Make your sofa the main event
Living spaces are all about comfort – these are the rooms in which you spend your downtime. So, it should go without saying that a comfortable seating area needs to be at the heart of the room.
Now, many may think that choosing a large sofa is a mistake in a small living space, but that is simply not the case. Be bold and brave. Rather than shying away from larger sofas, you might want to embrace them instead. These pieces can become the centrepiece or main event of the room.
Keep the base of your room as neutral as possible and make sure that the sofa is the main event. There are a couple of ways in which you might envision this interior design trick.
For example, you could pick out a sofa that has a solid colour. (Opt for something oh-so-daring, such as a green or red tone!) Or, on the other hand, you could also go for a large style of sofa – such as a four-seater piece – so that you can be certain that it will catch everyone’s attention.
Make the most of your windows
Your secret weapon when opening up a small living space is your windows. If your home has large window spaces, you need to make the most of them. Not only can you flood your space with natural daylight, but you can also give the illusion that the space is huge.
Of course, regardless of the size of your windows, the following interior design tips should work for you all the same. Honestly, it would be nothing short of a crime to overlook these household features when you’re decorating your living room.
Leave them bare
Bare is beautiful – especially when you’re dealing with windows. While your inner critic may tell you to hide those windows away or dress them with heavy curtains, you have to ignore it. Leaving the window spaces as bare as possible (save for a few plant pots, of course!) means that you end up visually extending your small living space. Nice work.
Use plain and simple curtains
If you absolutely must use curtains, stick to this rule of thumb. Keep them white, bright, and simple. You don’t need to go overboard with colour or fabrics here. The idea is to create a room that is light and airy. Using translucent curtains does the hard work for you.
Give the living room some character
What sets your house or flat apart from the standard ‘show home?’ The answer should be obvious – character. When you start to style your own living space, you should find that a natural flair comes through. Ignore the urge to mute it.
You don’t have to avoid adding character to a small living space. While, sure, you don’t want it to look too busy, there are plenty of ways in which you can get this part of the design just right. Let’s take a look at just a couple of examples.
Draw the eye upward
You know the drill here. Gorgeous gallery walls make for stunning additions to any modern home. If your ceilings are high enough, you can use this feature to draw the eye upward and create a sense of extra space. Feel free to explore various types of art for your walls.
The point here is that you should have a chance to put your own, authentically ‘you’ mark on your living space. You might wish to choose pieces that have an underlying significance or great works of art. Alternatively, you could choose a single larger picture to take the spotlight. The choice is yours!
Add a touch of greenery
Greenery has been something of a major trend in recent years and it’s clear to see why. Bringing just a touch of the great outdoors into your small living space not only lifts the overall mood of your room but it also helps to give it an extra bit of pizzazz.
You could go wild – literally! – and add in a few different types of plant. For example, you might want to pop one on each surface. The other option is to use just one, large plant and make it a feature of the room. Your small spacing living design is sure to benefit from this idea.
Make things multifunctional
It may be that you don’t have separate spaces for the individual rooms in your home. Open-plan living has become wildly popular over the last decade and it’s something that we should embrace. If that’s the case, the living room will surely be a small portion of your home, but there are ways to make it work.
Multifunctionality should be the core of your small space living design. When you consider the many ways in which you can use the space, this should come naturally enough. A top tip is to include little additions, such as a side desk or a counter as well.
Dining room meets living space
Not enough space for a living room and a dining room? No problem. Combining these two living spaces to make one large area means that you can make the most out of what you have.
Remember, the dining element of this space does not have to be super intrusive. Select small dining table and chair sets to make sure that they don’t dominate the area too much. You may also want to go for calming, laid-back colours when choosing furnishings.
Open-plan living spaces
Taking things just one teeny step further, you could create an entire living area – including the kitchen, living room, and dining room – in just one space. Picture the scene; everything you need in one single space. Pulling this off takes a certain level of expertise, but the result is jaw-droppingly attractive. Again, simplicity and careful planning are the tools that you will need to make it work.
Small space living design is an art form. When you hit the mark, any living space can look like it jumped off the page in a magazine. With any luck, our advice should propel you to make a room that will make you utterly proud. Now go ahead and create a Scandi living area of your dreams.