How to make a small living room look bigger – 12 tips from design experts

1. Choose A Simple Color Scheme

The primary thing to remember when designing a small room is to ensure all tones stick to the same color palette – thus creating flow throughout the room. Bobby Berk regularly emphasizes the importance of creating a cohesive space on his blog. Despite his adoration for color, Bobby's living room paint ideas tend to be based around monochromatic and tonal hues that will accentuate the scheme further.

2. Use Color, But Wisely

Creating a bigger and brighter living room doesn’t mean you can’t have color. A dark shade on your walls will create the opposite feel, but if you choose a light warming shade like coral for example it will lift the space. Use white on your woodwork and skirtings and if you have shutters all the better – if not, and you can cope without drapes, then let the light pour in. Instead of investing in dark wood furniture, opt for painted pieces instead and rustic wood suits this look really well.

3. Opt For Beautiful Textures

To make a small living room look bigger, you will want to pare back clutter – but you don’t want to create a sterile scheme with minimalism and all-pale shades – which, we know, create space-enhancing light spaces. Instead, keep it cozy with sumptuous textures that don't take up space visually. Sheepskin rugs, beautiful grained wood pieces, limed floorboards, velvet cushions and oh-so-soft tan leather armchairs will all warm up a scheme instantly, particularly when used in otherwise minimalist apartment living room ideas.

4. Embrace Magic Of Mirrors

We 100% believe in the power of decorating with mirrors because they can make a small living room look bigger – if you get their placement right. VSP Interiors show you how fabulous they can look in this living room. This pair of mirrored alcoves immediately bounces the light from the windows and reflects everything back. It’s the sure fire way to add light and brightness, but go large with your mirrors – there’s no room for small and dainty here.

5. Layer Lighting To Make A Small Living Room Look Bigger

Small living room lighting ideas can make your space feel bigger at night, even if the room has oodles of natural light in the day time. Layering the heights of your lighting is key – so ensure you have a pendant light overhead with a dimmable control, lots of lamp light and wall lights. Choose shades that can both direct light for tasks like reading, and create pools of light for atmosphere. Having wall lights that direct soft shafts of light up and down will also make the space look taller.

6. Keep Your Furniture Refined

To make a small living room look bigger, you need to remove visually heavy furniture which will drain the light from your living room, and chunky pieces that are simply too big. Think ‘light’ with tapered legs and thin frames sections, glass is also worth considering. The sofa is key: knowing how to buy the right couch for a small living room will ensure your space feels as big as possible.

7. Go For Neutral Pieces As A Starting Point

The sofa is going to be the largest piece of furniture in your living room, so it pays to get the color and size right. ‘A neutral sofa can help lighten the space, however it's worth remembering that neutral doesn’t have to mean selecting a plain design. Opting for styles with beautiful details, such as curves, buttons or fluting, will add character to a small space without overpowering your scheme, advises Suzy McMahon, Buying Director at Sofology.

8. Choose Light And Airy Drapes

What you use on your windows is really important, dark heavy drapes will block the light and create a moodier feel in your living room – fine for creating an autumnal feel, but not conducive to a light and bright scheme. Follow Jonathan Adler’s lead – you can still use pattern and color, simply choose pale shades and a subtle design. These drapes enhance the living room perfectly and the design is reflected in the huge chequered rug – something else to consider as it helps to draw the eye to another light aspect in the room.

9. Invest In Good Storage

Ensuring you have invested in the very best small living room storage ideas is key to making a small living space feel bigger. Using vertical space is a key way to maximize storage potential while taking up the smallest of footprints.

10. Embrace The Space Enhancing Fifth Wall

The best way to make a small living room look bigger without really changing much about a current scheme is to pay attention to the fifth wall – and even the sixth. We're talking about ceilings and floors.

11. Choose Compact Furniture

In smaller homes, ideally, look for multifunctional pieces to save on space. Ottomans with integrated storage and sofa beds are some of the most widely used. Living spaces, especially, will really benefit from multifunctional pieces. A living room might be doubling up as a guest room, a home office, or a playroom, so will need to cater to all of these.

12. Paint The Fifth Wall The Same Color

‘Ceiling ideas can add another layer of interest and make a small living room feel bigger. All too often they are an afterthought but we make sure to consider their potential,’ confides interior designer Nicola Harding. Using statement color and paint ideas on the ceiling helped extend the walls in this tiny living room.

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