Our favourite interior designs share their top tips and tricks for tiny living rooms.Make the most of a small living room by planning a hard-working layout, keeping accessories to a minimum and picking the right color scheme.‘As well as the mirrors making the room feel bigger, they also reflect the greenery outside and bring it in,' explains Henriette Von Stockhausen, founder and creative director at UK-based VSP Interiors.'So I have used botanical fabrics with green and a bright white background for a fresh spring feel.The beautiful brass accents that are a major design feature in this space help to distract the eye from the size of the living room.‘Our client wanted to create a more formal reception and entertaining space, but at the same time keeping it light and airy so it could be used throughout the day.If there’s one thing that’s going to create the illusion of more space, it’s decluttering – it can actually make a room feel wider in seconds.Make sure you keep your room tidy and organized by removing toys, plants, knickknacks and other unnecessary items, and your space will instantly feel bigger and more pleasant to be in.A room that's crammed full of 'belongings' takes up space, making it feel disorderly, busy and small.Try and keep the floor as clear as possible, too, as it’s one of the easiest ways to maintain a sense of spaciousness, so remove any oversized rugs.This small, yet perfectly formed living room in a stucco fronted townhouse in London’s Chelsea was created by interior designer Henry Prideaux for an American client.A scheme featuring cleverly selected furniture pieces layered together with textured rugs and tactile fabrics can create a really inviting and comfortable space even if square footage is compromised.'Sophisticated artwork and eye catching accessories can be displayed to provide lots of interesting little vignettes throughout.'.Try sheer window treatments or install white wooden blinds or shutters to let the natural light flow into your room during the day, while simultaneously providing nighttime privacy.Dark corners can make a room appear small and cramped so position a floor or table lamp in a bare corner to visually expand the area, while recessed ceiling lights can illuminate an entire room without taking up much space.If you can't find a brand new sofa you love, but your old couch looks a little tired and a little tatty round the edges, then why not have it re-upholstered instead of investing in a new one?And this is where the trick comes in – if you make your sofa the focal point of your living room it will detract the eye from the size of your space.A bold and vibrant shade will give your living room impact – then accessorize accordingly to pull the key colour throughout the rest of the scheme.Furniture can be a cumbersome business, especially in narrow rooms, so it pays to arrange and buy items correctly.Another important pointer is to place large pieces of furniture against walls so the open space in the middle is not broken up.When decorating small spaces, hang a mirror on a wall opposite a window or very near one to reflect the outdoors, broadening the feel of your room.We love the design contradiction between this beautiful feminine shade called Nancy’s Blushes and the visually heaviness of the mahogany sofa and eye-catching Old Master’s style portraits in the bohemian living room pictured above.Keeping furniture in line eases the mind as Liv Wallers from British design studio, Yellow London explains:.It brings a sense of comfort and rhythm to a space which is an integral part of our design approach.Matching your blind or curtain fabric to your sofa is becoming a trend we love, especially when pattern and print is really to the fore in the design world currently.It works in a smaller living room when the background color to the print is pale, and in this instance with Colefax & Fowler’s Callista fabric it also brings the outside in so that helps to create an airy feel in tandem with the white painted walls that act like a blank canvas.A rug can visually draw together the furniture in a space, giving a room focus and adding comfort.While a focal point that contrasts with the rest of the scheme can be visually interesting, disguising the awkward layout, something like quirky piece of art, coffee table or striking lampshade.It plays on the visual aspect and draws your eye through to another space – and not having a door helps to make a room feel large too.Avoid hanging pictures high on the longer wall as they will just highlight the imbalance in the proportions, instead choose art that can sit wide but low over the couch for example, to bring the eye level down and help make the room seem wider.It’s always effective to use a palette of light living room colors, but in different materials and textures.But in fact, multiple zones and features create a perception of different spaces within one room.Try to stick to a neutral living room scheme in smaller spaces, introducing splashes of color with accessories.In my experience, small spaces can actually transform personal habits for the better, as they require careful editing and storage.Choose one large-scale piece – a huge cabinet, an oversized lampshade or a wall to ceiling mirror for a small living room.By choosing carefully these large accessories will draw attention away from the lack of space and focus the eye onto other things.'The lines created by the area rug, the trunk coffee table and the bookshelves all direct the eye to the fireplace wall,' says H&G's Editor in Chief Lucy Searle.'The huge main picture and those around it accentuate the width of the wall, uncomplicated by a fire surround.This creates a simple visual trick of making a really quite (beautifully) cluttered room feel very well planned – its size isn't even an issue.'.Decorating with primary colors is a wonderful way to add to create a successful small living room scheme because it allows you to create a space-stretching neutral room, but with more exciting pops of color in accessories that you can swap in and out depending on your mood.Decorating with stripes is another clever way to make small living rooms feel larger.Use dark, richly colored furniture, flooring and statement artwork to add depth and interest to an otherwise simple scheme.Channel this contemporary take on a classic look by making bold and vibrant patterns the stars – even in a small living room.Combing a variety of prints but all in greens and whites ensures this room feels calm and not overwhelming.A sense of scale is a key principle for successful interior design – try mixing it up to have fun with your small living room.They key to good living room seating ideas in small spaces is to avoid a couch that is too large.To avoid colors merging into one and looking bland, layer on the texture with lots of tactile finishes and weaves with plush damasks and chenilles on curtains and upholstery.‘Keep the lighting as soft and warm as possible too, use wall lights or table lamps and avoid too many spotlights, as they can make a small living room feel stark and imposing in a space that’s purpose is for relaxation,’ advises Camilla Clarke, creative director at Albion Nord .We asked Emma Deterding, founder and creative director at Kelling Designs her thoughts on working with scale in a small living room:.A statement ceiling light can be just as effective in a compact space, helping to create a focal point, and using floor and table lamps to supplement this will brighten up corners to make the room feel brighter whilst giving the illusion of space.You’ve probably spent hours rearranging furniture in a frenzied attempt to make your rectangular space look more square, but in the back of your mind you know that unless you knock down the walls and rebuild the room from scratch, there’s just nothing you can do.'Consider finishing the walls in polished plaster, a material that reflects light and increases visual perception of space.A carefully designed living room that incorporates plenty of concealed storage and furniture that is tailored to the space as in the living room pictures above can achieve a sense of comfort and convenience that belies a modest square footage.The key to perfectly executed small living room ideas lies in a little forward planning.
Raymond R. James