Small Living Room Decorating Tips

Why Is Decorating a Small Living Room So Hard?

It can be difficult to decorate a small living room, I know this first hand! My home is only 804 sq. ft. so every space is a challenge to take on. You don’t want your space to feel cluttered and at the same time you want the space to feel cozy and inviting. When you go to the store every piece of furniture just seems too big and bulky and now you feel stuck. So how do you move forward decorating your small space, and making it fun?! Here you will find a few key tips to keep in mind that will make your small living space perfect and personalized for you.

grey couch, striped pillows


Natural Light & Small Spaces

I never knew how hard it was to pick out a paint color until I actually had to! No…seriously. I see a paint color in someone else’s house and love the way it looks, so I try it in my space and it looks totally different! What the heck?! The reason for this is likely the direction in which the natural light comes into your room. In a south facing room colors will look warmer, in a north facing room colors will look much cooler. The perfect paint color for me and my space might not be the perfect color for you and yours! To make your small living room look bigger I recommend sticking with neutral colors, bold colors can make the space feel closed in. When in doubt, go light and bright! It will always make your space feel bigger and elongated.

cream tufted ottoman with textured blanket

Paint Colors for a Small Living Room

My living room is the dreaded north facing room which makes it impossible to pick a color. Almost everything you pick will pull cool since the natural light here is blue toned. I knew I wanted a straight up neutral grey, I didn’t want anything that was going to pull warm or cool. I went through close to 15 paint samples before I found my perfect color! First you need to decide how you want the undertone of your paint to look. Do you want cool, warm, or neutral? Second you want to determine where the natural light is coming from in your space. North, South, East, West? A combination of these? To keep things cozy I would lean warm neutral, but it’s all personal preference! The color I chose for my small living room is Benjamin Moore Silver Chain, a beautiful neutral grey.

grey tufted armchair with unfinished wood side table, candle, demijohn, and reading glasses

Selecting Furniture For a Small Living Room

This is the hardest part. When I went couch shopping to find something for my small living room I felt completely overwhelmed and every sectional looked massive. I immediately felt discouraged thinking I would never find anything that would fit in my small space. In the end I went the custom route, but you don’t have to! They have options like this at the bigger box stores if you are looking for a more cost effective alternative. I had the unfortunate challenge of selecting furniture during a pandemic which meant lead times were crazy and everything was sold out.

Next you have to think about what you plan to use your space for. Will you be using this space for company and guests? Will it only be for you when you want to veg out and watch tv? What about a combination of the two? In the end I went with an “L” shaped couch. This comfortably seats 4 people and the best part is I can lay down completely in both directions (Talk about a win!). You want to make sure you will have at least 2-3 feet of walking space in the aisle around your couch or it will feel too bulky. It is still possible to have a comfy sectional in a small space!

grey couch with English arm, striped pillows, cream ottoman, picture window

Additional Living Room Furniture

Besides the couch it can be difficult to select other living room furniture like chairs, coffee tables, side tables, etc. I went with an ottoman so I could kick my feet up, but if that isn’t important to you a coffee table would work great! Before buying these additional pieces you want to make sure you measure, measure measure! These additional pieces should work around your couch (the main focal piece of furniture in the room). You want to ensure they are not only coordinated to the theme of the space but they aren’t too big that they make the space feel closed off.

grey tufted armchair, unfinished wood table, lamp, and farmhouse wall decor

Eliminate Clutter!

This one is so important! The farmhouse and modern farmhouse style can quickly feel cluttered with little decor pieces everywhere. You don’t have to be minimal, but you want to find a nice balance in between where there is just enough decor, not too little or too much. I like to have a space hidden away for things like DVD’s, remotes, games, etc. and even my cable boxes are hidden away so that the decor can really take center stage. I like to decorate in the rule of 3’s and make sure there aren’t more than 3 pieces of decor in a given space. You will find the right balance for your space by playing around with this and moving decor pieces all around the room until you find the spot that is just right! I like to shop my own home, I will take pieces from other rooms like my bedroom or my office and see how they fit in my living room until I find the perfect fit

unfinished wood table with candle, reading glasses, and demijohn

Don’t Be Afraid of Texture and Patterns

Sometimes textures and patterns can be really distracting and can add to making a space feel cluttered. Don’t be afraid! Adding texture and patterns can make your space feel cozy, inviting, and adds an extra dimension. Just be careful that you don’t go too crazy! Patterns and textures can often clash if you aren’t careful. My go-to for adding textures and patterns to a space are striped pillows, textured throws, and waffle knit everything! If you go with a patterned pillow pick a simple throw to pair it with. If you pick a simple pillow you can go a little more wild with your throw option. It is all about balance. If you have more than one pillow in the space you want to make sure you mix and match so you don’t have all textured/patterned pillows, there should be some simpler pillows thrown into the mix to anchor the space.

textured coasters, mango wood tray, tufted grey armchair

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Meet Michelle

Hi! I'm Michelle, the author of! Join me in my journey of turning this fixer-upper into a cozy little home! I will be sharing my favorite ways to decorate small spaces, yummy recipes, my favorite home decor, DIY's, and more!

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