How to Furnish a Small Living Room

room setting with astaire sofa in sumner ivory, asher ottomans and boden chairs.

The basic building blocks of a traditional living space are fairly easy: sofa, coffee table, armchairs, lighting, rinse and repeat. But the space that really challenges—and delights—us is a small living room, where every piece has to earn its spot in the lineup. 

Ideas for a Small Living Space

Check out our tips for decorating and furnishing your small living room. Be sure to also take a look at our small-space seating guide for more inspiration. 

room setting including york sofa, otis swivel chair, ericson lounge chairs, chilton coffee table.
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1. Do the Math

You may have a taste for a bit of eclectic clutter, or perhaps prefer a clean, minimalist space. Either way, a few tried-and-true rules are good starting points in choosing your key pieces. The largest pieces—such as a sofa or a media cabinet—should take up no more than two-thirds of the wall behind it. The rule of thirds holds in other ways as well. In a harmoniously balanced space, wall art should fill two-thirds of the space it is in, lamps top out at two-thirds the height of a wall, and so on. 

Detail of Cade sectional in Banks Cement velvet in living room.
Cade sectional, Parks end table, Asher ottomans

2. Choose Multipurpose Items

Arranging your space with a few smaller pieces can actually feel more open than a single large piece. Check out our Parks side table that feels like artwork. Or tuck in ottomans such as our Lind or Asher as side and coffee tables (that double as seating when you have guests over). 

Room setting with Pierson 79-inch sofa with metal base and cooper 60-wode bench.
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3. Invite Nature to the Party

Decorating with plants—both in small pots as well as in large planters—make a room feel complete without taking up a lot of space.  

andre sofa in living room with large blue silkscreen print.
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4. Let Decor Do Some Heavy Lifting

The must-have sofa takes up a lot of visual space in a small room. Consider a neutral color to help the room feel seamless and more spacious. Harmonious elements in other large objects—like dark elements or exposed wood surfaces—go a long way to eliminating visual clutter. 

Check out our variety of textures and upholstery as you consider what should sync up in your smaller room, making it feel as unified as possible. And then unleash yourself to add oversized artwork, throw pillows and accent chairs to the mix. Of course, a well-sized rug always helps unify a space, creating the illusion of more room. 

Ready to start mix-and-matching? Check out all our small-space decorating resources, and of course, our experts are always on hand with free design services 

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