So often in life we think that “bigger is better” when it comes to living spaces, closets, garages and the like. However, a small space can be a blessing in disguise. I would know firsthand as I just bought my first home. The living room is tiny, but very functional. At first, I had a hard time imagining it. Being long and thin, it wasn’t a square so it would require extra creativity. If you’re designing a living room from a clean slate or just refreshing the one you have, I hope the tips below are helpful.
One of my favorite furniture companies is Article. I’ve been a fan of them for years, and my last velvet couch was from there as well as my dining table. They truly do offer high quality pieces at great prices in my favorite styles of Scandinavian, Industrial and Boho modern. Somehow, their designs mix seamlessly with other brands you might have in your home already. Their designs don’t look like everything else out there, and they are the masters at making the right sizes of furniture for rooms of any size.
When starting a design project, I always begin with a few main questions.
What is the “main” piece?
What is the one piece that will catch your eye first upon walking in? What piece “centers and grounds” the room? I have fond memories of my parent’s worn, soft leather sofa growing up. So I chose Article’s Timber Charme Tan Chocolate Left Sectional.
With kids, I knew it would wear well, and although it’s a greater investment than a fabric sofa, I know it will last a lifetime. Upholstered in full-aniline, Italian-tanned leather with oak wooden trim and a soft foam and down filling, it is so comfortable and cozy—certified for Netflix marathons!
Upholstered in full-aniline, Italian-tanned leather with oak wooden trim and a soft foam and down filling, it is so comfortable and cozy—certified for Netflix marathons!
How does the seating curate a social space?
Next, I look at seating in a living room. There should be enough seating in a non-awkward arrangement. I chose chairs that compliment one another. These Livia Natural Lounge Chairs are casual but chic and have a lightweight look to them (with a durable synthetic binding), allowing your eyes to see through them—creating an illusion of more space.
To make them cozy, I threw these Lanna Ivory Sheepskin Throws on top for a soft and inviting feel. At only $169 each, these chairs make a perfect addition to any room.
For the other side of the fireplace, this Embrace Moss Green Chair made the perfect statement piece—the rich, jewel tone adds a pop to the room and the texture adds a soothing element. With a solid wood frame and black metal legs, it is made of soft foam and creates a perfect reading nook.
How do the flat spaces give way to comfort?
Being comfortable in a room is highly dependent on the surfaces. Where do you set your glass? Is a table big enough for a book? How does a table add to the room? I chose this Narro Brass Side Table made of Italian Carrera marble, natural stone with a nickel-plated brass top to add three new textures to the room. It is subtle, the perfect height next to the armchair and durable.
The Silicus Coffee Table was a great choice due to being oblong. In a small space, the table that accompanies the couch can’t overwhelm the room. It is also really light feeling, similar to the chairs, letting air and light float through the room.
In a small space, the table that accompanies the couch can’t overwhelm the room.
I also chose the Silicus Light Gray Side Table to tie in the corner of the couch and allow another space for a guest to set down a drink or their phone easily.
How do you choose a rug?
Wood floors are beautiful, but they can be stiff and cold feeling if there is no rug to sit on occasionally. It’s always nice to sit on the couch with softness under your feet. I chose this hand-tufted McGee and Co. Wilshire Rug in size 5×7 so that it wouldn’t cover up too much of the pretty oak but still give some warmth to the room.
What about the details?
The reason I chose a more muted tone rug was so I could go with more colorful artwork without overwhelming the room—a poster I got at the Zoo in Copenhagen and other simple, abstract artwork.
Another trick to making a small room larger is by using mirrors. I fell in love with this Wylie Arched Mirror by McGee and Co. The arch is so unique and the brass tone compliments the brown leather on the couch.
As far as small décor items, I always love rooms that feel clean and minimal, but believe it or not, that’s hard to achieve! It involves taking away (and taking away more), which I tend to struggle with. It’s about choosing statement pieces that are the right size for the space they occupy and create design synergy, not disruption.
What are the finishing touches?
Lighting and plants! Indoor plants can be tough to keep alive, but not if they have enough light and don’t get too much water. Some of these plants I’ve had for years, but I also discovered Bloomscape and fell in love! They send you beautiful plants at great prices in cute, modern colored pots!
The Dracaena Marginata Open Weave Tree behind the green chair is unique and fun. The Fiddle Leaf Fig is classic and elegant, while the small little accent plants add perfect pops of green and life to the room.
As far as lighting, the most important thing is bringing in the right shade of light bulb! There are so many options, but choosing something warm and bright enough is needed for reading. The Lisson Brass Floor Lamp next to the couch from Article is the perfect height for reading and the top swivels.
As far as lighting, the most important thing is bringing in the right shade of light bulb!
This HAY Matin Table Lamp is absolutely gorgeous with its conical pleated shade top and streamlined polished brass base, creating a modern take on a classic silhouette. The red adds a beautiful pop of color to the room. The style comes in multiple colors and even has a dimmer switch to adjust brightness.
These beautiful sconces by Cedar and Moss create design asymmetry around the fireplace, and the brass is soothing and warm.
Last but not least, make sure you throw a soft cotton blanket like this one from Morrow Soft Goods over your couch!
There you have it! A room that’s small, but now functional, warm and inviting. Next step: learn to host well in your own home and create a cozy space for good conversations and fond memories.
What is one room in your house that you would renovate if you could? What tricks do you have for decorating a small space?
Images via Darling