For many inhabitants of studio apartments and small homes, the question is not just how to make the living room furniture layout work; it’s how to make it all work in a way that serves ten purposes while still leaving room to breathe.
A living room is often the hub of a house. But when it’s cramped and narrow, choosing and arranging furniture can feel like an impossible math problem. The good news is that it’s possible to have a small living room that can do it all and still feel (relatively) spacious.
Scale Down Furniture
In a narrow living room, every piece of furniture matters. Choose leaner tables and wall sconces to save much-needed floor space. For seating, tight-back sofas and club chairs are your friends, says Murphy: “They can be a lot less deep than loose-back options while still being just as comfortable.” Consider wall-mounted shelves and a floating desk over bulky bookcases and workstations.
Accentuate the Room’s Best Features
New York interior designer Christina Murphy approaches a small living room strategically: “Assessing the room’s assets and making those the focal point as much as possible is the best way to make the room appealing,” she says. If it’s got great light, play that up with lighter colors to create a sense of expansiveness; if it has a stunning fireplace, draw attention to it.
Use Decor to Add Visual Interest
“Having several different lighting sources at different heights will draw your eye to different areas of the room. Hence, making it feel bigger and more interesting,” says Murphy. She also recommends adding a larger attention-getter to balance scales, such as a piece of art or built-in bookshelves. Try an eye-catching gallery wall or artwork or mirrors, or add a bold accent wall or wallpaper.
Get Creative with the Layout
Limited space challenges you to think beyond seating conventions. “I love built-in banquettes since they’re efficient, maximizing space and conversation areas,” says Murphy. If the room is narrow but also long, she recommends placing sofas back-to-back to allow for two seating areas.
Try Café-Style Seating
If you’ve ever tried eating dinner at a coffee table. Therefore, you know it really impossible. Unless you don’t mind being hunched over so far your nose touches your knees. But a single person doesn’t need a massive dining room table to suit their needs on a daily basis. If your living room needs to also serve as the dining room, consider a round café table with two chairs. It can easily be pulled out from the wall to fit four in the event of a dinner party. Just by adding two folding chairs.