Small Apartment Living Room Decorating Ideas

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No Area Too Small is a column by Laura Fenton that celebrates the concept you could dwell nicely in a small dwelling. Every month, Laura will share her sensible findings from years of observing how individuals dwell in tight areas, and her personal on a regular basis experiences of dwelling small—from the hunt for the proper tiny desk to the best way to handle on a regular basis muddle.


I’ve lived in eight totally different residences since I arrived in New York Metropolis greater than twenty years in the past, they usually’ve all been variations of small, tiny, miniscule, or petite. In a single studio, my bed room, front room, eating area, and kitchen had been all crammed into lower than 200 sq. ft. By all of it, I’ve realized the best way to make small dwelling areas serve a number of features—with out feeling cramped.

In my present dwelling, our front room serves as our dwelling space, a house workplace, and a eating room (plus, an occasional playroom and residential exercise zone). The important thing to creating all of it work lies in each the format and the selection of furnishings. Listed below are my finest tricks to make a small front room work additional arduous:

Create zones

When a room serves many functions, it helps to have distinct zones inside your dwelling area. Create groupings throughout the room to outline, say an workplace space from the remainder of the principle dwelling space. There are numerous methods to outline an area inside an area, however an space rug is a traditional decorator trick. Utilizing a small area rug within the “front room” a part of our area helps to separate it from the “workplace” and the “eating room.”

Take into consideration circulate

Sure, “circulate” sounds slightly woo-woo, however what I imply is: It is vital to consider how individuals will transfer via the area. Is there sufficient room for somebody to comfortably prolong their chair out of the eating desk? To stroll between the sofa and the hallway? The unfavourable area is simply as vital as the position of the furnishings. In the event you’re assured sketching, drawing out a tough flooring plan will help you plot out your room.

Lean into cellular furnishings

Furnishings in a multi-use area will get moved round loads. For instance, our espresso desk pushes apart for dwelling exercises and our chairs shuffle round after we host. The very best cellular furnishings are sturdy but comparatively light-weight. In a long-ago studio condominium, I needed to transfer my espresso desk every evening to pull down the Murphy bed, so I mounted the desk on little casters to make it much more cellular. Home52 content material lead Arati Menon wrote about her quest for the perfect coffee table earlier this year, and the one she settled on is comparatively small and light-weight, so it’s simple to maneuver.

The case for a small sofa

In a small dwelling, a loveseat or sofa is commonly a more sensible choice than a full-size couch. The smaller couch will match higher in your diminutive digs, however it’ll even be a bit that you need to use later if you happen to graduate to extra space. Likewise, I needed to hunt for a aspect chair that was sufficiently small to take a seat within the slim path between the entryway and the “workplace” as a result of so many upholstered aspect chairs are giant.

And the argument for an even bigger one

After I moved out of my studio and at last had sufficient room, I invested in an actual, full-size couch. Certainly one of my necessities was that the sofa may comfortably sleep a tall grownup—since we don’t have a visitor room, our sofa would want to do double-duty as a sleeping spot. If a sofa is prone to be pushed right into a nook, an L-shape design could make higher use of your area than a settee and a chair.

Embody versatile seating

In the event you don’t have room for even the smallest arm chair, think about stacking stools or flooring cushions for while you host. My good friend Vanessa lived for years in a teeny-tiny one bed room, and when she hosted our ebook membership, half of us would sit on the ground cushions for an excellent cozy hold. My pal Alison Mazurek, who blogs at 600 Sq Ft and a Baby is a fan of the uber-slim Pocket folding chairs from Useful resource Furnishings, which might simply be stashed in a closet.

Assume clearly

Make a few of your furnishings visually disappear by selecting see-through furnishings. Glass, lucite, and acrylic items open up the look of a cramped area; I particularly like waterfall-style lucite espresso tables and consoles for his or her simplicity.

Bonus: Clear furnishings appears to be like nice with nearly any model of decor.

Collect ’spherical

Picture by Weston Wells

There are numerous eating desk choices for a small area, together with particular tables that fold away when not in use, and those who increase with the addition of a leaf. Nevertheless, I consider probably the most versatile answer is an easy, spherical pedestal desk. Tellingly, six out of the 12 houses featured in my book about small spaces had some variation on a tulip-style desk. Spherical tables take up much less flooring area than their rectangular counterparts whereas providing simply as a lot seating, and a pedestal design beats one with a number of legs as a result of you’ll be able to squeeze in additional diners.

Tip: A 42-inch desk can match 4, however if in case you have room for a 48-inch mannequin, like we do, you’ll have the ability to comfortably seat six (and as many as eight if your mates don’t thoughts getting shut).

Search out comfy eating chairs

In the event you’re going to make your eating desk do double-duty as a sometimes-home workplace, you want a severely comfy eating chair. I ended up promoting our beloved caned bentwood chairs as a result of they simply weren’t comfy to take a seat in for a very long time. The extra strong spindle-back strong wooden chairs we changed them with are nearly comfy sufficient for a full day of WFH. Plus, in case your eating chairs are extra cozy, they’ll be higher suited to changing into sitting chairs when you entertain in your small space.

Make the most of corners

Picture by Weston Wells

We turned an unused nook into an workplace with the assistance of a classic nook desk, however we may have simply as simply used a nook as a eating nook with benches in opposition to the wall, or as a library nook. I’m a giant fan of furnishings designed particularly to suit into corners, to take the perfect benefit of this area.

Zoom out for the large image

If issues simply don’t really feel proper it doesn’t matter what you do, attempt taking pictures of your area. Typically seeing a room in 2D will help you notice what’s not working. One trick I’ve realized from designers is to attempt for symmetry. In a photograph it’ll be extra clear if a desk must shift just a few inches or in case your mismatched aspect tables are making the room really feel lopsided.

What’s a styling trick that has remodeled your small front room? Inform us within the feedback.

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