14 space-boosting design ideas for a small living room


From watching movies to entertaining guests, the living room plays an important, multifunctional role in the home, so it should not only be aesthetically pleasing but also ensure optimum comfort. If you have a small living room that feels cramped and claustrophobic, use these design strategies to maximise space and transform it into a stylish and comfortable zone.

1. Create an open-plan design

Create an open plan design that combines the living room with the dining area and kitchen. Instead of walls, use semi-open partitions, glass dividers, rugs or even planters to demarcate different zones without closing them off from each other visually.

Architect Manoj Patel created a colourful open plan living and dining room in this Vadodara home. A faux courtyard occupies pride of place in the centre of the apartment. Photo: Sudhir Parmar Photography/Manoj Patel Design Studio

2. Make sure that the furniture is proportionate to the size of the room

Sleek pieces of furniture with a limited footprint can make a small living room feel more spacious. Opt for furniture that rest on legs as they create the impression of visual space.

3. Choose low-height sofas 

Low-height sofas can make the ceilings look higher and allow the living room to appear more spacious.

4. Choose soft neutral shades for the sofa upholstery

You can incorporate splashes of colour with cushions or an accent chair. Stain-resistant fabrics or faux leather are durable and easier to maintain.

This Bengaluru apartment is swathed in pastel hues of millennial pink, textured beige and neutral grey. Photo: Justin Sebastian/Thomas Parambil Architects

5. Purchase pieces of living room furniture that are easily moveable

Light pieces of furniture that can be moved around allow you to create a dynamic layout that can be changed according to your needs. Have a two or three-seater sofa placed against a wall with two chairs on the sides or consider an L-shaped or U-shaped furniture layout as per the shape and size of the living room.

6. Paint the walls in ivory or beige 

Neutral colours will allow light to bounce around the room and make the space appear larger. Create a cohesive colour scheme that binds the furniture, walls and accessories together.

7. Use built-in cabinets and shelves for storage

Incorporate space-saving solutions like built-in cabinets or furniture with built-in storage while designing a small living room. For example, consider ottomans and coffee tables with provisions for hidden storage. Install shelves in architectural niches to display books or accessories.