If you live in a place with limited space, whether it’s an apartment or a small house, good design often takes a backseat to more practical considerations. How does one plan a living room layout that includes all the essentials and still has enough space for other activities? Of course, we could pack the space to the rafters, but we also want a room that feels spacious and comfortable, not cramped and suffocating.
Real estate in the big city is expensive, and small spaces are a normal part of city life. Arranging your living room can seem like a series of compromises and hard decisions. But good design isn’t about the size of the furniture or how many you can fit in a space. It’s all about making smart design choices that will help you achieve your goals even with limited space.
For instance, one way to make the most of your space is to pick pieces that can serve multiple purposes, like a sleeper sofa or a computer desk with built-in shelves. You also have to think of creative ways to arrange furniture to ensure no square foot is wasted. And just because you’re designing a small space doesn’t mean there’s no room for decor. A mirror can make your room look bigger and help spread light throughout the space.
Here are a few design methods that will help you maximize your living room.
1. Use rugs to designate zones
If the living room is more of a common area than a space for sitting and TV, you can use rugs to delineate the room’s different zones. For instance, you can use one rug for the couch and coffee table, and a different one for the computer desk. That way, you’ll have a visual reminder that you’re moving from one area into another, instead of having one confusing multipurpose room.
2. Turn a console into a desk
Instead of having to choose between getting a desk or a console table, you can combine both functions in one piece of furniture. Look for a console table that’s wide enough to hold all your essentials while low enough to function as a desk. A mirror or a painting above the console table will provide a decorative focal point, and you can easily turn the table into a makeshift desk. Make sure to partner the piece with a stylish chair or an ottoman.
3. Use a round table
In most studio apartments, your living room also has to double as a dining space. However, coffee tables aren’t exactly the most comfortable place to eat, nor is it the most practical. A small two-seater round table should solve all your dining problems without taking too much space. And if you’re having guests over, you can double your capacity by using folding chairs. Put the table next to the kitchen for a sense of continuity.
4. Push furniture against the wall
One easy trick to make your living room seem bigger is to place big pieces such as a bookshelf or a couch against the wall. That way, you’ll have more space in the middle for a coffee table and extra chairs. You can also easily set the other pieces aside if you need room for activities such as yoga. Just make sure to keep the windows unobstructed for maximum light.
5. Use item height to create visual interest
While there’s some merit to keeping everything uniform and level, it might not be the right design choice for a small living room. You want a space that’s both functional and interesting. For instance, using a mix of floor lamps and sconces helps create different mini focal points for the space. Choose one main centerpiece and accentuate with smaller pieces. You can also use paints and wallpaper to make the room look more dynamic and lively.
6. Pick smaller pieces
Full-sized furniture eats up too much space, something you don’t have much of if you live in a small home. Picking smaller pieces allows you to make use of your living room without the footprint. If you know where to buy good furniture, scaling down need not be a painful compromise. There are many options out there designed for urban homes with limited space.
The bottom line
These things will help you make the most of your limited space. A studio apartment can be as functional and stylish as a two-bedroom or a penthouse with planning and patience. You need to be more creative when planning a layout, choosing the pieces, and designing the space.