40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (2024)

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Megan McCarty

40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (1)

Megan McCarty

Megan is a writer, editor, etc.-er, with over 13 years of experience in both print and digital media. She regularly contributes to design-focused outlets such as MyDomaine, Architectural Digest, Domino, House & Home, and Hunker.

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Updated on 01/04/24

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40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (2)

Looking for small apartment living room ideas to make the most of your limited square footage? Maximizing a petite room means avoiding oversized furniture that will leave you with zero floor space, while also being careful not to leave your guests without a place to sit, either. With smart storage, consideration for scale, and a little courage, you can pack a lot of style in a small space.

From adding storage through clever accessories, sleek shelving, and hidden hacks, to choosing the right furniture to suit your room's scale to planning an efficient layout and not skimping on style, there are countless ways to make your small living room magazine-worthy.

Scroll on for 40 design ideas that’ll maximize every inch of your petite apartment living room.

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    Go Bold With a Gallery Wall

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    To pack a punch of personality into your small space, go big and bold with a wall-to-wall gallery wall.

    “You’ll want to pick one really large piece that paves the way for the surrounding pieces and build out around it,” Yoselin Castro, senior interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors, says “One of my favorite things when it comes to building gallery walls is filling in the small gaps with textural decor—think a clock, macrame hanging, or metal links.”

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  • 02 of 40

    Devise a Spot to Work From Home

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    With working from home a new part of our routines, including a desk in your small living room may seem like an unrealistic dream. Take it from this Studio London Co.-designed living room in New York City: it's not.

    Nestled between the couch and the window is a barely-there but incredibly useful desk. The desk's slim silhouette is spacious enough to spread out during the work day, but blends into the background once you close your laptop.

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  • 03 of 40

    Hang a Standout Light Fixture

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    If you'd prefer to keep your walls bare, take a risk with an eye-catching light fixture, like Mary Patton did in this living room. It's a sculptural standout, drawing the eye up, so you can keep the rest of the room on the simpler side.

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  • 04 of 40

    Layer a Rug Over Carpet

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    Most of us have been there, stuck in an apartment with less-than-ideal carpeting. If you're renting, pulling it up and refinishing the floors isn't an option, but covering much of it up with a rug is.

    This living room fromK Shan Design is a perfect example of how to layer a rug over carpet. Not only would a rug hide most of the carpet in your living room, but it'll muffle sound between you and your downstairs neighbor and add an extra soft landing for your feet too.

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  • 05 of 40

    Add Lots of Versatile Seating Options

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    You may not have the space for an oversized sectional, but there are plenty of other ways to include seating options in your small living room. Loveseats are always a great idea, and so are stools that can be moved around (or out of) the space, depending on your entertaining needs.

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  • 06 of 40

    Make it Monochromatic

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (8)

    To create an airy apartment living room, no matter how big or small it is, keeping everything (from wall color to furniture to window treatments) in shades of white will always make it feel roomier than the square footage suggests.

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  • 07 of 40

    Paint the Ceiling

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (9)

    It may seem risky to paint the ceiling in a small space. Won't that make it look smaller? That depends on the color. This icy blue, painted both on the walls and ceiling by Joshua Smith Inc., bounces around this petite living room thanks to the sunshine streaming through the windows, making for a cohesive space.

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  • 08 of 40

    Embrace the Space With a Dark and Moody Feel

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (10)

    When designing your small apartment living room, you have to start with one question. Do you want a light and bright space or a dark and moody one? If you opt for the latter, a cozy alternative to an airy living room, take notes from this JF Gardemal Designs space: textured eggplant wallpaper and blackout curtains are the keys to creating this mood.

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  • 09 of 40

    Use Muted Tones

    Clean lines, natural materials, and muted tones—that's the recipe for this living room's zen vibe. It's part of a San Francisco condo designed by Cathie Hong Interiors, who used smart storage (like that wall-mounted Danish midcentury bookshelf and freestanding book tower) to make the most of every inch. The results are enviable and inspiring.

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    Lean Into Parisian Vibes

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (12)

    Oh-so-chic Parisians have lived with small living rooms for centuries. When in doubt, take in this Anastasia Casey-designed space, which we could imagine in Le Marias, and ask yourself: what would a Parisian do?

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  • 11 of 40

    Arrange Art on Floating Shelves

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (13)

    Hanging art is great. Leaning art, some may say, is even better. Casually leaning matching frames on slim floating shelves, like in this living room designed by Curated Nest Interiors, makes for a cohesive look that is far from cluttered.

    Tip

    Best yet, it's all too easy to switch out frames, giving your space an immediate makeover without leaving holes in your walls.

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  • 12 of 40

    Take a Chance on an Adventurous Color

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    Never thought you'd own a pink couch? The confines of a small apartment living room just may be the perfect space to stretch your design comfort zone. Take this Scandinavian living room fromFantastic Frankas inspiration.

    The rosy hue, used in the plump (and petite) loveseat and accented in the artwork, are anything but juvenile-feeling. Instead, the unexpected color warms up the modern touches, like the geometric pendant light and the stone coffee table.

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  • 13 of 40

    Opt for a Sofa Sleeper

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    Just because your apartment living room is on the smaller side doesn't mean you need to forego hosting guests. Take it from this apartment designed by Christina Loucks. It features a great sleeper sofa that easily turns the couch into a bed your guests would happily crash on.

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  • 14 of 40

    Create a Seamless Open Concept Space

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (16)

    If your living room is also your dining room, make the most of the combined space with a cohesive design that doesn't visually chop up the already tight quarters. Here, BHDM Design kept the couch, dining room table, and all the furniture in between in the same sleek color family, creating a seamless open concept look.

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  • 15 of 40

    Paint it Black

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (17)

    Feeling brave? A small apartment living room is a golden opportunity to make bold design decisions—like painting the entire room black. That's whatLouis Duncan-He Designs did for this living room. The matte black paint creates a cool and dramatic backdrop for equally-as-exciting furnishings, like a rust-colored couch and a feathery floor lamp.

    The 11 Best Storage Ottomans of 2024

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    Integrate Vintage Furniture

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (18)

    Is there anything more satisfying than responding, "Oh, it's vintage" to a guest fawning over your you-name-it? Investing in vintage furniture and art, like the extra special pieces in this London apartment fromEmilie Fournet Interiors, takes some scouting, but brings a je ne sais quoi to any space—especially a small living room.

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  • 17 of 40

    Hang Uniform Art

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    Small apartment living rooms can look cluttered fast. That's not the case with this clean, airy space by BHDM Design. Partially to thank for that is the neatly hung art, uniform and perfectly in place.

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  • 18 of 40

    Embrace Awkward Angles

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    Look at a triangular footprint, like the one featured in this Manhattan apartment, as a welcome challenge. It forces you to be intentional about your furnishings, creating a cozy conversation corner that doesn't detract from the stunning city views.

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    Go for Gauzy Window Treatments

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    Instead of heavy drapery, which could make a small space feel even smaller, Mary Patton Design kept the window treatments in this apartment living room light and airy. They filter sunlight, provide privacy, and inspire a grand feeling in the space.

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  • 20 of 40

    Prioritize the View

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (22)

    Who cares about the size of your apartment living room when you have a view like this? BHDM Design kept the furnishings and flourishes in this space minimal, so nothing distracts from that view.

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  • 21 of 40

    ​​Add a Pair of Matching Loveseats

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    A small apartment living room won't allow you to indulge in an oversized sectional. Instead, invest in matching loveseats, which you can arrange to face one another for optimal conversation and cuddling.

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  • 22 of 40

    Keep Furnishings Minimal

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    If you're afraid of overwhelming your small apartment living room, start with minimal furnishings: a couch, a coffee table, a lamp, and a plant. From there you can build on until you feel like the space is properly furnished without cluttering the space.

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  • 23 of 40

    Mix and Match Bold Patterns

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (25)

    For a serious jolt of personality in your living room, put a pattern to work. Then maybe another pattern too. Take this Travis Londons / Studio London-designed space as inspiration. The oh-so-fun zigzag wallpaper creates a statement wall behind the couch, with the pattern elongating the look of the room, while the diamond-patterned rug complements it with a similar-but-different feel.

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  • 24 of 40

    Trade a Couch for a Daybed

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (26)

    Couches can be clunky, especially when placed in a small apartment living room. That's not the case with this sleek and understated daybed in this bright, airy Swedish apartment from Fantastic Frank. Outfitted with cushions and linens, it serves double duty as a couch and as a spot for guests to crash.

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  • 25 of 40

    Add Storage With Book Shelves

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (27)

    Bless bookshelves. Not only do they provide storage for books (of course), but they are also a genius use of space to house framed photos, plants, and knick-knacks—all without taking up too much precious space.

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  • 26 of 40

    Incorporate (Lots of) Plants

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (28)

    No matter how small your living room is, there's always room for a plant, or two, or 10. Plants add much-needed life to spaces of all sizes, just like this London apartment living room fromEmilie Fournet Interiors. If you're short on square footage, look up. Hanging plants draw the eye up while saving you precious floor space.

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  • 27 of 40

    Camouflage the TV in a Gallery Wall

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (29)

    With just a quick glance at this gallery wall, your eyes will barely register that the TV is placed in the middle of it. What a smart way to blend a TV in your design. That's what this living area of this Brooklyn studio apartment that blogger Annie Diamond ofMost Lovely Thingshelped design for her daughter Madeline does. Use the television as the anchor, then arrange wall art of various (but slightly smaller) sizes around it.

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  • 28 of 40

    Connect Spaces With a Large Area Rug

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (30)

    A rug is a must for any apartment living room, not only for aesthetic purposes, but also to muffle the sounds of your footsteps for your downstairs neighbor. Here, BHDM Design outfitted the entire floor, from the living room through the dining area, with one oversized rug, which makes the space seem bigger than it is.

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  • 29 of 40

    Work With—Not Against—Slanted Walls

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (31)

    If your apartment is tucked into the top floor of a house, you may be working within the confines of slanted walls. The key? Work with them, not against them. Low-profile furniture is your friend; it'll neatly tuck into the part with the shorter ceiling.

    There are plenty more design tips to take from this Nantucket living room from interior designerKara Manntoo, from the graphic black-and-white rug to the natural wood accents and the overall relaxed vibe—perfect for winding down and cozying up.

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  • 30 of 40

    Be Aware Of Your Windows' Height

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (32)

    Get your tape measure out. The last thing you want to do in a small living room is block any of the windows—they are key to making a room feel bigger. ThisFantastic Frank-designed living room handles the window with serious grace, tucking the sofa (with the exact height and length dimensions needed for this room) perfectly underneath.

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  • 31 of 40

    Paint Halfway Up The Walls

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (33)

    Leave it to interior designer extraordinaire Leanne Ford Interiorsto add an unexpected twist to the walls of this living room. By painting a warm beige tone two-thirds of the way up the walls, the space is immediately modernized and made to feel bigger than it truly is. The results are refreshing, effortlessly working to ground the seating area while simultaneously making the ceilings feel taller. Win/win.

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  • 32 of 40

    Reconsider Wood Paneling

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (34)

    Forget everything you think you know about wood paneling. The living room of this Scandinavian country house fromFantastic Frankwill surely change your mind. It doesn't have to look dated or cheap, and it doesn't have to make a room feel smaller either. With light, bright, wide wooden boards and plenty of sunlight streaming in from the windows, this small living room feels fresh, tranquil, and nothing like the wood paneled basem*nts of yesteryear.

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  • 33 of 40

    Consider Scale

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (35)

    Playing with scale in a small apartment living room is a delicate balance. You don't want to overwhelm the room, but you don't want to solely feature dainty pieces either. A good place to start: an oversized light fixture, like this pendant in this living room fromFantastic Frank.

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  • 34 of 40

    Have Fun

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (36)

    No one says you have to take interior design seriously. Have fun designing your small apartment living room. Go ahead, hang colorful art! Show off a funky pattern! Encourage guests to sit on a knotted velvet pouf, like the one in this New York City living room designed byAlvin Wayne. Your living room, no matter its size, is meant to be enjoyed.

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  • 35 of 40

    Choose the Largest Sofa Possible

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (37)

    While you want to choose furniture that correctly suits the scale of your living room, that doesn't mean choosing the smallest sofa on the market. A tiny sofa can have a dollhouse effect, while choosing the largest sofa that works within your space can actually make your room seem bigger, especially if it's a light and airy white.

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  • 36 of 40

    Add Built-Ins

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    Storage is typically hard to come by in small spaces, but you can create an entire wall of storage without taking major square footage. Use bookshelves to create faux built-ins or install real built-ins. You'll only lose a few inches from the wall but you'll gain major storage space.

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  • 37 of 40

    Choose an Armless Sofa

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (39)

    Not only do you need to select a sofa that's the right scale for your space, but also the right silhouette. An armless sofa can make your space feel more airy and avoid disrupting the flow in your room.

    The 10 Best Sofas for Small Spaces of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

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  • 38 of 40

    Echo Textures Throughout the Room

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (40)

    An intentional small space will feel sophisticated and styled. One way to do that is to echo the same fabrics and textures throughout the space. In this room, a cognac leather sofa coordinates with the cognac leather ottoman next to the accent chair. This helps the small living room feel cohesive rather than thrown together.

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  • 39 of 40

    Balance Hard and Soft

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (41)

    Leggy wood and metal furniture feels light and airy, which is why it's used so often in small living rooms. But too much of it can create a cold look. Balance those harder materials with soft, cozy textures, including blankets, sheepskin throws, and drapery.

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  • 40 of 40

    Incorporate Chairs Into Your Layout

    40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (42)

    Even in the smallest of spaces, a seating option beyond the sofa will make a room feel more welcoming and comfortable. Try petite accent chairs or ottomans that can double as storage or seating.

FAQ

  • How do you arrange a small living room in an apartment?

    No matter how small the living room in an apartment is, make sure you have the necessities, including a sofa, at least one additional seat, and a coffee table (it can be small or unconventional!).

    This foolproof layout will not only be a comfortable room for you to relax in, but it allows you to host another guest or two.

  • How can I maximize space in my small apartment?

    Maximize space in your apartment by choosing furniture that's the right scale for your room. Furniture that's too big or too small will make your living room seem smaller. Additionally, choose items that can do double duty. A sectional that has hidden storage, an ottoman where you can store blankets, or a chair with a shelf underneath are all clever ideas for a small space.

  • Where should I put my couch and TV in a small apartment?

    A couch and TV in the living room is the best choice for a small apartment. If you're in a studio, the couch can go at the end of the bed. Place the TV across from the couch and mount it to the wall, if possible.

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Based on the information provided, here are some key concepts related to arranging and maximizing space in a small apartment living room:

  1. Avoid oversized furniture: In a small living room, it's important to choose furniture that is appropriately scaled for the space. Avoid oversized pieces that will take up too much floor space [[1]].

  2. Consider versatile seating options: While an oversized sectional may not be feasible in a small living room, there are other seating options to consider. Loveseats and stools that can be moved around or out of the space are great alternatives [[5]].

  3. Create an efficient layout: When arranging furniture in a small living room, consider the flow of the space and make sure to leave enough room for movement. A well-planned layout can make the room feel more spacious [[36]].

  4. Maximize storage: Storage is often limited in small apartments, so it's important to find creative ways to maximize it. Consider using bookshelves to create faux built-ins or installing real built-ins to create additional storage space [[37]].

  5. Choose the right color scheme: Opting for a monochromatic color scheme, particularly in shades of white, can make a small living room feel more airy and spacious [[6]].

  6. Incorporate mirrors: Mirrors can create the illusion of a larger space by reflecting light and making the room appear more open. Consider adding a large mirror or a gallery wall of mirrors to visually expand the living room [[31]].

  7. Utilize vertical space: When floor space is limited, it's important to make use of vertical space. Hang art on floating shelves, incorporate tall bookshelves, or hang plants to draw the eye upward and make the room feel taller [[12]] [[26]].

  8. Consider multi-functional furniture: In a small living room, multi-functional furniture can be a game-changer. Look for pieces that can serve multiple purposes, such as a sofa sleeper for hosting guests or an ottoman with hidden storage [[14]] [[38]].

  9. Pay attention to window treatments: To make a small living room feel more spacious, choose window treatments that allow natural light to filter in and provide privacy without blocking the windows [[19]].

  10. Add personal style: Don't be afraid to have fun and add your personal style to your small apartment living room. Incorporate bold patterns, colorful art, and unique furniture pieces to make the space feel inviting and enjoyable [[34]].

Remember, these are just some of the concepts related to arranging and maximizing space in a small apartment living room. There are countless ways to make the most of your limited square footage and create a stylish and functional space.

40 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas to Maximize Space and Style (2024)

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