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5 Small Living Room Projects with Big Style

JANUARY 15, 2018
Photo credit: Julia Sperling for the Sunset Smart Cottage

If you live in a small space, or have a petite room in your home, you may be wondering how to make the most of your limited square footage. Our designers often get clients who half-apologize when giving the dimensions of their small room at the start of a project. However, our designers know that lack of square footage does not limit style or functionality. In fact, we know the opposite is true: because a smaller space makes it necessary to edit, declutter, curate and creatively think outside the box. Needless to say, some of our best designs are rooms on the smaller side.

We love these 5 living room projects, where our designers created rooms that are not only beautiful reflections of the clients' needs and personal style but also maximized both form and function. Small space, big style indeed!

The Charming Cottage

To make this narrow living room feel as expansive as possible Decorist design director Jessica McCarthy used small-scale furnishings to allow for more space. She chose a narrow sofa and covered an old heating unit with a custom built-in bookcase that served a dual purpose and added much needed storage. Rather than a classic coffee table, she used a multi-functional piece—two stools—that could provide a surface for drinks or decorative items but could also be moved around or used for additional seating. The chic leather sling safari chair is small in scale and big in style.


The NYC Apartment Living Room

Decorist celebrity designer Jeremiah Brent used some serious small space tricks to give this tiny NYC apartment a functional and sophisticated design. He used two floor-to-ceiling mirrors to help give the illusion of more space and added a clever drapery wall as a cost-effective and dramatic way to add instant architecture to the room. It expanded the small space while keeping it interesting. Jeremiah had sconces tucked into the drapery wall behind the petite sofa for an unexpected look also saving space by freeing up both the side table and the floor—truly a unique way to keep things fresh and functional.


The Mid-Century Living Room

This room started out, our client described it, as a "white box" with some tricky layout issues. The open concept space is located right by the front door entrance, without a separate hallway or entryway to define the space. The solution? Decorist Classic designer Samantha Piane used a sectional to divide the space without closing it off, adding built-in storage with a wood-grained sliding door for storage and a low-profile mirror and bench for mail, keys and shoes. While one might assume a smaller space would need smaller scale furniture, the larger scale of the sectional and the armchairs (that swivel - small space tip) make the space feel cozy, with the warm but neutral color palette helping to prevent visual clutter. One extra detail - with a toddler in the house, all items were selected to minimize hard edges or sharp corners. 


The Tiny Bungalow

This Seattle bungalow had great light and details but needed a layout that would maximize space and usage. Decorist design director Jessica McCarthy chose clean white walls to open up the space. By hanging the white drapes higher then the windows, it gave the the illusion of higher ceilings. To keep the room from feeling sterile, Jessica added pops of color in the rug, accent chair and pillows with lots of texture to make the space feel warm and cozy. Wanting to have this room double as a home office, a work area was added with a bookcase and small desk in the opposite corner. Practical yet cohesive in design.


The Bold Modern Room

This room both benefited and was challenged by the main feature: double windows on 3 walls give the room an abundance of natural light but also make it tricky in terms of room layout. Decorist Elite designer, Nest Design, solved the issue by picking a low-profile sofa that sits just under the windows and then balanced it with high armchairs in the entry at an angle, which adds seating without closing off the room. Another small space design tactic - designing the room symmetrically, which makes the room seem wider than it is, in a clean and bright neutral palette. One pop of color, in a sophisticated brilliant orange, both showcases the one-of-a-kind pair of vintage chairs and adds a focal point to the room. 


Have a small space and need professional design help? Start a Decorist design project today. We have over 400 designers who can help you on your small-space journey maximizing both space and style. Happy Decorating!

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