Think of a secondary purpose for your living room – A good way to optimize space, whether dealing with a small living room or a large living room, is to use it for a secondary purpose. Nowadays, most homes combine two areas together such as a living room with a music room or home office. The best way to take advantage of a living room remodel is to incorporate a secondary purpose for your space and you can do this by carefully planning the layout and design essentials ahead of time. Aside from that, multipurpose furniture such as sofa beds also help achieve a dual function living room.
Want to go a little glam without looking too showy? Add in minimal brass accents, like a metal-frame coffee table and eye-catching metallic lighting. This living room is also a good blueprint for small space decorating. While the only three furniture items are two seats and a small coffee table, the ceiling light is all it takes to make the entire room feel special.
Second, consider the walls. Color is not the only change that you can do when wanting to change the look of your living room. Try focusing on what new materials you could add to them. Also, be ready to take it down in order to extend the size of the living room while maximizing the unnecessary space allocated to adjacent rooms. If your house was built decades ago, consider changing the panels. You can use wood, glass or steal for real texture.
Your own home may not have a living room that’s quite so versatile—it’s a sad truth that the smaller (or more oddly shaped) a room is, the fewer ways it can work as a space. My own L-shaped living/dining area only really works one way, due to short walls, radiators and an entire wall of windows. So think of these specific layouts as tailored to this space, but take inspiration on how you can re-think your own home in a multitude of ways.
This homeowner bucked the “matchy, matchy” rule by placing different end tables and lamps on either side of the sofa in her living room. The mismatch works because, even though one table is a white Asian-inspired look and the other is a black step-like design, both tables are the same height. A sleek brass reading lamp pairs nicely with the simple white table, while a large silver-leaf table lamp fits with the more substantial black table.

This little beauty highlights how each piece in a space can be wildly different yet still be harmonious. Visual interest is abundant in this small living room interior, from the golden leather ottomans to the glass and driftwood coffee table. On the wall behind the sofa, the chinoserie wallpaper and golden mirrors work together to give the room a touch of flash without overstating their presence and drowning the sofa out. Each piece is like a unique cast member in a stage play or television show. Every piece in this room is small, but each piece still has immense personality.


To create symmetry, a contractor relocated the corner hearth with a new one, centered on the wall opposite the open kitchen. Built-in cabinetry on either side of the fireplace reinforces the sense of balance. The homeowner traded her single living-room settee for two generous Ikea sofas and a Ralph Lauren chair, all slipcovered for easy cleaning. The pine coffee table came from a garage sale, and the metal "C" is from a local garden store.
The difference really is, as they say, in the details, whether that's a new lipstick, a touch of truffle oil, or in this case, pillows and paint. This living room already had a lot going for it: a rough-hewn coffee table, a versatile sofa by Cisco Brothers, and a gorgeous ceramic garden stool. But apply one shopping trip's worth of accessories—all under $100—and this just-okay space turns remarkably elegant.
Leaning into the smallness of a space can actually be what makes it feel genuinely cozy and inviting. Keep seating close together and intimate, and choose a plush, soft rug, like the one in this space designed by 2LG Studio. This is especially well advised if you're decorating a small family room, where you'll want things to super welcoming and functional.
A stacked fieldstone fireplace takes center stage in this family room. Rather than just a sheer wall of stone, the exposed chimney is designed with a central recess for artwork, along with tapered edges on either side, to keep it from appearing too overpowering. Sconces mounted directly to the stone are an attractive way to shed plenty of light on the antique timber mantel.

Alisa Bloom recreated the environment of a French interior in her sophisticated Chicago penthouse. In the living room, she opted for a custom sofa in a Kravet fabric with pillows in a Jim Thompson silk. The 1970s chairs are from Revival, and the vintage cocktail table is from Martin La Brocante. She finished the space with a console by Crate & Barrel, a vintage chandelier by Hans-Agne Jakobsson, and curtains in an Oscar de la Renta fabric for Lee Jofa. The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Cement Gray.

Think long-term. Remember to plan not only for this stage of your life, but for the next phases, as well. If you're newlyweds planning to have children in a few years, take those future kids into account when planning your renovation, so that you don't have to redo everything. Ask people who already have kids what works in real life and what doesn't; what they wish they had in their living rooms; what has caused safety issues or got broken so many times it had to be thrown away.
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