If you just want to spice up a dull space, that one visual oddity can make all the difference. This is especially true in a small living room since there normally isn’t much to look at. The rug in this room is a great example because it breaks up the plainness and uniformity the room otherwise has. It also accomplishes this without being overly intrusive. It also forces you to look down at the floor, then up at everything else in the room, ensuring you see every bit of the room’s contents. The right accent pieces make all the difference.
A 1920s Palm Beach home, owned by art adviser Heidi McWilliams, serves as the perfect backdrop for displaying her impressive collection. The living room is furnished with claret armchairs (right) and hexagonal table by Rose Tarlow Melrose House, along with a neutral rug by Patterson Flynn Martin. An Anish Kapoor mirrored wall sculpture accentuates the 16th-century Italian limestone mantel, and the coffered ceiling, which is original, adds character to the room.
This next room illustrates why decorating a small living room is tricky. When you want to make a room stand out but are unsure how to do so, you may think of adding some visual interest pieces like pictures or pottery. In a small space like this one, however, there is a very fine line between making your space look lived-in and making your space look messy. This room walks that line spectacularly with an array of shapes, sizes and colors that make it look like someone lives here already. Make sure each piece has a purpose and a function.
Interior design for small living room is all about balancing and contrasts, which this next home has plenty of. This home, described by the designer as “Scandinavian Rustic,” further shows how one element can change a room dramatically. This room possesses a wealth of 2D and 3D elements as well as polygonal and round elements. The eye-catching wall art literally defines how the space should feel, while the long and narrow sofa coupled with the two spool-like tables take advantage of the limited dimensions. The phrase “opposites attract” appear to be this room’s motto and it adheres to it well.
A good place to start when it comes to redesigning your living room is with the walls. While paint may seem the simplest choice, and easy to change, don’t discredit the design opportunities of wallpaper in living rooms. There are tons of great living room wallpaper ideas, from modern geometric patterns to traditional florals, and loads of ways to use them – you don’t have to cover the whole room or go for the ubiquitous feature wall. You could wallpaper only above the dado rail (if you have one), either side of a chimney breast, or behind a shelving unit to give your displayed items a stylish backdrop.
In a Buenos Aires home, the original marble mantel in the living room was specified by Maison Jansen, who decorated the apartment in the 1930s. The circa-1940 chairs in the foreground, the console (left), and the side table (right) were designed by Jean-Michel Frank for the Argentine firm Comte. The 1930s Frits Henningsen settee is covered in a Holland & Sherry mohair, the chairs next to the fireplace are 18th-century Gustavian, the circa-1950 Sphere cocktail table and lamp are by Jean Royère, and the 1930s table (front left) and sconces are by Maison Jansen.

Dark, glossy walls create a sophisticated backdrop for simple, clean-lined pieces and even colorful, bold items. Use the small space to your advantage and make it feel like a jewel-box. Painting your ceilings the same color can enhance the sense of intimacy even further. Then have fun with brighter furniture throughout, as done in this small living room designed by Andrew Felsher.

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