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Ten ways to create the feeling of space in your living room

In a compact living room, there are various ways to create an illusion of space. Furniture configuration is number one, but colour palette, furnishings and other elements can really lift the impact in a tiny social zone. But how much furniture and knick-knacks do you cram into your space? And what should you leave in to make the room appear bigger? These ideas will help you to rethink your living room, so it can become a space you truly want to spend your time ‘living’ in…


Try multi-purpose coffee tables and ottomans

While it’s essential to squeeze in adequate seating, don’t overdo it – adding too many sofas or large ottomans can make a space feel smaller. This room designed by Arent & Pyke introduces compact coffee tables that work double time. They’re handy, decorative and easily rearranged, while the upholstered ottoman can be used as a footrest, coffee table or extra seating. For greater impact, introduce a standing light, like this Artemide Tolomeo Mega floor lamp, in the least-used corner.

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Underplay the colour

It’s worth having a few furniture pieces in the same colour palette as the walls themselves. Even large items, such as these matching armchairs, will blend into the room which, in turn, visually enlarges the space. For even more continuity, the delicate fabric of the ottoman mimics the two chair cushions, bringing balance to the compact living area.

Work around the layout

When structural walls, windows and doors come into play, it’s tricky to demarcate an open-plan living and dining zone. A simple device is to add a standing light against the wall between the two areas, as well as a rug that lines up with the sofa.


Add a chaise longue and floating cabinetry

An L-shaped sofa not only provides extra seating, it separates the living and dining spaces. To avoid clutter in this compact zone, the wall-mounted console has a floating effect; it actually makes the thoroughfare seem wider and, most importantly, cleaning underneath is a breeze.

Position for function

In a long, narrow space, there are different options when configuring the furniture. Here, the midcentury modern-inspired sofa has been placed against a wall to create a natural pathway. Another nifty idea is adding a coffee table with a glass top, which helps keep the appearance of an open and free space.

Hang a mirror

In a small space, a large mirror creates a visual illusion. Not only does it draw the eye up, it also bounces light around the room, making any space appear larger and brighter. Framing also needs to be considered – here, the blond timber complements other natural elements, including the sumptuous leather sofa. The length of the mirror matches the size of the sofa, adding beautiful symmetry.

Be inspired to use mirrors in your home to great effect


Keep it neutral

The floor-to-ceiling bookcases convert this living room into a cosy library space. The book spines and artwork introduce a riot of colour, so furniture fabrics are kept neutral and understated. A collection of colourful cushions have been added for extra flair. While it’s tempting to introduce two sofas facing each other, here the single Eames Lounge chair prevents the room from feeling claustrophobic.

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Build in the furniture

Drawing inspiration from midcentury modern design, this built-in sofa makes sure no space is wasted. The cabinetry provides extra storage, which ends with a wall-mounted shelf. The built-in unit appears to be suspended in air – a clever device that makes the space seem larger. Meanwhile, the green-upholstered Tank chair adds a colour contrast for extra impact.


Utilise every corner

The space under a staircase is often wasted, but this bespoke console is a perfect solution. The owner understands the importance of comfort, and that’s why the leather sofa fills the compact zone perfectly. To make sure the space doesn’t feel cramped, the thin-profile metal balustrade was added, helping the whole space appear light and open.


Show off your treasures

Why hide away your most loved items? Here, the owners added open shelving to show off their objects and books. The items are well edited, with an overall feel of vintage chic. It’s no-rules-barred here, making the tiny space look interesting and feel open.

Find more living room ideas on Houzz

Kerryn Ramsey, Houzz Contributor

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Houzz Experts

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