Furnishing Your Tiny Living Room

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Do you live in an apartment where a dishtowel can double as an area rug? Is it impossible for you to have a television larger than 13″ because you’re already sitting too close to it? When you go to purchase new living room furniture, do you find yourself looking in the toy section? It can be a sad state of affairs when the only chair you can fit into your living room is a child’s Spongebob Squarepants chair!

But seriously, tiny living rooms can affect much more than just your sense of style.

“My living room was so small; I was embarrassed to have anyone over,” says Tracy of Pittsburgh. “It really affected my personal life and I lost many boyfriends because I didn’t want anyone to see how tiny my apartment really was. I have a good job and a nice wardrobe, so I was always afraid of what people would think if they ever saw where I lived.”

Tracy is not the only person who has faced this dilemma–if you live in New York, Boston or San Francisco, the cost of a tiny apartment is a lot more than the average mortgage payment in the US.

Enter the Realm of Creative Cozy
Furnishing a tiny living room takes a lot of creativity and it helps to think outside of the box on more than one level. In fact, experts agree that designing a small living space can be a huge challenge. Decorating choices, colors, and furniture all play very important roles on increasing the dimensions, at least visually, of your living room.

Small rooms will typically feel even smaller if the color of the room is dark or if the furnishings have a busy, floral print on them. To immediately improve the scope of the room, try painting the room a lighter color. If you have floral-fabric furniture, consider a solid-color slipcover complimentary to the color on the wall.

Design divas agree that as the day turns into night, the ceiling darkens first, thus creating a “shrinking” feeling in an already-small room. Using crown molding is a great way to give the illusion of height to a room. In addition, sconce light fixtures will bounce light off of the ceiling and improve the feel of the room.

If your tiny living room features an even-smaller window, there’s a trick to help give the illusion of a much larger window. Simply extend the drapery rod about a foot past each side of the window and allow the curtain to extend well below the bottom of the sill. Nobody will know that what lies beneath the curtain is a 2′ by 2′ window that basically only works as a vent.

When shopping for new furniture for your small living room, forgo the sofa because that will consume too much space. Try using two love seats and a chair, or a few comfortable chairs. There are numerous hidden seating solutions available if you know where to look. For instance, purchase a padded ottoman that can double as an extra seat, or sturdy storage blocks that serve dual purposes.

Making simple changes such as these can vastly improve the look of your small living room and can actually lend an air of coziness you never thought possible.

It can be difficult for some people to feel free when they are feeling constricted by the rooms in their apartment. Like Tracy, they may be embarrassed to have guests over, or they may be totally confused as to how to design around the minuscule living room they’re cursed with. But today, there is an entire industry dedicated to helping maximize the accessibility of your small space.

The Tiny Room Revolution
There are a number of websites where you can find furniture specially designed for small spaces. Many of these items are made with more than one purpose in mind. For example, this chair sleeper from TinyLiving.com is a comfortable chair by day and easily turns into a twin bed for the overnight guest come nightfall.

But, what about those with studio apartments? There is literally no room for anything in these one-room living spaces. Well, that’s where Happijac comes in. Happijac is the manufacturer of power lift beds. With the press of a button, your bed gets lifted off the floor and raised to the ceiling, thus freeing up the floor space for whatever you need it for. And just think of how that will impress your date! She may begin looking at you like you’re James Bond!

Another great source for room-expanding solutions can be found at Design Within Reach. Their website has a section dedicated to small spaces and how to maximize your room’s potential. From space-saving bookshelves to tables and chairs, you can get a wealth of ideas here.

“TinyLiving.com saved my personal life,” exalts Tracy. “I completely furnished my small living room and I made a few decorating changes and I can’t believe the difference. I feel like I’m in a different apartment. I’ve even begun inviting people over.”

As we grow as a species, we eventually learn better ways of doing things. It’s all about the evolutionary process. At one time, we had to listen to music on big, black, plastic discs. At one time, we had to drive automobiles the size of modern-day tanks. At one time, there was only one type of coffee–regular. And perhaps most amazing of all, at one time, small living rooms were uninhabitable. But not anymore.

6 Responses to “Furnishing Your Tiny Living Room”

  1. March 13, 2008 at 6:13 pm, Guest said:

    Simplicity Sofa saved my life – for a girl living in a very small space.

    Thank you so much for making me feel like I am not alone in the world of small spaces. I live in a duplex – actually an old house that was transformed. I live upstairs and I could not find any living room furniture that I could live with that fits through the door, up the stairs or in th room. You should tell your readers this. I finally found it!!

    I tried IKEA, Pier One, Pottery Barn, etc. but I was looking for better quality and better prices.

    Well, I found it at Simplicity Sofas. They sell online or in their store in High Point. I bought online at http://www.simplicitysofas.com

    They are the manufacturer and the product is made in the USA! Great quality and great prices! Apartment size sofas, chairs, storage ottomans, the whole deal. I chose from over 50 fabrics and coordinated slip covers and pillows. The sofa arrived in 3 boxes and I put it together in 15 minutes, no tools!! They should advertise on your site. Great company. Pass the word. We who live in small spaces have options!!

    Reply

  2. April 07, 2008 at 2:09 pm, Guest said:

    Thank you so much for this valuable article. It encourages me to look for space solutions and to schedule a reallistic plan of improvements to feel good at home.

    Reply

  3. September 08, 2008 at 2:47 pm, Guest said:

    Most of the Simplicity Sofa comments I have seen on various websites are all very similar and obviously planted by people who work there.

    Reply

  4. March 04, 2009 at 11:49 pm, Helizna said:

    The previous tenant left a HUGE brown double recliner couch in my hallway-shaped and sized living room. No point trying to throw it out as it can’t even be lifted… Any ideas?

    Reply

  5. May 31, 2009 at 6:44 pm, t said:

    “I lost many boyfriends because I didn’t want anyone to see how tiny my apartment really was.”

    That sounds a little far fetched.

    Reply

  6. November 14, 2010 at 10:29 am, Shelly said:

    I do not work at Simplicity Sofa’s and I have enjoyed benefit from the assemble in place style> I wanted something that looked classy and not cheaply built. I had no options other than having something built in my small rented space. I found SS and found it very easy to assemble and worth every penny in order to acheieve the look I wanted. I love my space but the akwardly angled stairs were holding my vision back. I you are out of options look there. Beware that it can be a little pricey as it is not a box store. but, they do very quality work. Plus, it looks great!

    Reply

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