They officially don’t make living rooms as big as they used to these days. In fact, recent research shows that new builds have living rooms that are nearly a third smaller than those built in the 1970s. And last month, one architect even went so far as to say millenials don’t need living room at all. We’re firm believers that the living room is an important area in the home. It’s where you come together to relax, socialise and interact. As such, it’s often a space people enjoy putting their own personal stamp on through decorating. But how should you approach a living room update if you don’t have much

Furniture selection

Choosing furniture for a small living room can be a bit of a challenge. If you don’t get the size and shape of key pieces such as your sofa right, you can make the room seem even smaller than it is or leave yourself without room to manoeuvre. With this in mind, it’s always best to measure new items and to either draw out a little plan of how they’ll fit into your room or use removable tape to physically plot out where everything will sit on your floor. This way, you’ll get a better grasp on whether things are in proportion and how easy it will be to move around the room.

Multi-functional furniture can be a real space saver in smaller living rooms. From foot stools that contain hidden storage space and can be used as extra seating through to stand alone bookcases used to zone off a quiet reading or small play area, think carefully about what every piece of furniture will contribute.

Colour, patterns, prints

Decorating is a very personal activity; it helps us to feel at home in our surroundings and is naturally guided by our own preferences. However, it’s always worth baring some interiors facts in mind when working with a more compact space. Lighter colours such as soothing shades of blue or bright white will help to make a space look bigger. If you’d like to create a cosy cottage feel, warm, rich shades should do the trick.

It’s tempting to shy away from patterned walls or flooring in such living rooms because it can be tricky to get the proportions right. Go too large with your print and it can feel like the walls are closing in. Instead, opt for small to medium prints or veto them completely and concentrate on colour combinations instead. You could even try adding some vertical stripes to lead the eye upwards in order to make things feel roomier.

Tricks and tips

You’ve probably heard that putting up a mirror can help to create the illusion of more space. Well, that applies to reflective surfaces in general. This means you may want to think about choosing a paint or wallpaper with a little sheen or shimmer to help bring light into a room.

It’s also good to know where to stop when it comes to accessorising smaller rooms. There’s not always a whole lot of space for clutter, but you can build in layers and texture without too much in the way of added extras. Choosing lights and lamps, canvas prints that work with your colour scheme and opting for interesting window dressings that don’t eat into the room are all great ways to make more of smaller living rooms.

Do you have a compact living room? How did you overcome the challenges of decorating a smaller living area? Do you have any tips to share?