Small Living Room Decorating Ideas (With a Bonus Sectional Round-Up)
Some time ago I did a whole post on my family room mini makeover and I had so many messages asking me what size my family room was. My answer was always “not large”. It then occurred to me that there might be a small living room epidemic going on.
Yes, I am being a tad dramatic.
Decorating a small living room can be a real challenge though
I learned this the hard way recently when I was searching for a new sectional for our family room. My living room is small. Not extremely small but more like moderate small…about 10X12 small.
Don’t let the vaulted ceilings fool you…
Our previous home’s living room was about double our current home am I am not exaggerating. We were spoiled. So spoiled. I realize that now.
But I shoved all I could in our current family room and it worked for a few years but I knew I was getting the itch to change things around. And so I began the great sectional hunt of 2020.
This is what our family room looked like just a few months ago and before I gave our fireplace a makeover with peel and stick tiles.
I’ve recently updated our living room a bit. Not huge changes but just a few little ones that made a big difference in the feel of our space. A new (and slightly bigger) rug and new window treatments made a huge difference to me. We’ll talk more about this later…
But for now, here is how our living room is situated.
You can also see in this picture how narrow our living room is with the built in bookshelves. I love those shelves but they definitely make it more challenging to arrange furniture.
The difference some new furniture can make amazes me. .
I sat on every sectional in a 50 mile radius of my house and I read 125,568 reviews of every couch I could.
I am not the biggest fan of sectionals to begin with so I knew this was going to be challenging. And I am so indecisive it can drive anyone that knows me insane. Ask my husband.
Let me just run through the sectionals I considered and would recommend and then we will talk more about my living room. Thrilling, I know. If you.aren’t interested in a sectional, just scroll on down.
For the record, the sectional I am sitting on as I am typing this isn’t one I ever sat on or researched before I purchased it. I bought it because in my mind it was a sign. More on all of this later too.
(This post contains affiliate links. You can see my full disclosure policy here)
Best Sectionals For Small Spaces
(PS, this sectional also comes in a sofa form if you are looking for a sofa and not a sectional)
Did you know there was such thing as the “IT” sectional? Me either. It wasn’t until I was doing my research did I stumble upon the rave reviews of the Radley sectional from Macy’s. There is a cult following on this sectional. Once again, I am not exaggerating.
I initially purchased this sectional and then three days later realized I bought the wrong size. Macy’s customer service was amazing. They canceled my order for me so I could get back online and order another sectional in the correct size. I had every intention to order another Radley sectional …until I checked my email.
I did go to Macy’s to see and sit on the couch and to give it the good ol’ comfy butt test. Yes, it was as described in all of the reviews. It’s firm but comfortable, the fabric looks like it can clean easily, it can be configured in 1,562 different ways and comes in so many different colors (most are considered custom colors but the price stays the same)
This is the sectional in the Chrome Beige color which is usually an in-stock item
I really did like this sectional because while it’s a sectional, it’s not an “in your face” sectional. It has square arms and non bulky cushions. It was exactly what I was looking for in a sectional especially for a small space.
If I never had checked my email I would be sitting on the Radley sectional right now.
(Disclaimer….some of the reviews on Macy’s website are not as favorable. I read all of those reviews too but I still decided to purchase the sectional. Obviously I cannot speak for the durability of this sectional)
This was another popular sectional I found while doing my research. I also butt tested this sectional and it was also comfortable. I wasn’t 100% sold on the arms of this couch or the fabric choices that were in stock. There was nothing wrong with either but for my space and preference, I decided to pass on this sectional but the reviews are great.
Another very popular sectional is the Pearce Sectional from Pottery Barn. I loved this sectional. It was so comfortable and so pretty (as pretty as a sectional can be). You can get this sectional in the rolled arm or square arm. You can customize it with a million different fabrics.
According to the sales associate at the store when I was there butt testing the sectional, he said the Pearce sectional is their top selling sectional. It beat out the Comfort Sectional which I also sat on and is also very comfortable
The price of this sectional is more on the high side and not really what I wanted to spend on a couch my kids will likely destroy. If you are dead set on this couch/sectional I would wait until it went on sale.
I wanted this couch so bad. I’ve seen it all over pinterest and was so excited when I saw it at our West Elm outlet. It wasn’t the right configuration for my space and would have likely been too small for our space as well. Nontheless, I got to finally sit on it and do the comfy butt test. It was very comfortable. It was just as pretty in real life. The Shelter Blue color is such a pretty blue color and what I would have purchased.
I really can’t say I know much about West Elm’s quality since I don’t own any huge pieces of furniture from them
We did purchase the Sedwick recliner from the outlets for my husband and so far the recliner is holding up well. I’m laughing at this comment because it’s been 8 days since we brought it home. I’ll keep you posted.
And drumroll please….the sectional I purchased on a whim
If you are new here, you should know that I have a soft spot in my heart for World Market. 75% of the furniture I own is from World Market. Most of it we have had for years and the quality is amazing…in my opinion.
After I canceled my Macy’s order, I checked my email to be reminded that World Market was still having their huge furniture sale.
(You can see some of my favorite furniture picks from World Market here)
Long story short, this sectional (that can only be purchased online) was out of stock online at the time….but there was the exact configuration in stock at my local store from a previous online order that got canceled. If that is not a sign, then I do not know what is.
I told my husband ” I was just going to look at the sectional” and then asked him to help me take the seats out of mini van. I knew this sectional was coming home with me in my mini van.
I love my mini van but I love it the most when it helps me bring home giant pieces of furniture.
Three trips to and from World Market later, I was the proud owner of the Emmett Sectional. And let me tell you, I love it. I love the color, the design, the comfort and the price.
This is another one of those “configure it how you want” sectionals. Since my space is longer than it is wide, I was able to design a longer skinnier couch.
I’ve had this sectional for a few years now and you can tell how well it is holding up. I do every once in a while have to re-fluff the back pillows but that’s what happens when three kids sit right on top of the back pillows.
Excuse the dog’s paws. She finds a way to photo bomb all of my blog pictures
We are a family of 5 and the kids each like to sprawl out on movie nights. We needed as many cushions as I could fit in our living room. I would also highly recommend taping out the couch in your space before you purchase it. This couch is deep. I love the depth but just a warning
I am so so so so so so glad I checked my email and own a mini van.
How To Decorate A Small Living Room With a Sectional Sofa
Ok,now for the good stuff…sort of. I touched a little bit on this before but I will talk more here.
How to arrange small living room with sectional
~Maximize your space
This was our biggest issue. I originally had our furniture placed too far into our living room and I was not maximizing the space in our eat in area.
I can thank my husband for this idea. I hate when he is right but he was this time. We decided to shift everything closer to the kitchen.
We lost a few feet in our eat in area to gain a few feet in our living room…the room that we spend most of our time in. It just made sense.
A great way to maximize your space is with a sectional sofa. When we originally had two sofas in this room, the corner of the family room was wasted. We gained some extra seating with a sectional.
Modular Sofas For Small Spaces
A great sectional for small spaces is a modular sofa. It makes it easier to design your sofa according to your needs.
And, if you are like me and want more places to sit butts on movie nights, do not be afraid of getting a large sectional for a small living room.
Once again, that is where a modular sofa will come in handy.
A few other tips to make your small living room feel bigger
~Paint your walls a lighter color
When we first moved into this house, our walls were a very dark brown. This room felt like a dungeon. With all the natural light we get from the large windows, I knew a light and bright color would do the trick. Our walls are Silver Drop by Behr. I love this paint color so much I did a whole post on it here.
~Hang window treatments high and wide
I recently took down my no sew roman shades. They were fine for what I wanted at the time but I was ready for a change. Hanging new window treatments high and wide made the room feel 10 times bigger.
~Pick the right furniture
Nothing kills the design of the room like the wrong furniture. I am very much a “get what you love and make it work” kind of decorator but that approach doesn’t always work with furniture.
Before you purchase anything, measure it out on your floor with painters tape. Make sure you have enough room to walk around your pieces.
I know alot of people chose to not have coffee tables to gain more room in their living rooms. I just couldn’t do it. I needed a place for my feet and for pretty books.
If you want a coffee table but not the bulk of one, consider a glass table top to keep things light and airy in your space. Or even a long upholstered bench would work. I went smaller with my coffee table than our previous one and I made sure it was light and slim looking.
~Rug placement with a sectional
You will instantly make your room feel larger by getting the right size rug. The bigger the better. A small rug will make your room feel choppy and unconnected. The goal is to have the front legs of most (if not all) of your furniture on the rug.
My husband’s chair couldn’t make it to the rug party since it was in the corner but the front legs of our sectional are on the rug.
~Move your furniture off the walls.
I know I told you guys this before but I didn’t see the difference until I did it myself in our family room. We had to move the sectional out from the back wall 12 inches since we had a air vent we didn’t want to cover. I was worried the couch would take up too much space but it actually made our room feel bigger.
It’s funny when you practice what you preach.
PS…if you are wondering where our IKEA couches went, I moved them to our front room and they seem to be very happy there.
For now though, my new sectional is very very happy here
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