Decorating & Design

September 5, 2019

Ask A Designer: How To Decorate A Petite Living Room

In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for decorating a compact living room with an awkward layout.

Question: I have a very small living room with doorways and windows on every wall. We use this space for lounging and watching television, but the layout is awkward. Please help! — J.T., Stratford, Ontario.

ask a designer small living room before

Answer: Small spaces are challenging to begin with, but throw in doorways and windows with window blinds on each wall, and an awkward furniture arrangement is almost inevitable. The solution? Streamline as much as possible, as seen in the Inspiration photo below.

ask a designer small living room after

Start by visually expanding the space and neutralizing the warm tones in your flooring by giving your walls a coat of taupe paint. Then, invest in built-ins along your fireplace wall. This will give you a proper place for the television, as well as room for storage and display — and you’ll be able to remove the teal cabinet, freeing up even more space and giving your focal wall more presence.

Next, consider consolidating your seating by swapping out your sofa and bulky chair for a small-scale sectional…

(Source: Dufferin Sectional, price available upon request,

…and make it even cozier with colorful and patterned throw pillows.

(Source: Bailey Toss in Goldfield, $39,

(Source: Embroidered Grey/Cream Pillow, price available upon request,

To create a conversational grouping, float a low-profile bench opposite the sectional…

white bench

(Source: Bristol Banquette, price available upon request,

…and back it with an airy console.

white console

(Source: Pemberly Row Console Table in White, $280,

With a couple of baskets on the lower shelf for accessible storage, the table will be a perfect landing place for keys and mail when you enter your home.

(Source: Large Braided Storage Basket, $30,

Opt for a larger rug that better grounds the room…

tasseled rug

(Source: S&C Rosaleda Rectangular Rug, $746,

…and upgrade your coffee table with a small, modern version to keep traffic flow fluid.

matte black coffee table

(Source: Coco Coffee Table, $1,039,

Finally, place a lush plant to the left of the window behind your sectional to soften the transition between rooms. With these changes, you’ll make the most of your small space and enjoy a cohesive, updated look.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to [email protected].

Author: Jennifer Koper

Andrea Rugg Photography


House & Home August 2019


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