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25 Smart and Unique Ways to Design Your Living Room

By: Casey Gerber

April 27, 2015

Genius Ways to Design Your Living Room| Laurel & Wolf

Designing a small space can be tricky, especially if you have a living room so tiny your legs practically hit the wall when you’re lounging around. These little hacks will give your living room the illusion of spaciousness while maintaining functionality so you can do everything from throwing a chic cocktail party to cozying up on the couch with your real best friend, Netflix.

1. Let the sun shine.

A warm coral couch with patterned throw pillows gracefully warms up this white living room.

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In any interior space natural light is your best friend. If you’re lucky enough to have big windows, leave them uncovered or go for long sheer curtains instead of heavy drapes in order to brighten the space, which can even benefit your health!

2. Don’t shy away from an accent wall.

A dark shade may seem daring but when used as an accent it works well to extend the space. If you’re feeling really bold go for a fun wallpaper print or DIY design.

3. Fake the footage with strategically placed mirrors.

Mirrors are a great technique for visually expanding a room. Place a large mirror where it will reflect the most light and watch your space nearly double in size.

4. Opt for glass or Lucite tables.

It’s clean, minimalist, functional, and on the plus, very in at the moment. You’ll keep your living room looking fashionable and spacious since the eye moves right through the translucent coffee table. Get your’s here.

5. Three words: All. White. Everything.

This picturesque living room with a white faux-fur throw, sofa, cushion, and fluffy rug is so serene to look at.

This may seem scary to some especially if you have kids or pets, but white walls in conjunction with white furniture and a light colored floor can majorly brighten a space. Pair your whites with other neutral tones for a clean, concise look, or be brave and go full on white by utilizing different textures and shapes to break it up.

6. Remember the importance of scale. 

In this eclectic living room, dainty hanging wall sconces, framed wall art, fresh florals in pretty vases, and colorfully patterned cushions satisfy our eyes yearning beautiful design.

Trying to squeeze multiple pieces of small furniture into a tiny space will always make a room look cramped and congested. Instead, opt for a few bigger pieces like an L-shaped couch, which wraps around the room nicely and leaves plenty of space in the center.

7. Throw a large area rug in the mix.

Your eyes will naturally move to the outer edges of the area rug, giving the illusion of more square footage. It can also be a great way to create two rooms within one if your living and dining room share a space.

8. Beautify (or hide) your television.

Only have space for a TV in your small living room but don’t want it to take away from your tasteful design? Mount the TV on some rustic pallet board or get a little more creative with a built-in TV cover.

9. Make room for more with a floating shelf.

Floating white shelves can be used to showcase your artistic taste and collection of great reads. A faux-fur throw on top of a white armchair adds flair and glam to the space.

So you’re a book lover with no space to store your books? Install a corner bookcase or floating shelves instead of a hefty shelving unit. Learn how here.

10. Play some tonal tricks.

Different shades of purple can be found in the walls, pillows, and throw in this classy living room. The dainty, white chandelier and wall sconces exude effortless elegance.

Using different shades of the same colors for the wall, rug, and any additional furniture creates a tonal harmony that can make the space feel more open.

11. Transform your living room with art.

While a gallery wall has the potential to make a room feel a bit more confined, a large wall art or two will make a statement and give the impression of expansive space.

12. Keep it bright!

Overhead lighting tends to pool in one spot, focusing the eye to only a small section of the room but using a few smaller lamps in each corner will draw the eye around making the room seem larger. Try some cool wall sconces to keep the floor space open.

13. Ditch the end tables.

No room for an end table to set your glass of Pinot on? Go for a sofa table that sits behind the couch!

14. Don’t be afraid to show a little leg. 

Furniture with exposed legs give the illusion of more floor space rather than a couch or chair with a skirted base. It also provides a great spot to stash your embarrassing gossip magazines.

15. Keep your eyes on the sky (or the ceiling).

Paint or wallpaper on the ceiling naturally draws the eyes upward, which will make it seem as if you have sky-high ceilings.

16. Bring the outside in. 

Fresh house plants in beautiful vases, a warm, wooden coffee table, and woven area rug add liveliness to this white living room.

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What’s more expansive than the great outdoors? A few good indoor plants add liveliness to a room and can give a space a breath of fresh air. Add other outside elements like a hammock couch or rattan chair for even more of that open air feel!

17. Use multiple rugs to create multiple spaces. 

Placing multiple area rugs in different sections can give the appearance of having more than one space within a room. Mixing patterns and using eclectic designs like the berber/ boucherouite rugs pictured above can especially liven things up.

18. Multi-purpose is where it’s at.

A woven ottoman and wooden coffee table with storage space are functional and chic home decor pieces.

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A coffee table or ottoman with storage space is optimal in keeping a living room looking neat and tidy, and it’s an easy way to quickly stash your clutter if you have guests coming over.

19. Float your furniture.

When everything is pushed against the wall it can make things look cramped, but when furniture is centered allowing you to walk the exterior it can create the illusion of spaciousness and help the traffic flow if you have guests.

20. Less is more.

If you have lots of small decorative items spotted around, your living room is bound to appear more cluttered. Opt for less decorations that are a bit bigger for an aesthetically pleasing look.

21. Color coding is key.

It may sound a little elementary but if you color code your book case for example, your entire space will take on an air of organization.

22. Create more space with backless furniture.

A few backless pieces like x-benches, poufs, and stools can provide extra seating, make things look more spacious, and help improve your posture!

23. Coordinate colors.

In this white living room, bright, red hues can be found in cushions and throw pillows, an area rug, contemporary coffee table, and blanket.

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If you don’t have the time or energy for a full living room renovation, make use of matching decorative elements. Even a few pillows in the same shade as the curtains can work wonders in making a space feel open and unified.

24.  Keep your room looking long and lean with stripes and tall furniture pieces.

A creamy sectional sofa and a bold, black and white striped area rug meet to complete this modern urban living room look.

Items that move vertically like tall bookshelves, entertainment units, paintings and striped rugs are all aspects that can elongate a space. The higher the bookshelf, the taller the ceiling and the longer those stripes stretch the lengthier the room seems.

25. Play around with different layouts.

There’s no better way to figure out how to design your living room than experimenting with a variety of different layouts. Maybe you’re not so into symmetry or maybe you want more space in the middle rather than around your furniture. However tiny the space may be, let yourself go wild because sometimes the most unexpected design can turn out to be just the right one.

xoxo, Laurel & Wolf

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