How to Best Decorate Your Small Living Room

When you’re working with a small living room layout, it’s sometimes difficult to settle on the right decorations. I experienced this myself. For the longest time, I could never seem to figure out the right balance of decor to furniture in my small living room. It seemed like, in no time flat, my decor would clutter and ultimately overwhelm the miniscule space. Once, in a fit of desperation, I boxed up all my favorite decor items and placed them securely out of the way in the basement. I often wondered where can I find ideas on how to decorate my living room?


Over time, the trick to decorating my small living room became abundantly clear: follow the process.


By following these six steps aimed to create simple living room designs for small spaces, I was able to decorate and enjoy my small living room without feeling overburdened by all my beautiful (yet plentiful) decorations.


1. Rearrange Your Furniture

When you have a small living room, furniture takes up most of the space. You need a place to sit, somewhere to place your beverages, media shelves, etc. Since you put so much thought into your furniture, from its design to fabrics and other finishes, consider it an extension of your decor and put thought into its arrangement.



The ideal small living room furniture arrangement includes chairs and/or sofas that face one another to best facilitate conversation. If you choose to use a television in your living area, skip the media console and mount it straight to the wall to free up some space.


In addition, consider a small shelving unit to store movies, a DVD player, or other media needs and mount this directly to the wall or in a corner.  Lastly, give thought to your table choices and, if space is your biggest issue, consider tables with dual features such as built-in drawers, nesting tables, or room for storage baskets.


2. Place Wall Art

Once your furniture is set, you can begin to add some decorative touches and the best place to start is on your walls.


Use framed photographs, mirrors, and mixed media artwork in key spots, such as behind the sitting area and above the fireplace/focal point of the room. To cover large spaces, hang a photo wall or oversized art replica.



Every household has a handful of extra special documents or photographs, such as marriage certificates, invitations, or awards. Don’t hesitate to add these to the wall near the entrance of the room.


3. Use Your Natural Shelves

You’ll be surprised at the number of shelves that appear naturally in a living room. Places such as a fireplace mantel, end table tops, and media shelves are prime spaces for your decorations that don’t necessarily need to be mounted.



What type of decor should you add to your shelves? Even a simple vase with hand-cut flowers on a table does wonders in adding brightness and depth to your living room.


4. Add More Shelves

If you still don’t have enough naturally-occurring shelves and don’t have the room to add an entire console, add a new shelf or two directly to the wall.



For a modern look, look for floating shelves without brackets. If you don’t mind the look of hardware, consider adding a unique metal such as brass or rose gold to mount the shelf. Remember, just because a shelf is functional doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful!


Use these floating shelves to hold precious decor such as ceramic and porcelain figurines and handmade artwork.


5. Try the Floor

I get it, floor space is probably at a minimum in your living room, but that doesn't mean you can’t use the space you have for decor.


Floorspace is the ideal spot for houseplants such as a ficus or potted palm. Floor lamps also easily double as decor, so pay close attention to both the stand and shade you choose for your small living room.



6. Finishing Touches

By now, your furniture is in place, you have artwork on your walls, and all your shelves are filled with meaningful, aesthetically pleasing decor. Complete your living room decor by adding finishing touches around the room, including pillows and throw blankets.



Sure, these may seem like an afterthought, but they absolutely add to the overall ambiance and vibe of your living room.


If you’re in desperate need to find some small living room decorating ideas for your own home, start by following these steps. In no time at all, you’ll have a perfectly appointed living room and no one will ever be able to tell how small it really is!


Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson,, and

Previous Post

Next Post