A small living room can feel limiting to some but less space doesn’t mean that you can’t have great design. In fact, many small living room ideas can make the space feel larger or just cozier in general. Small spaces may need some extra attention throughout the decorating process. However, there are common mistakes that people make throughout the process. If you don’t want to fall into this same problem, these are 10 of the most common mistakes to make.

1. Having too many small pieces

This may seem like it goes against your better judgement but small spaces don’t necessarily feel larger when you use small pieces. You want to avoid having oversized furniture, but too many small pieces may make your space look cluttered. Remove excess pieces, especially ones that seem cluttered. Having fewer appropriately sized pieces is going to make the space seem larger. For example, several chairs and sofas may be better when replaced with a sectional.

2. Not using the vertical space

When you’re limited in floor space, you may not be using your wall space strategically. If you have space that doesn’t have windows or doors, then put that space to good use. For example, cabinets that are tall will give you more options than ones that are short. Similarly, artwork and other decor can make your space more decorative. Instead of using the floor space entirely, consider using the walls.

3. Not paying attention to the flow of traffic

In the living room, you want to make sure that people can navigate the space without problems. For example, putting a sofa in front of the entrance can make the room feel unwelcome. Blocking the walkways can be a tripping hazard and just make the space more challenging in general. Before you shop for new furniture, create a floor plan and make notes of how people will get in and out of the room. This will help you avoid buying pieces or putting them in places where they’ll block people.

4. Not having enough light

A small space that’s also dark is going to look even darker. Natural and artificial light make a room appear welcoming. Small rooms are at a disadvantage but they don’t have to be. They may have less natural light so it’s important to light them well. Consider adding mirrors to help reflect light and placing lamps throughout the room. Even painting the room a lighter color can help with this so avoid using too dark colors in your design.

5. Too much clutter

People say that small rooms are easier to clean and that’s certainly true. However, if your space is cluttered, then it’s going to feel even smaller. Small spaces simply can’t handle the same amount of stuff that a larger room can. Streamlining the living room is a key. Make sure to put items away promptly and avoid letting clutter build up. Not only will your space look great, it will also be easier to clean in general.

6. Having bulky shaped pieces

Small rooms can be just as comfortable as larger ones but only when your furniture is the appropriate shape. When you shop for furniture, usually the first thought is the comfort or the look of that piece. However, you want to pay special attention to the shape of the piece you’re reviewing. Consider the size of the piece and if it spreads out too much. Choosing more streamlined pieces can make a significant difference so it’s well worth looking for these options.

7. Excess or not enough storage pieces

Effective storage is the key to having a small space looking great. Small rooms need storage for blankets, games, or other items that you want to keep in the room so plan for this. The trick is that you only have limited space to work with. You need to choose the right number of options, avoiding either too many or too few. What often works well is multipurpose storage pieces such as lidded ottomans and similar options. Measure the space you have and choose your pieces accordingly.

8. Having disjointed style elements

Although you want the living room to be a reflection of your personal style, having too many disjointed pieces can make the room look cluttered. The best rule of thumb is to use a few repetitive elements so that it feels like a cohesive space. For example, having matching throw pillows or identical lamps can be a good way to get started. This will help your space avoid one of the more common problems with small spaces. You’ll find that while you may not have all your preferred pieces, you can use them in other spots.

9. Having too many visual barriers

A smaller space simply needs more room to breathe. Your eyes should be able to flow round the room with minimal effort. The walls and ceiling are stuck in place but there are a few tricks that you can use. For example, a glass coffee table or exposed legs on a sofa instead of a skirt allow the space to remain open. Lighter and brighter furniture can also help in this area so consider this is possible.

10. Not embracing the cozy factor

When it comes to a small space, you can make it seem larger, but don’t avoid the fact that it is small. Simplicity is a good idea but going too simple can also run into problems. A small space will feel cozy when you add the right layers. Blankets, curtains, and pillows can be added in small amounts to make the space look great. Whatever comfort items you want in your living room can usually be added. Simply pay attention to the overall design when adding these items.


Remember that small rooms can be both charming and functional when you use the right tricks to get the most out of them. If you’re concerned that your small living room isn’t working well, use these common problems to see if you ran into problems.