15 small apartment living room ideas to make it feel bigger

If you’re looking to maximise your small space, check out our top 15 small apartment living room ideas to make it feel bigger.

Living room with different types of furniture of different styles

If you’re looking to maximize your small space, look no further. We’ve got you covered with our top 15 small apartment living room ideas to make it feel bigger.

Having a small apartment living room can be a blessing and a curse. On the upside, there’s less to clean and tidy, less furniture to buy, and it feels cozier and warmer. However, that’s not to say that a small apartment doesn’t come with its drawbacks, with the main drawback definitely being space.

In this article, we’ve compiled 15 of our favorite small apartment living room ideas to make it feel bigger. From clever hacks to create the illusion of a bigger room to practical design choices that help improve floor space, there really are plenty of options when trying to make a room feel bigger.

Our favorite small apartment living room ideas

Add paneling to your walls

Add some vertical paneling to your walls to create some height. Halfway or 2/3 up your walls can make a huge difference in how tall your walls feel. You can paint them the same color as your wall, or choose a different color to make the room feel even bigger.

If you’re looking for a DIY project at home, then paneling is a great one to get stuck into. You can get creative as you like, and there are plenty of tutorials online to walk you through how to build your dream wall panels.

Use neutral colors

Neutral colored living room with large windows

We’re not just talking about white walls. Now we do love a white wall, but there is more to a neutral/light color scheme than just the wall color.

To really make the most of your space, go for light colors like cream, beige, and light browns in your decor. This will allow the room to fill with natural light and create a more spacious feeling. You can still incorporate small darker pieces in the room, but avoiding any large dark decor or walls really helps with keeping the space bright and open.

Add textured cushions

Living room sofa with a throw and cushions

Texture can make your room feel bigger or smaller. We love to add it into our living spaces, but we don’t want to add too much, nor do we want to add it in the wrong places.

Keeping the walls and surfaces smooth will reduce shadows and make the room feel bigger. If you have textured ceilings or walls, smoothing them is a great place to start.

But we don’t want a boring room filled with smooth surfaces and straight edges. This is where cushions and throws etc come in. They add character back into an area without affecting the perception of space. A chunky knitted throw or textured cushion is a brilliant way to add some subtle texture to your small living room.

Take advantage of vertical space

Living room with sofa, accent chairs and a shelving wall

If floor space isn’t on your side, it’s time to take to the walls and use your vertical space. Shelving is a great way to add storage without taking up heaps of room. If you have a chimney breast, then the walls on either side give the perfect space for shelves. You can go for a symmetrical look or vary your shelves on each side to work around your decor pieces.

Although shelves take up space, by adding shelving from floor to ceiling, your living room will feel bigger as the shelving makes the walls feel taller.

Disguise your storage

Adding storage into your small home doesn’t have to be boring and solely functional. Make the most of your space by combining some fun decor with practical function.

This gorgeous vintage trunk may look like a cool and quirky piece of decor, but it also serves as storage. Choosing feature pieces that serve as a function is great if you’re truly squeezed for space in your small apartment.

We’ve listed some great options below for practical storage that looks great too

  • Hollow coffee table
  • Footstools
  • TV stands with cupboards

Glass is your friend

Glass tables in a modern living room

If your theme allows it, using glass table tops is an underrated way of making your living room feel bigger. Glass not only allows light to reflect around the room, but as they are transparent they also allow light to travel through them, making your living room feel more open and airy.

This idea is great as it works with any existing decor theme, whether you love a dark moody vibe or bright and neutral, this option fits in perfectly. You could also apply this for any side tables or TV stands to let in as much natural light as possible.

Create a wall gallery

dark blue sofa with photo frames above it

A large print is usually used to make the room feel bigger. However, if you have multiple smaller prints you want to use, you can definitely make that work too. Try to avoid choosing too many dark bold prints as this can make the room feel a little closed in. Instead, try to go for light neutral prints or pastels to add some color without overwhelming the room.

Another great tip is to try to arrange your prints to draw your eyes upwards to give the illusion of taller walls. If you have a little space to work with, then incorporating a mirror is a great way to make your room feel more spacious and can help to break up a gallery wall.

Use larger prints

Large artwork above a dark gray sofa next to a wooden table

You’ve probably seen this in every living room since 2010. A large print above a bed or sofa definitely makes the room feel bigger and is a great way to add a bit of personality without being too loud.

Look for prints that are around 2/3 to 3/4 the size of the sofa. Try to find simple artwork with fairly muted colors and patterns, pair it with any frame, and hang it above your sofa. And just like that, your small apartment living room magically got bigger.

Pairing a tall, skinny lamp alongside your sofa can also help to draw the eye upwards and add some dimension to the room. Avoid those with large lampshades and opt for small-headed lamps, this can add some light to the space in the evenings and help give it that warm feel.

Put a rug under your sofa

Rug with round coffee table and sofa

Who doesn’t love a rug in their living room? This is one of our most recommended small apartment living room ideas. It makes such a big difference to how your living room feels by making a very small change.

Ideally, the sofa should have all of its feet/legs on the rug. If your rug isn’t big enough for this, then put it around 12 inches under the sofa. This simple idea gives the illusion that there is more space than there is.

Top tip: It may be tempting to go for a smaller affordable rug, avoid choosing a small rug that is smaller than the width of your sofa as this can make the room feel smaller. If you’re working a budget, then you can simply skip this step out.

Opt for low furniture

Leather sofa with large photo frame above it

This small living room idea is perfect for anyone who has lower ceilings. Whilst a low ceiling is cozy and warm, it can really make the room feel much smaller than it is.

One way to reduce the impact of a low ceiling is to opt for low furniture. Low sofas have become increasingly popular and are an easy way to claim back some of the space you’ve lost. Low sofas help to add different heights to the room and make the room feel more spacious, especially when hosting multiple guests in your small space.

Add a mirror or two

Gray living room wall with light sofa and dark accent chair

If you want the best bang for your buck, a mirror is a great way to make your small living room feel bigger. They look amazing and have a few benefits besides being a functional mirror.

We love using mirrors in small spaces because they help to reflect light around the room, and they create the illusion that the room is bigger than it is. Plus, a mirror won’t take up any of your precious floor space.

Don’t be afraid to add color

Bright green sofa with colorful cushions

We usually opt for a neutral color palette when it comes to small living rooms to make them feel bigger, but adding a pop of color can actually have a similar effect.

Adding some bold colors can help to draw your attention to statement pieces, like a colorful sofa. This small living room has plenty of character and uses beautiful bold colors to distract you from the size of the living room. If you don’t want to go all out on color, then stick to colorful books, plants, cushions, and ornaments.

The taller the curtains the better

Large windows in a living room

This may sound counterproductive, but trust us on this one. Even though you might be lacking some pace, adding some floor-to-ceiling curtains can help make your apartment living room feel bigger.

Longer curtains create the illusion that your ceilings are taller than they are, and can also make your windows feel bigger. Unless you need blackout curtains, go for curtains that let a bit of light through, like the curtains in this minimal living room.

Add greenery

Small living room filled with small house plants

Add a plant (or as many plants as you like) to your small living room. Adding a plant won’t completely make your living room feel bigger, but several benefits will improve your living room:

  • Improve air quality
  • Help prevent allergies
  • Improve mood
  • Improved acoustics

If you don’t have the floor space for some houseplants, then you can opt for hanging plants or using shelves and mantles.

Use a rug to separate

Living room with a sofa, rug and wooden floor

Rugs can make a world of difference in your living room. Often small apartments are working with an open-plan living diner area. Using a rug helps to create two separate spaces within one room. This can really help to distinguish where your kitchen ends and your living area begins.

Most apartment living rooms are open-plan and can feel a little unwelcoming. Add a rug to create a living room area within your living area, this will help to break the room up and make the area feel more spacious.

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