How to Make Small Living Room Cozy with Rugs and Decor

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

As the name already implies, the living room is the heart of your home. Whether you use it as a formal space reserved for entertaining company or as a casual room suited for leisure and family bonding the living room should be tailored to your needs. When planning the floring, you should go for the high traffic area rugs, since this is the place where most of your living happens. When it comes to decorating, this is the room that’s first on the list.

A living room that is a bit smaller than you want it to be does not mean you should sacrifice good esthetics. A complete design idea requires many elements to work together in harmony to give the space a cohesive and stylish look. In other words, area rugs should be chosen to match the furniture, and the decor should be in the same color palette as the rest of the interior.

When decorating an area that’s limited in size, trying to fit everything in can make it feel cramped and cluttered. With that in mind, we researched and consulted interior design experts to bring you tips and tricks on designing small spaces. Read on and see what small living room design works best for optimizing your space.

1. Use Natural Light

As the face of your home, the living room should draw you in and compel you to stay. 

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Dark and gloomy rooms don’t feel cozy and comfortable. This is accentuated in smaller spaces because when they are deprived of natural light, they become constricted and closed up. 

If your living room is small, use natural lighting to add an airy, spacious ambient. If the room has access to much natural light, do not block it. Steer away from dark curtains, dark area rugs, or putting furniture in front of your light source. 

Even if you do not have large windows and tons of sunlight, use lighter shades or artificial lights to make the space feel more commodious and open. One useful tip is to layer the lighting. Do that by adding multiple smaller sources of artificial light instead of one large fixture in the middle of the room.

Natural Light

2. Use Multi-purpose Furniture

When space is lacking, the best option is to be innovative and make things multi-purpose. Hard-working, multi-functional pieces of furniture are a must-have in petite rooms. 

There are a lot of practical multi-purpose items that save space. For example, if you lack storage space in your living room, look into buying or building yourself an Ottoman. It works as a handy and attractive seat or coffee table with storage space hidden inside. You could also invest in a sofa with storage under the seat. That extra storage will come useful, allowing you to clear away any clutter at a moment’s notice. 

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3. Use the Height of the Walls

An acceptable way to make a room feel large is to take advantage of vertical space. You can easily accentuate tall windows with high curtains. Another way to achieve this same effect is to add a colorful wall to your living room or a wallpaper with a vertical pattern to create the illusion of space. 

Additionally, think about using wall decorations to your advantage. Place your artwork up to trick the eye and expand the height of the room. A gallery wall might seem too busy for a small space; nonetheless, when it is done correctly, it will make it feel larger. Position paintings higher than usual or add floating shelves as an attractive way to add storage space without making your room look cluttered.

Height of the Walls

4. Match Colors of Area Rugs and Furniture

According to Mats and Rugs, while choosing the dominant colors for any room, you should stick to the 60-30-10 golden rule that applies to area rugs and furniture, everything should be on the same color palette. In short, it divides the color scheme into percentages of color used. If you love incorporating bright, vivid colours, this interior design rule will make sure your living room doesn’t look chaotic.

When it comes to smaller spaces, the two dominant colors should be light-toned. This doesn’t mean you should give up your favourite colours in rugs and decor, instead opt for using pastel, muted versions of them. The third colour that comes with the smallest percentage should be a bold, accent colour. This simple rule keeps the look of the room harmonious and gives a clean and purposeful impression on every piece of furniture.

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Rugs and Furniture

5. Utilise Awkward Architectural Spaces

An awkwardly shaped living room can be tough to decorate. Since many rooms do not conform to the rectangular norm, there are plenty of innovative ways to use inconvenient shapes to your advantage. The first thing you’d want to do is see if you can fit something into that nook. 

Think about custom ordered furniture. If that is not possible, then use that awkward space as a decor zone. Add an elegant area rug, small coffee table or a plant to incorporate that area, and give it an elegant twist. Another good idea is to add a mirror that faces the windows to make the room feel vast.

6. Size of Furniture and Area Rugs

No matter what part of the house you are working on, measurements are always crucial.

Since you do not have the luxury of much space, everything should be carefully measured out – be it the elements, furniture arrangements, area rugs, or artworks. 

The size of the things in your living room must be proportional to the amount of space you have. 

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Furniture that’s just too small will make your living room look out of place, and uninviting. On the other hand, if you go for something too big will make it look cramped and overwhelming, and of course, it will take up too much unnecessary space. Create balance in your living room by picking out furniture and rugs that are up to scale.

7. Keep It Minimal

Last but not least, do not overcrowd the space. You do not have to add many items in the room to make a statement. Start with the essential elements you use frequently and work your way from there. Keep the seating close together and intimate. For example, a simple layout that centres around the TV, coupled with a small-print area rug and a petite round coffee table creates a cosy, welcoming atmosphere. Lean into the smallness of the space. This can be what makes it feel genuinely homey and inviting. 

minimalist living room


Small living rooms need to be kept fresh and uncluttered with a well-chosen layout. Just because your living room is smaller, it doesn’t mean that it can not be well polished and modern. Consider using some of our advice to your advantage and create a space that will be both beautiful and functional.

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