How To Decorate A Small Room

Do you have a small room in your home? Here are tips that will help you decorate it so it looks amazing and is comfortable.
HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- COFFEE TABLE IN A SMALL ROOM

Do you have a small room that you are having a hard time decorating? Decorating a small room can be a bit tricky! It takes a little skill and interior design know-how to get it just right! It’s not hard if you follow these tips!

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Today I’m sharing how I decorated our small sunroom/family room. We certainly do a lot of living in this room! Our family loves this room. It’s light and the furniture is comfortable and it is where the TV is! This room gets used often!

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- SOFA IN A SMALL ROOM

Decorating a small room, like our sunroom, that gets used a lot is really a balancing act. We want a small room to feel spacious but we also want enough seating so people are not sitting on the floor.

Like all decorating, it is part science, part art with a bit of practically thrown in! We can decorate a small space that gets lots of use and have it be both attractive and useful.

Here are some helpful small living room design ideas that will help you to decorate the small spaces in your home.

PICK A COLOR PALETTE

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- PILLOWS IN A SMALL ROOM

Color plays a huge role, especially in a small room. A neutral color palette will make your room look bigger, more airy feeling and open and a dark color palette will make it feel smaller, cozier, and moodier.

Whether you choose a light neutral color palette or a darker one keep your color palette tight.

A tight color palette uses no more than 3 colors, and their tints and shades. Color has visual weight and adding more colors just adds to the business of a room. And in a small room, more color means more visual weight and more of a cluttered feel.

Wall and ceiling color is very important in a small room. A lighter color will give the illusion of more space while a darker color will make a small room feel cozy.

Think about how you want your room to feel and paint it accordingly.

One thing I would wave you off about is painting an accent wall in a small room! It creates a visual separation in a room instead of creating a cohesive look. It does make a big statement but one that works against the visual flow of a small room.

Our room is painted white like the rest of our home and it gives this living area a larger-than-it-is feel. It also helps this room flow easily into the dining room and kitchen.

PAY ATTENTION TO SIZE, SCALE AND PROPORTION

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- SMALL ROOM WITH WINDOWS

Paying attention to size, scale, and proportion as well as the room layout is very important when you decorate.

We need to give lots of thought about how each piece of furniture will relate and fit into our small room as well as how something will work with other furnishings in a room.

When the furniture in a small space is in proportion to one another and they are all playing nicely together it will fell like Goldilocks says, “just right”.

You might want to read WHY SCALE AND PROPORTION ARE SO IMPORTANT WHEN WE DECORATE.

NEGATIVE SPACE IS VERY IMPORTANT IN SMALL ROOM LAYOUTS

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- SOFA IN A SMALL ROOM

Our natural tendency is to add more furniture to a small room than we should. We want enough seating and enough flat surfaces to put things on and enough storage too.

It’s important to remember no matter what the size of the rooms in our homes, adding too much furniture and accent decor will make the space feel cramped and uninviting!

A small room needs negative space just like any other room in our home. Negative space is a very important decorating concept. It’s really just empty space. Small rooms need empty space so we can move around in them comfortably. We also need to take on the less is more belief because too many things in a small space look crowded and confusing.

Negative space is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Read more about negative space and how to make the space in your home work best. See WHY SPACE IS IMPORTANT WHEN WE DECORATE.

CHOOSE THE BIGGEST PIECE OF FURNITURE FIRST

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- SOFA IN A SMALL ROOM

Where do you usually start when you decorate a room? Many people start by choosing a rug or even artwork. However in a small room it’s best to choose the biggest piece of furniture first.

In a bedroom that would mean choosing the right bed for you and for the space in your bedroom. And keep in mind a bed in a bedroom is usually the focal point.

And for small living room layouts, a sofa would most likely be the largest piece of furniture. Most of us will put a sofa on the longest wall. This just makes sense.

Choose large furniture in proportion to the size of the room, its layout and the other furniture you are planning on adding to the room.

It’s smart to choose a slimmed-down sofa. Sofas with big rolled arms and overstuffed cushions look too big and out of place in a small room.

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- SOFA AND COFFEE TABLE

In our sunroom, we actually have a long wall with lots of windows that face the large opening to our dining room. So it was the logical place to put a sofa.

We chose a neutral-colored sofa with comfortable cushions and a slim look. Although the room is quite small we could put an 87-inch sofa on the long wall. So the long sofa adds the seating we need.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT RUG

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- GARDEN STOOL AND RUG

The floor space in a small living space is small but that does not mean covering it with a small rug. If you are using an area rug in your space make sure it is ample. A large rug will trick the eye and make your room seem larger.

Our sunroom is more of a “do what I say and not what I do”. when it comes to an area rug. Our room is not a standard size so we had to choose the best-fitting standard rug size. Decorating can be riddled with compromise!

This is a good lesson in decorating, we often have to settle for with the best we can find and not the idea in our head.

CHAIRS

SWIVEL CHAIR

There are three main types of chairs you can add to a room.

  • Foundational Chairs are sturdy and hold up well to being used often.
  • Accent Chairs are nice although do not hold up to wear and tear as well as foundation chairs. They also are valued for their decorative looks.
  • Occasional Chairs are chairs that do not hold up to much use and are put in a room for mostly decorative purposes.

Most chairs in a small room get lots of use unless you don’t use the room often. Choose sturdy chairs if your room gets lots of use, either foundation or accent chairs.

Stay away from occasional chairs because they are not very practical in a small room unless you are using an occasional chair to put things on like books.

Chairs in a small room should again, be proportional to the room and the other furnishings. Slimmed down chairs work best.

Even a wing chair or a club chair or an armchair can have a slimmer profile.

I like to call on my dear old friend Goldilocks to help me when it comes to finding furniture.

Goldilocks was looking for a chair that was not too big and not too small. She wanted a chair that was “just right”. And so should we!

There is only enough room in our small sunroom for two chairs. One is a swivel chair we just love and one is a smaller leather recliner.

Because there was only one small wall the TV would work on the swivel chair is perfect. Someone sitting on the chair can turn it around and watch TV.

Both of the chairs have a slimmer profile and are very sturdy.

COFFEE TABLE

COFFEE TABLE AND VASE OF FLOWERS

Coffee tables come in all shapes and sizes. The trick for finding the best coffee table for a small living space is to make sure there is plenty of room for the style and size coffee table you choose. And this can be a challenge!

Both size and shape play an important role in choosing a coffee table that works for your room.

One great option for a coffee table may be one that comes in an apartment size. Just remember that you should think of picking out a coffee table that works in proportion to the other furniture in your room.

I found a small coffee table that actually was close to the same color as my sofa. This makes their visual weight look lighter than if the two pieces were different colors. And in a small room visual weight is very important.

You can see more about WHY KNOWING ABOUT VISUAL WEIGHT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER DECORATOR.

SIDE TABLES AND END TABLES

BIG LAMP ON AN END TABLE

It’s nice to have a table on either side of a sofa or next to a chair. Think about using slim versions of tables.

Our end tables are quite slim and match the coffee table and the sofa. I would not usually match our furniture but the side tables were the perfect size and created a cohesive look in our small sunroom. These pieces became a sort of fool-the-eye design trick.

Our end tables are only big enough to hold our oversized lamps and a few coasters.

When you do not have enough space for tables try other creative options.

Here are a few table options in a small room…

  • garden stools
  • a large stack of books
  • a drink table
  • floating shelves
  • a decorative ladder
  • stacked baskets
  • a folding tea table
  • a decorative step ladder
  • a crate or barrel

LAMPS

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- LAMP

Lamps in a small room play an important role. Ideally light from lamps should form overlapping pools of light in a room.

Many rooms, even if they are small have some sort of overhead light. I abhor overhead lighting in most cases, even from a pretty chandelier! Overhead light is harsh and creates shadows and no one looks good bathed in it!

So my lamps of choice are table lamps, floor lamps and task lighting for a small room.

It’s best if there is lighting near each seat in a room. But it might be impractical for a small room! You might not have a table near a chair or there might not be an outlet handy. Or there might not be enough space. Probably a combination of all three!

It is important to light up a small space so everyone in it can see clearly. We have overhead lighting in our sunroom which we do not use and a lamp on the end tables. This is enough light for our room. We also have a small floor lamp behind the leather chair where I like to read.

I chose oversized lamps for the sunroom as statement pieces. Every room needs something in it that feels just a bit off but not too much. That tension grabs our attention and our minds read it as beauty. However, just one dose of something out of proportion or a pop of color, or something that seems like it doesn’t belong is enough. Especially in a small room.

MIRRORS AND ART

Add a mirror to a small room and the reflection in it will trick the eye into thinking the room is bigger than it is. A mirror will also reflect light. A small room is one place to add a big mirror.

Art in a small room can often be a focal point and, like a mirror, looks great if it is a bit oversized for your small room!

One great mirror and/or piece of art well placed in a small room looks amazing but too much of a good thing is a good thing. If you have one large mirror or piece of art, balance it with a grouping of smaller pictures.

Our sunroom has windows on three sides and the fourth side is open to the dining room. We chose to let the beautiful and changing views of our country golf course be the art we look at every day.

CURTAINS

HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM- SMALL ROOM

To keep the vertical space in a small room from looking cluttered keep curtains simple. Simple should be the buzzword for lots of things in a small room!

Hanging curtains on a wall as high as you can is a must in a small space. Curtains will draw the eye up making a space look bigger.

I wanted to use curtains in our sunroom so they would draw the eye up to our cathedral ceiling. So I chose to add just one panel of linen curtains with creamy white French knots to either side of the windows on our longest wall.

ACCENT DECOR

VASE OF FLOWERS

Accent decor like objects de art, pillows, plants, candlesticks, flowers, baskets, bowls, books, and more should be used with an edited hand.

Decorative accents give a room a big dose of your personality, add to the color palette in a room and look attractive. But it is very easy to add too many to a small room and make it look busy or overcrowded.

Choose and use your accent decor carefully. It’s best to underdress a small room than to overdress it!

WHERE TO PUT THE TV

CHAIR AND TV

If your small room is used for TV watching my best advice is to hang it on the wall! This is one of the best things we did to maximize space in our sunroom. We attached the T to the wall with an arm that swivels 180 degrees so it’s easy to move for the best viewing.

USE THE WALLS

Wall space is usually precious in a small room. If you have enough wall space think about going vertical! Add a small bookshelf or floating shelves for storage space and decorative objects. A slim shelving unit can be easily tucked behind a chair.

Also, think about installing sconces on walls for extra lighting.

STORAGE SPACE IN A SMALL ROOM

WINDOWS IN A SMALL ROOM

Storage space is at a premium in a small room. Here are items to consider using to add storage…

  • lift top coffee tables with storage
  • coffee tables with a shelf
  • lidded ottomans
  • a blanket ladder
  • baskets
  • an end table and coffee table with drawers

We have almost no built-in places to add storage to our sunroom. So we make the most out of baskets to store books and my latest DIY projects.

FLOWERS IN A VASE

A small room can be a little jewel in your home. Offering a place to watch TV or read a book, have a snack, and entertain! With these savvy tips, small rooms can be decorated to meet the needs of your family and guests and look very attractive.

SOURCES AND LINKS FOR THE SUNROOM

When the items in the images are not available I tried to substitute items that look similar.

FAQs ABOUT DECORATING A SMALL ROOM

The best way to decorate a small room is to keep it simple and follow the tips in this post.

Small rooms by nature tend to look cozy. Add lots of texture and lightly layer decor.

The same kind of furniture is in any living room. It’s a matter of finding pieces who’s size, scale, and proportion work together.

PIN FOR HOW TO DECORATE A SMALL ROOM POST
Hugs and Blessings,

Yvonne

13 Comments

  1. Hanging curtain panels only on the one window facing into the kitchen was an ‘out of the box’ move. I never would have done that, thinking the others would look unfinished but it works. It adds that little bit of softness and frames your beautiful new sofa.

  2. Yvonne,
    I am always using your tips in my home. I have recently redone my daughter’s room, but the rug chosen is just lacking and is a bit distracting (too small)! I have been looking every weekend for a 9×12 rug that sends us both over the moon. Well, when I showed her your sunroom, she asked (much to my delight), “Will that rug do in my room? I think it’s the one.” I did too. It is not listed in the sources and links. Would you mind sharing?

  3. I love this topic. We are in the process of looking for the right downsized home. The lack of options in our search area and huge inflated asking prices have left us disheartened. We know that when the appropriate home comes on the market we will have to make big decisions as to decor. I have read that decorators recommend not buying anything new until after a move to see if you can use some existing pieces, and that the new trend is using a blend of repurposed heirloom pieces and new items. The sunroom is a real inspiration, and I love the neutral colors.

  4. This post is very helpful. You’ve given me a few ideas for my spare room. I was wondering about the size of your sunroom/TV room.

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