6 seating ideas for small living rooms — designers love these looks for snug spaces

Experts say these seating ideas for small living rooms are perfect for making your room chic and cozy

Seating ideas for small living rooms are always useful. Here is a small living room with a white couch and armchair, a wooden coffee table, a brown lamp, and white walls
(Image credit: David Bagosy)

The perfect snuggle zone starts with great seating ideas for small living rooms. After all, chairs and couches are where you spend the most time in this space, so they've got to be cozy, comfortable, and cute.

We've spoken with interior designers who are pros at making spaces inviting for their clients, to hear their top seating ideas for small living rooms. From choosing luxe fabrics to picking pretty poufs, they've given us plenty of inspo.

If you're after small living room ideas, picking the right seating really can transform your space both aesthetically and functionally.

Seating ideas for small living rooms

When choosing furniture you need for a small living room, chairs are worth remembering. Luckily, there are plenty of different kinds, including gorgeous accent chairs for small spaces, and endless ways to style them.

If you're shopping seats from scratch, we've also found some beautiful buys to match our expert tips.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Bring in pieces with a dual purpose

A small living room with a white ceiling, windows, gray couch, rug, and footstools and poufs

(Image credit: @highboyla)

When picking furniture for any small space, making sure it brings as much bang for your buck as possible is a money-savvy idea.

“In a small living room, I recommend bringing in pieces to serve dual purposes, especially when it comes to seating,” says Kathy Kuo, interior design expert and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home

A picture of Kathy Kuo in a kitchen with a blue top on
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is an interior design expert and founder of Kathy Kuo Home, which is a premiere e-destination with a beautifully curated collection of luxury furniture and decor and interior design services.

She continues, “Try storage ottomans and poufs you can use as footstools or additional seating.”

These are especially useful, as you can keep them out the way most of them, and then move them to the forefront if you have guests around. Totally genius.

2. Choose the right fabrics

A rustic small living room with a wooden frame leading through to kitchen diner, a gray L-shape couch, warm yellow velvet accent chair, wooden floors and coffee table

(Image credit: Sarah Baker)

Imagine sinking onto a soft seat at the end of the day, tea in hand, ready to chill. If this sounds dreamy to you, make sure to look at the fabric when mulling over seating ideas for small living rooms.

“I always add in chairs with rolled arms in a luxurious fabric, as these can give all the coziness of a huge armchair and are perfect for small living rooms,” says Valerie Helgeson, interior designer at Design Directions.

A picture of Valerie Helgeson, a woman wearing a black dress with blonde hair
Valerie Helgeson

Valerie Helgeson is an interior designer based in Oklahoma City. She specializes in creating bespoke homes with a comfortable, classic design.

Even if you can’t invest in a high-end fabric, choosing seating and throw blankets made from cotton, velvet, and faux fur will still add tactile appeal. 

3. Be mindful of layout

A white small living room with a red rug, white couch, and white armchairs

(Image credit: @simplysanfordco)

As well as choosing where you put your seating, the placement of this furniture item in your small living room is pivotal for creating a relaxing vibe all can enjoy.

“One of my top tips is considering a layout cleverly arranged to promote conversation,” says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.

He continues, “I like to design seating arrangements circularly to make the spaces inviting and warm.”

Play with the placement of chairs and couches, and if you’re finding you’re having to crane your neck or shout across the room, it might be time for a rejig. 

A good tip when deciding how to arrange furniture in a small living room will save you the backbreaking work of physically moving heavy furniture around, only to find it won't fit in a new configuration.

Make a scaled-down paper version of your furniture using old newspaper or magazine pages, and jiggle the miniatures around on a to-scale paper floor plan, before committing to heaving things about in real life.

4. Create the illusion of space

A small living room with a white couch and armchair, a wooden coffee table, a brown lamp, and white walls

(Image credit: David Bagosy)

We love finding clever tricks to make small rooms look bigger here at Real Homes, which is why we’re loving this tip.

“Seating like the sofa in this room I styled, with clean lines and narrow arms, creates the illusion of a bigger piece of furniture and leaves more space for the seat cushion,” says Laura Stein, interior designer at Laura Stein Interiors.

A picture of Laura Stein, a woman wearing a navy blazer and scarf with brown hair
Laura Stein

Interior designer Laura Stein specializes in luxury homes for clients seeking the warmth and personality of their very own bespoke sanctuary.

This means people won’t feel squished — we’re talking about being cozy, not cramped. Laura continues, “Armless chairs are also a great choice, as they look elegant and take up less space, while still being comfortable.” 

Opting for subtly stylish shapes is a key part of dressing homes with the popular quiet luxury trend in mind, too.

5. Give existing seats new life

A small living room with blue vintage chairs, a mirror, and a brown dresser

(Image credit: Ashley Ippolito Photography)

You don’t even need to buy anything new when changing up the seating in your small living room — if you’re willing to use a bit of elbow grease.

“In this living room, we painted and upholstered these vintage dining chairs and flanked an antique drop-leaf table for added seating when needed,” explains Gaia Guidi Filippi, principal designer at Gaia G Interiors.

A picture of Gaia Guidi Filippi, a woman wearing an orange top in front of a background with trees
Gaia Guidi Filippi

Gaia Guidi Filippi is the principal designer of Dallas-based Gaia G Interiors. She loves to unearth innovative products and discover unique treasures and textiles to distinguish her clients’ homes.

By upcycling furniture like this, you’ll end up with a unique seat no one else will have. When your guests ask where it’s from, you can smugly reply you’ve DIYd it.

You could always shop at secondhand furniture stores like Goodwill, or look through thrift stores if you don’t have a piece but want to get the vintage decor look on budget. It's great for the environment, too.

6. Place down floor cushions

A small living room with a hammock, floor cushions, a gray accent chair, and an orange rug

(Image credit: @goldenhourabode)

For speedy small living room seating solutions, Kathy says, “Floor pillows can add coziness and be easily moved around.” 

She adds that they’re a fun way to add extra seating to a small space, creating a relaxed feel for guests to sit around and chat. Talk about a smart boho small living room idea.

If you’re in a pinch, you can even just use throw pillows you already have elsewhere in the home. 

By mixing up a range of large and small seats, you’ll be able to create plenty of space for guests.

“Tiny living rooms really can still accommodate lots of seating for lounging and entertaining,” Valerie finishes by saying.

Now you’ve got your seating covered, you can also find out other ways to make a small living room cozy.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.