What size TV is best for a small living room? Design experts explain

The size of your small living area's TV can really impact your room's look and feel

A small living room with a TV, red rug, accent chair, and coffee table
(Image credit: @goldenhourabode)

Wondering what size TV is best for a small living room? Having a television is a must-have for most households nowadays. That being said, if you choose one that doesn’t fit quite right, it can take over the whole space.

It can be so easy to wander through an electronics store, see all the beautiful large TVs, and picture grabbing one so you can have the most cinematic Netflix session ever. However, what looks good in the store might not actually fit properly in your own home — especially in a small rental or apartment.

If you have been looking through small living room ideas and want to make your place look as great as possible, picking the right size TV is an important factor in this. I’ve spoken to experts to find out what TV size you should look for, plus picked out three buys that are ideal for smaller spaces.

What size TV is best for a living area in a small rental or apartment?

Are you choosing furniture for your small living room, and want to make sure your TV will fit right, too? Here’s everything you need to know. 

The best size TV for a small living room

A small living room with a white couch, rug, and TV

(Image credit: @aloftlife_)

When choosing a small living room TV, there’s just a small size range you need to keep in mind. “I think the best size for a TV in a small living room is between 40-49 inches,” says David Mason, interior designer and founder of Knobs.co. “This recommendation depends on the layout of the room and how far away your seating area is from the TV.”

A black and white picture of David Mason wearing a fedora hat
David Mason

David Mason is an interior designer and the founder of Knobs.co. He has 10+ years of experience in home improvement, architecture, and interior design.

One important factor to consider when choosing the right size TV for a small living room is the viewing distance. “The general rule of thumb is to have a viewing distance that is 1.5 to 2 times the size of your TV screen,” Mason explains. “If you have a 40-inch TV, your seating area should be at least 60 inches away from the screen.” 

If your small living room has an open floor plan and ample wall space, you have more flexibility in choosing a larger TV size. “If your viewing distance is closer to 90 inches, you can opt for a slightly larger TV in the 48-55 inch range,” says Jonathan Faccone, founder of real estate company HALO Homebuyers. Just make sure that it doesn't overpower the room or take up too much valuable seating space.

A picture of Jonathan Faccone in a black shirt
Jonathan Faccone

Jonathan Faccone is a design expert, real estate investor and developer. He is the managing member of Halo Homebuyers, a real estate home-buying company based in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

What else to consider when choosing a TV for a small living room

A small living room with a TV on a wooden TV stand, a coffee table, rug, couch, and fluffy footrest

(Image credit: @highboyla)

Another consideration is the layout of your living room. “If you have limited wall space or furniture placement options, it's best to go for a smaller-sized TV, so it doesn't overwhelm the room,” says Mason. 

A smaller TV can also be mounted on a wall, if your landlord allows it. If they don’t, just be mindful of the stand you choose. “In this case, a slim and compact stand or entertainment unit can provide a stable base for your TV without taking up too much floor space,” Faccone tells me. “For renters, I would recommend choosing a TV stand that is easy to assemble and disassemble, making it convenient for moving to a new space.”

As well as this, it’s a good idea to opt for a multifunctional stand. “Look for TV stands that offer storage or integrate the TV into a small bookshelf unit to maximize utility in the room,” says Artem Kropovinsky, interior design expert and founder of Arsight. Using your TV stand to store items is a useful small living room storage idea.

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.

It’s also worth considering the screen resolution of your TV. “A full HD (1080p) TV is sufficient for small living rooms,” Faccone says. “However, if you want to future-proof your TV and have a budget to spare, consider investing in a 4K UHD TV.” These TVs offer four times the resolution of Full HD and provide a more detailed and crisp picture quality. This will also make your small space look more luxe.

3 small living room TVs

Want a TV that will fit in your space? These three are all great ideas for small apartment living rooms or rentals. 

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


Is a 40-inch TV big enough for a small living room?

Yes — when choosing a TV for a small living room, look for ones that are sized 40-49 inches.

Is a 32-inch TV big enough for a small living room?

32-inch TVs are a fine size for a small living room — but if you want something larger, you can go for ones that are between 40-49 inches. 

Now that you’ve picked out the right TV size for your small living room, your space might be in need of a rejig. This is how to organize a small living room, in order to maximize space as well as possible. 

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.