Small Living Room? No problem!
When we bought our first home, I was so excited to have a place of my own that I didn't realize how small the living room actually was until after we had moved all of the furniture in.
Sure, we knew it needed a good cleaning and fresh coat of light-colored paint.....
But who knew couches, tables, recliners and TV stands took up so much valuable floor space?!
In an effort to avoid having to throw out items we LOVED or line up everything around the perimeter of the room, I did these next few tips to maximize living space as well as enhance the design:
1. CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!
Preferably before you've moved furniture into the room, get out that broom and dustpan and get to work! If you already have things in the room, have no fear! Just move things one at a time as you get to it.
Clean the floors, clean the walls, clean the baseboards and above the windows. Clean the ceiling fan and any lights. Clean like your mother-in-law is coming for a visit. ;)
*Pro tip* Check that all lights and fans are operating properly and no bulbs are burnt out then replace as necessary. Saves effort later and you can use that energy elsewhere.
Now that everything looks and smells fresh, it's time to get down to business.
(Feel free to pour yourself a glass of wine at this point)
2. First, we're going to start by tapping into our inner "Marie Kondo." If you don't know who she is, check her out here: https://konmari.com/about-marie-kondo/
Before you laugh, she's a GENIUS and her methods really work! The basic principle is this: Go around to each item in your room, decide if it brings you joy and you can live without it or not. If you can't part with it, keep it. If you're hanging onto it just because you feel a sense of duty to it (because it's accompanied you through all your moves since high school or an aunt gave it to you but you never really thought it suited you) then donate or discard it.
Once you've decided what you want to cherish, take another look at all of it again and see if there's anything else you'd ultimately rather part with.
3. With everything clean and sorted, piles of knick-knacks and trash picked up, then it's time to GET EVERYTHING OFF THE FLOOR. One thing you'll notice in immaculate homes is that shoes, blankets, baskets, et cetera are stored off the floor.
In our home, I have a trunk that is utilized to hold blankets. On top of that, I placed a nice basket that holds everyone's shoes since closet space is limited. This way, when people walk in they aren't seeing a pile or bucket of shoes. Instead, they see a nice trunk with a basket on top. Same goes for toys... in a trunk that's easily accessible to small children and also where they can be picked up and out of view for when adult company is over.
4. Next, take pictures of your room from each corner. For some reason, from the perspective of a picture, it's easier to see what changes need to be made rather than just looking at it head-on. It's also a bit less intimidating when deciding how to rearrange furniture.
If you have a large, rectangular rug in the center of your room, consider switching it for a smaller, circular rug. Not only are they more unique, they add more opportunity for furniture layout design.
With pictures in-hand, decide where to place your couch. If it's in the center of the room, consider moving it against a wall. Have a loveseat and/or a recliner? Catty-corner the loveseat and place a table behind it for storage and a nice flower vase or lamp on top.
Is your entertainment center outdated or too bulky? Instead, opt for a TV wall-mount and install a floating shelf to hold cable boxes, gaming systems, routers, etc. You can also build a couple shelves with simple shelving brackets, screws and a 1 or 2 x 12" piece of wood- cut to the specific dimensions you need and then paint or stain accordingly (this is what I did).
5. Take a look at those curtains.
Are they hanging from curtain rods fashioned at the corner of your windows? If they are, move them. If you have standard 8-foot ceilings, raise them about 6 inches above the window frame. If your ceilings are higher, you can raise a bit more. This will make your ceilings look taller and your room bigger. If you have a lot of windows and enjoy a lot of natural light (think: houseplants to add a bit of freshness and greenery) consider removing the curtains altogether and opt for some designer shades instead.
There are several more things you can do to maximize living room space but these are the fundamentals I've used to make my own room more functional and comfortable to lounge in. After all, functionality really is KEY!