8 Seating Ideas For A Small Living Room

Over the last few years, new home construction has gotten bigger and bigger. In just four years, the average home increased from 2300 square feet to 2650 -- and with bigger houses comes proportionally bigger rooms. If you are one of the unlucky ones in a cramped, older space, today's oversized homes only make you notice it more. So how can you make your small living room still a social area with plenty of seating? We've pulled together designs from all over to give you eight great seating options for your small living room.
Even a small living room can offer both form and function. We have eight stylish seating options for you, which include:
  1. Pairing an armchair and sofa
  2. Placing a sectional with an armchair
  3. Two armchairs and a sofa
  4. C-Shaped seating
  5. A corner sectional with an ottoman
  6. Two armchairs
  7. Couch and ottoman
  8. Armchairs with flexible cushion seats and storage cubes/seats

We'll cover each one of these options with an example of how to make it work in your space, pitfalls to watch out for when decorating a small living room, and how to maximize seating. We'll also cover sectionals -- when they work and when they don't. 

Elegant grey couch with emerald pillows and ottoman seat, 8 Seating Ideas For A Small Living Room

Best Arrangements For Small Living Rooms

Decorating a small living room can be difficult, but some helpful hints and tricks make the challenge easier. 

  • Always pick furniture that fits the room. Smaller, slim furniture is typically more pleasing in a small space. Bulky pieces are overwhelming and visually crowd the room.
  • Consider flexible pieces, such as storage pieces that double as tables or tables that double as seats.
  • Large mirrors, especially placed across from a window, brighten and widen a room.
  • Tall windows, or at least high curtains, make ceilings seem higher, and the room appear bigger.

1. Armchair and Sofa

Colorful and cozy living room with a designer armchair and sofa along with a round decorative mirror and glass wall
As you can see here, using small, scaled furniture helps keep the room from feeling crowded. There is enough space for at least four people, not to mention several table surfaces. Yet, none of the pieces is overpowering or too oversized for the room. Bright colors, a large mirror, and high windows also help to open up the room.

2. Sectional and Armchair

Scandinavian apartment, living room with grey sectional sofa, sideboard and white armchair

Choosing a sectional for this room offers lots of seating without taking up a ton of space. Picking a sectional that does not have a back the entire way across also helps. Placing it so that the seating away from the wall is open visually creates a feeling of openness and seems to widen the space. Adding an armchair that is light and thin rather than bulky accommodates the room ideally.

3. Two Armchairs and Sofa

Scandinavian farmhouse living room interior, two armchairs and a sofa

A circular seating arrangement is a great way to encourage conversation and socializing. What's helpful is that this can be adjusted to any size room. You can skip the couch altogether for the smallest living room and arrange 3 or 4 small armchairs in a circle. For a larger area, you might even be able to use more than one small loveseat or couch.

4. C Shaped Seating

Hampton-style living room interior, C shaped seating

Making a c-shaped seating arrangement works very efficiently as it takes up a smaller footprint. Just be sure to leave adequate room for traffic flow. For example, in a narrow room, some seats may be unavailable or blocked by tables or other seats. Using nesting tables that provide a flat surface but can also be tucked out of the way can help alleviate congestion.

5. Corner Sectional With Ottoman

Elegant and comfortable designed living room with big corner sectional sofa with ottoman, wooden floor and big windows

This corner sectional packs a lot of seats into a small space. Some great perks of a piece like this include the low seat backs, making the whole piece seem smaller and less bulky. In a small room, visual tricks like this can be critical. The ottoman also provides storage but can perform double duty. Whenever the need arises, it can still be a table surface or a seat. When not needed, it's also easy to slide out of the way.

6. Two Armchairs

Black classic interior with fireplace, leather armchairs, carpet, candles

For a cozy setting, skip the large couch altogether. It doesn't offer as many seats, but it's a refreshing way to set up a room for intimate conversations. When you have a focal point already present (like this fireplace), two oversized chairs look relaxing and inviting when placed nearby.

7. Couch and Ottoman Seat

Two stylish small coffee tables with marble tops in front of elegant grey couch with emerald pillows and ottoman seat

Light furniture that fits the space means that you can fit more in. For example, these tables with a light, wire bottom leave a lot of open visual space underneath. The couch also has thin exposed legs for an airy look. A nearby ottoman is flexible -- use it as another table or seat, or move it to the corner if you need it out of the way. For even more functionality, pick an ottoman that serves as storage -- by hiding clutter, your small room will seem less crowded.

8. Armchairs, Storage Cubes, and Cushion Seats

Armchairs, Storage Cubes, and Cushion Seats and hanging pendant bulb lights in a modern living room in black and grey theme

If your space needs to be useful in several settings and scenarios, nothing beats flexible all-purpose furniture like this. Skipping the sofa altogether means the room can be arranged -- and rearranged -- as needed. A few large armchairs ground the space and keep it from looking bare. Small cubes can be used for storage, tables, or seats. Well placed cushions fill the room and offer additional seating.

However, all of these pieces can easily be moved against the wall if needed. This means the room can be repurposed temporarily into an exercise space, dance floor, or children's playroom. Then, after an hour or two, move the furniture back into its standard arrangement. 

What Is Considered A Small Living Room?

Homes have been trending larger and larger -- the average home in 2014 was more than double the average home in the 1960s. Of course, as homes get bigger, the rooms will increase in size as well. The average living room in 2018 was 330 square feet. This is roughly the same as 16 feet by 20 feet. A modern, small living room could be considered anything 12 feet by 18 feet (226 square feet) or less.

How Do You Maximize Seats In A Small Living Room?

If you need extra seating but are short on space, there are a few handy tricks to maximize the options available. These include:

Backless Seats

Use low-backed or no-backed seats. For example, a high backed armchair between the couch and the TV may not work, as it would block the view. A bench with no back, however, would not. This provides a seat for guests who visit but also doesn't interfere when you're home alone. Consider this one, which also adds storage:

Click here to see this storage bench on Amazon.

Seats Under The Coffee Table

Place stools or storage cubes under the coffee table. They can be tucked away when not in use or pulled out for extra seating. This coffee table comes with four additional seats.

Click here to see this coffee table on Amazon.

Tables Can Also Be Seats

Pick tables that can also function as seats. For example, a bench or a storage cube makes a great flat table surface. But, when seats are necessary, it also doubles as a great spot to take a rest.

Click here to see this storage table on Amazon.

Repurpose A Footstool

Footstools are another multi-purpose piece of furniture. Use them to lounge when you are home alone or utilize them as yet another option when company comes over. Consider a footstool, ottoman, or a decorative pouf cushion. This useful piece can be a footstool, table, seat, or storage.

Click here to see this piece on Amazon.

Use A Sectional

Consider a sectional that fits in the room. Corner sectionals are often a great choice for a lot of seats in a small space. For example, this one offers seven seats!

Click here to see this sectional on Amazon.

Are Sectionals Good For Small Living Rooms?

Sectionals give the appearance of one continuous piece of furniture. This means that you get several seats, but to the viewer, the room seems less cluttered. Since the eye is only taking in one item rather than several, it gives a cleaner appearance to the room. Just be sure to pick a slim sectional with straight, narrow lines rather than an oversized or stuffed version. The latter risks are appearing too large for the room.

To Summarize...

If your small living room leaves you frustrated and cramped-feeling, there's plenty of great seating options available. Open the space by careful placement of large pieces, such as a couch or sectional. Pick slimmed-down furniture that fits the room without crowding it.

Consider backless furniture, which appears to widen the room. Backless furniture also offers more flexibility in placement options. Or, arrange several armchairs, and skip the couch altogether. Even in a small space, you can choose to have both style and substance.

If you enjoyed this, try:

9 Small Living Room Layouts With Tv

How To Place A Sectional In A Small Living Room (5 Layout Ideas)

35 Very Small Living Room Ideas

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