A Guide to Choosing a Sofa for a Small Living Room

Small Living Room

Choosing a sofa for a small living room is not a simple task. There are many factors you will need to consider depending on how much space you want to devote to a sofa, the type of fabric you want, and whether the sofa fits the design of your living room. 

With some careful planning, you can narrow down your options and identify the best sofa for your small living room. You will need to think about many things such as the aesthetic you are trying to create and how to arrange your sofa. In this guide, we will explore the many options you have when choosing a sofa and the effect your sofa can have on your living room space. 

How to Arrange Sofa in a Small Living Room 

Negotiating with the space available in your small living room is necessary when arranging a sofa. Typically, a sofa is placed away from the wall to allow the living room to breathe and provide corridors for people to walk through without furniture getting in the way. However, a small living room complicates how your sofa is arranged given the limited space you have to work with.

To resolve this dilemma, without letting your sofa take up too much room, is to place your sofa at least 12 inches in every direction. This gives your sofa enough room to stand out while providing an illusion of spaciousness that is important in every small living room, which otherwise may feel too claustrophobic for you and your guests. 

Another step you can take to better arrange the sofa in your small living room is by placing a small table a fair distance away from your couch or furniture. Placing a table too tightly up against your sofa can make your living room feel congested and difficult to navigate through. 

If your sofa is rectangular, then you should also consider placing a circular table next to the sofa rather than a rectangular table. This helps diversify the shapes that take up space within your small living room and ensures that your living space is not filled with too much rectangular or square-shaped furniture.  

Make Your Sofa Accessible

Accessibility is important for every living space, especially for a small living room. When purchasing furniture, you need to make sure that the furniture does not block off entrance ways or corridors people need to walk through. Additionally, your sofa should not be cluttered by other objects such as tables, library stands, or other household items. 

Here are some useful tips to make your sofa more accessible: 

  • Place your sofa at least 12 inches away from walls or large objects such as tables
  • Before purchasing or placing your sofa in your living room, measure your sofa and the dimensions of your hallways and entrance ways to ensure there is enough space 
  • After finding an ideal spot for your sofa, walk around your sofa and determine whether it is easy enough to maneuver around your living room and sofa 

Taking the time to make your sofa accessible without compromising the arrangement of your small living room is crucial, especially if you regularly invite over guests. The comfortability and elegance of your living room is worth investing in, but the accessibility of your sofa is an even more important feature of every functional living space. 

It does not matter how aesthetically pleasing your living room is if there is no easy access to the sofa, which is one of the major aspects of every living space. 

How Do You Make a Small Living Room Look Bigger With Furniture?

Small Living Room Sofa
Small Living Room Sofa

A small living room might be small, but it does not have to look small. There are ways to make your living room look bigger without adding any additional space. 

The easiest way to do this is by opting for multi-purpose furniture. This means finding furniture that not only gives you somewhere to sit and relax, but a place to store your belongings. You can find storage sofas that take up less space and in turn make your small living room look bigger. 

Another thing you will want to consider is the color palette of your living space. Are there too many colors that stand out in your living room? Too many colors make your living room appear smaller because of too many conflicting colors and objects that overwhelm your senses at once. 

Reducing the number of colors in your living room to a spare few will produce a sense of fluidity and create the perception of a large living room. 

Lighter and neutral colors tend to be the best choices when trying to produce an airy, light, and spacious atmosphere in your living space. Generally speaking, lighter-neutral colors (e.g. white, sage, beige) blend together well, while not calling attention to a single part of your small living room. As such, lighter colors elevate the overall cohesiveness of your living room while making the room look bigger. 

As previously mentioned, if you own larger furniture, another thing you can do is place the furniture at least 12 inches from the walls. This makes your living room appear wider and more accessible. 

Placing furniture at least 12 inches from the walls makes more open space in your living room, opens up more pathways for you to walk through, and ultimately makes your living room look bigger. By placing furniture somewhat close to the edges, this creates the perception that your living room is bigger since there is more free space towards the center of the room.  

Choosing Furniture for a Small Living Room 

Choosing the best furniture for a small living room is an ordeal, as there are many aspects of the furniture you will need to consider before making your final decision. Sofas are not cheap, so you want to make sure you do not regret your purchase later. That is why taking the time to work through your options ahead of time is key to perfecting your living space and finding a sofa that calls out to you. 

There are a few styles of furniture you can choose from, each with their own distinct benefits: 

  • Sectional sofa
  • Sleeper sofa
  • Storage sofa
  • Love seat

Depending on your personal preferences and home environment, you may find that one specific style of furniture is better suited for your living space. Every home and living room is unique, so make sure your furniture is something everyone can enjoy, guests included. 

Choosing the ideal sofa style for a small living room is important, so you should ask yourself the right questions to figure out which style is best for your living space.

Here are a few examples of other probing questions that will help you determine the right sofa type to place in your small living room: 

  • Is a two-piece sectional sofa a better fit or a conventional one-piece sofa?
  • Is a love seat a better alternative to a typical sized sofa? 
  • Will a sectional or conventional sofa make the living room look bigger?

Once you have answered these questions, you should have a better idea of what style of sofa is best for your small living room and reduce the number of choices you have to choose from.  

Sectional Sofa

As the name implies, a sectional sofa or couch is split up into single-sized units that can be set up in a variety of positions. Usually a sectional couch is divided up into two sections that merge to form an L shape: one section with three couch cushions and the other section with two couch cushions. 

Sectional couches give you the freedom to rearrange your small living room to make your sofa more hospitable for guests or for you to get creative and try fresh looks for your living room. This style of furniture is most optimal when placed up against a corner or towards the middle of the living room where there is plenty of open space. 


Sofa Bed Mechanics

If you could use an extra bed or two, then a sofa-bed or sleeper-sofa might be a good option for you. Sofa-beds have built-in beds that you can unfold out after removing the sofa cushions. This is a great addition to your home if you do not have any guest rooms or want the luxury of a bed while watching your favorite shows on a living room TV. 

Sleeping on a regular sofa can be uncomfortable and ruin the cushioning of your sofa pillows. Having a sofa-bed is a great alternative to a conventional sofa and is useful to have around when there is a shortage of beds around the house. 

Storage Sofa

Storage sofas give you extra space to store your household items and belongings by conveniently providing space inside the couch out of plain sight. Sectional sofas often come with storage, but in other cases storage sofas simply have seats or footstools that you can place items on. 

For small living rooms with limited space, a storage sofa offers a lot of utility as an extra storage unit you can include to free up more space. Storage sofas can help declutter your small living room if you are having trouble finding places to put your household items or smaller pieces of furniture like tables or library stands. 

Love Seat


As a compact piece of furniture, love seats provide enough room for two people, including two family members, friends, or romantic partners as the name suggests. Love seats are sold individually, but are also sold with larger furniture sets. 

For living rooms that are small and compact, a love seat is usually a solid choice since it is much smaller compared to most furniture. 

Measurements of Your Small Living Room

Before you can think about adding furniture to a small living room, you need to know how much space you have to work with. Since you have limited space to work with, this makes getting the measurements of your living room even more essential.

The most effective way to get measurements for your small living room is with a tape measure. A tape measure is the ideal measuring tool for getting a better idea of how much space your living space has to offer. 

Depending on the length and width of your living room, certain types of sofas might be more optimal compared to others. This is something you will need to consider when choosing sofas, as your options may be limited based on how your small living room is laid out. 

Mark Out Your Small Living Room

Once you have a good idea of how much space your small living room has, the next step is to mark out where exactly you would like to place your sofa. To do this, you will need some masking tape. Marking out areas on the floor you would like to designate to your sofa is not only helpful, but necessary if you want to find the ideal size and shape of a sofa for your small living room. 

Since you are already familiar with the various styles of sofa, marking out your small living room will better enable you to choose the best style sofa for the areas you have marked out. In some cases, a sectional sofa may be better, whereas in other living rooms a conventional sofa might be the optimal choice. This is something you should have at the back of your mind when marking out your small living room. 

To better aid you in the process of finding the ideal sofa, pulling up some images of different style sofas, along with their dimensions, will help you identify a sofa for your living space. This means you will want some images of a conventional sofa, a sectional sofa, and possibly a love seat if you think going with smaller sized furniture may be a viable option for your small living room. 

As previously mentioned, you should also take the time to figure out where the placement of your sofa will disrupt the circulation and accessibility of different parts of your living room. This may require you to try multiple configurations for your sofa using the masking tape before you identify the most optimal configuration for your small living room. 

Take your time and try out various possibilities when marking out different ways of placing your sofa, as this will ultimately determine the atmosphere, accessibility, and aesthetic for your small living room. 

The Shape of Your Sofa Matters

You may not realize it, but your furniture is taking up more space than it needs to. With most conventional furniture, the shape that is often used is either rectangular or square-shaped. To take up less space in your living room, you can use circular shaped furniture instead. 

Round sofas take up less space by removing the edges that most furniture usually has. An example of this could be replacing a boxxy loveseat with a round loveseat or a rectangular couch with a rounded sofa.  

Although it may seem like round furniture may not make a large enough impact, if you use round furniture for the majority of your home’s interior design you will notice that your small living room looks more spacious. 

Replacing furniture with sharp edges with rounded corners will produce a clean, sleek look for your small living room while giving you more accumulated space to worth with. 

Replace Your Coffee Table With an Ottoman

Instead of taking up space with a traditional coffee table, you can replace that table with an ottoman. Ottomans are multi-tasking furniture, so they are optimal for small living rooms where every unit of space matters even more. 

You can even find ottoman benches instead if you want additional storage in your small living room. An Ottoman bench takes up slightly more room but offers a greater storage capacity when compared to conventional ottomans.  

Ottoman Storage
Ottoman Storage

Ottomans not only allow you to place objects on them like ordinary coffee tables, but they are also multi purpose. You can use ottomans as footrests, seats, storage units, or simply as a smaller, more compact alternative to a coffee table if you are trying to make more space in your living room. 

Consider a Multi-Tasking Sofa for a Small Living Room

Since you have less room to work with in a small living room, it is essential to get the maximum value and utility out of your furniture. For this reason, a multi-tasking sofa that performs two functions can help a great deal when trying to free up more space in a small living room.

Here are some examples of multi-tasking sofa:

  • Storage sofa: Storage sofas incorporate the primary function of furniture for sitting and relaxing on with the ability to store household items. 
  • Ottoman: This piece of furniture can act as storage, a footstool, and a seat all-in-one and is a great replacement for a conventional coffee table. 

Once again, these multi-tasking sofas still provide a small living room with comfortable and inviting furniture, but also give you free-rein to store items and establish more free space. This is a win-win situation for small living rooms where the constraints on space can be difficult to navigate around while you, as the owner of this living space, still desire to create an accommodating home. 


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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