You’ve lived for decades with your small living room and while it has become a cozy spot for you to relax, it may not seem that way to potential buyers. Luckily, there are multiple ways to stage a small living room so that it appears larger and more inviting. Home staging is recommended by a majority of real estate agents who have seen time and time again how staging the most important rooms of your house can increase its value by at least 1% to 5%. The increase in value is beneficial for all sellers, but especially to those navigating the current real estate market with longer sales times, fewer total bids, and an increase in price reductions. If you need to sell your house fast, staging will also decrease the amount of time the home is on the market.
First and foremost, keep your living room free of clutter. Consider that every little bit of clutter that comes into the living room and remains is taking up valuable space. Keep your room looking and feeling open by removing excess knick knacks, unnecessary wall art, unusable furniture, and anything else that isn’t needed. Limit items on your shelves to just a few important pieces. You should also limit unnecessary furniture by removing extra chairs, ottomans, and end tables. Finally, remove extra throw pillows that just end up getting tossed on the floor or falling off the couch.
Keep Your Walls Neutral
Excessively dark colors will visually shrink a room so if you are trying to make your living room appear larger, the last thing you need is dark, heavy paint on the walls. Instead, stick with neutral colors that create an open airy feel. Soft whites, light grays, and creams are the best colors to use. Avoid bright whites as they may make your living room feel uninviting or sterile. Don’t stop with just wall colors. Keep your walls looking larger than they are by limiting wall art. Avoid cluttering your walls with decor, shelves, and pictures. Instead, opt for an oversized art piece or even better an oversized mirror. Mirrors reflect light and create the appearance of a larger, more open space. Keep the mirrors large and free of overly ornate frames that will take up extra wall space.
Let in the Light
A small area can quickly look like a cave when natural light is blocked. Natural light makes any room look brighter and feel bigger. To amplify natural light in your small living room take down heavy, dark, or thick curtains. These will block too much light and make the window area appear smaller and gloomier. Instead, add a bit of color to your window moldings to draw the eye toward the windows and light. Cover your windows with light filtering or light weight adjustable blinds or sheer light-weight curtains that can be pulled back during the day.
Some living rooms have limited window space which can further the appearance of a small room. Create your own version of natural light by layering several different types of lighting. To ensure that your lighting doesn’t take up precious floor space you should opt for recessed lighting. These lights sit flush with your ceiling which eliminates any additional overhead fixtures that could make the ceiling appear lower. Stagger the lights for the most natural effect and choose dimmable recessed lights. When those lights are added you can also create back lighting with wall sconces and pendant lamps. These lights will not take up space and serve as an additional decorative feature in your living room. You can direct the flow of light upward with these lamps to create the impression of high ceilings.
Make Furniture Moveable and Multi-Functional
A small room is difficult to furnish because every square foot of space needs to be used efficiently. You can begin furnishing your small living room with a tapered and thin framed sofa and accent chairs. These are the central pieces of any living room so you want to make sure they fit perfectly. Next, ensure that the furniture makes a bit of a statement. You should look for furniture with buttons, fluting, and curves to add a bit of character to the room. Avoid adding a bunch of extra small pieces as these will make the room look cluttered. Finally, you may think your living room furniture is just for sitting on. But if you are short on space you can actually find furniture that doubles as storage. From couches with under cushion storage to stackable coffee tables and storage footrests, the options are really endless.
You have limited square footage to work with, but you want to create some kind of design element in your living room. Instead of searching for more floor space, why not take your decorating vertical? The easiest way to do this is by adding a shallow but tall bookcase behind your sofa. Not only will it provide space to decorate and draw the eye upward with visual interest, it will also keep your furniture off the walls which creates the effect of more space in the room. Remember to keep your shelves free from excess clutter to keep the area open and inviting.
Staging a small living room can be frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your space. Simply utilizing the space you have and limiting excess decorations can open up a small living room. If you are having doubts about your living room decor, speak to a trusted real estate agent about staging techniques that can benefit your home selling process.