Make the best of even the smallest living room

Living rooms often end up being the cleanest, organised and most well-laid room of the house, the place where everything looks like it is in its place. But this isn’t always because it’s being cared for adequately, instead, especially in Indian homes, we sometimes leave it as a for-guests-only space. A room the kids aren’t allowed to mess about it in, the room you simply walk through on your way to the front door, a place that’s only for receiving and entertaining guests, but not a living room for ‘living’ in. Sometimes this also happens because the room is too big or far too small, or because it has been left without the effort to make it an inviting space. If your living room isn’t being used as a ‘family room’ to bring the members of the household together then it’s a terrible waste of space.

To return home and plop together or individually into a comfortable, cosy room where things are as you like it, is a fabulous luxury. Whether you’re just lounging around or entertaining guests, this set of items and ideas will make the space cosy and perhaps pull you in to spend more time here. We’re thinking of a small space in this case, but many of these ideas work just as well for larger spaces.


A selection of layered rugs, throws, and pillows instantly fill up a space, and all these items are useful. Adding a rug under the coffee-table carves the room up visually and gives everything its own place in the scheme of the room. If you’re in a part of the country where having a carpet feels appropriate, even then you could use a rug under the coffee-table, of course that will add height to the table so make sure to keep that in mind. Floor pillows are very hardworking accessories. They create great visual points in the room, but also perform as extra seating that can be moved around as guests wish.

Living room with a yellow sofa-frames on the wall-wooden cabinet

Make sure the space has a throw, some cushions and textures that cosy up the space, and make you want to spend time there and not leave.


Paint colour
When you’re choosing the paint colour for this room, remember that neutrals are always best. And depending on the colour scheme of your furniture, you could opt for the right shade that accentuates the accessories and everything in it. Only, keep in mind that paint colour reflects differently depending on the time of day. It is always best to try a sample on the wall at different times of day before deciding on the colour. The colour will also reflect differently, depending on the part of the room which has more natural light streaming in. These are all points to keep in mind.

Play with lights
Task lighting is crucial. Table lamps, warm-coloured ones, will add a sense of cosiness and provide extra lighting to the areas of the room where you’re likely to need it. If you’ve created the space with provisions for various sources of light (ambient, task and accent) then that’s great. These sources of light must be in different heights of the room throughout the room. And of course, choose bulbs with a soft, warm glow.

Choose the right wood and polish
Warm hues like gold and chestnut create an inviting, appealing atmosphere in the space. However, don’t overdo the gold as too much of it will look intimidating. Rooms with metallic accents usually present better in the evenings, so if you’ve got too many then during the day, the space will seem out of place.

Add different textures
Always keep a throw handy, for when the air-conditioning gets too chilly. Throws also add doses of cosiness and invokes an inviting feeling. Be careful with the material you choose, so it’s not too warm during the summer months. Linens and wools will be too warm for the summer. If there’s a bit of a window seat in the living room then create a reading nook here, with a pouffe and textured pillows. Different textures of pillows united by a single colour scheme works wonderfully. 


Living room with exposed concrete walls-blue sofa-statues-large frame on the wall

Make sure you keep coffee table books that are easy to pick up and browse through quickly.

Add books
They say coffee-table books are out, but really that just means coffeetable books will make a comeback soon. Ensure you don’t have exceptionally large unwieldy ones that can’t be picked up without strength-training. These books can be kept around in strategic spots, and within the space provided by a coffee-table, or even on a side-table or on the floor. Another way to add books is by creating a side table with a stack of books, either next to the armchair or the sofa. It is always nice to maintain a unison of subject or ideas, and rather have picture heavy captivating but pick-up and browse-through books so that’s easy and interesting for anyone who’s going through them even for a very short period of time.

Include a touch of leather
If you prefer a minimalist colour scheme, just one leather item like an armchair or a single seater sofa can add warmth to the space.

Use plants
Potted plants and vase with flower bunches help bring in a touch of homeliness while adding freshness.


Use picture frames
Photo frames with images of your favourite memories, whether they be black and white or colour, instantly adds a personal touch to any space.

Mix new with the old
Mix up your old pieces with new contemporary furnishings to create a sense of familiarity.

Live with what you love
Surround yourself with things you love to look at, add collectibles from your travels, pieces that are inherited, curios that have a story to tell and friends and family to share the love with. If you’ve collections of Polaroids, create a scheme out of them on the coffee-table or side-table, because they tell stories about you to your visitors and become interesting points of conversation and reminders for the family of time passing. What could be better than that?

living room with a green sofa-blue wall-frames on the wall-different patterned cushions

A collection of images that matter, in an interesting series of frames, and even posters will ensure the walls of the living room are worth paying attention to.

Next up…

5 feature wall ideas for your living room

Bring your living room walls to life with some inspiration from our favourites

8 colour combinations to ring in the festive spirit

Wow your guests with these new colour mash-ups for your Christmas décor

Organise the centre table in your living room this Diwali

Keep your centre table organised and stylish this Diwali with our handy tips

8 Diwali decoration ideas by Sruthi Singh of The East Coast Desi TECD

Our favourite blogger, Sruthi Singh, has put together 8 innovative lighting ideas for the home this Diwali, exclusively for Beautiful Homes!

Other topics we’re covering