Published on April 29, 2016

City dwellers know all too well that sometimes, common space—like the living room—comes at a cost. You either get a nice big bedroom and a teeny tiny common space—or you luck out and get a decent-sized living area, but make the personal decision to use your space for work, not chill. But everyone needs a spot in their home to relax, even if that space is a cozy armchair nuzzled next to a desk, which is why we gathered tips for creating a zen living room—NO sofa included.

get a love seat

People often forget about these smaller-than-average sofas, but they’re still around. Even though they only seat maybe two people comfortably, it’s still a step up from a chair that seats one. Plus, you can find a ton in super modern shapes, making your smaller-than-you’d-like living room area feel more grown up and less like a college dorm room.

mount your tv

If “chilling” means tuning in to your favorite shows, you’re going to need a tv in your living room. Not having room for a television stand or console doesn’t mean you have to give up your big screen. Mounting your screen—in creative places using angles that are maybe a stretch—will get the job done. If you don’t have to tilt your screen to see it, consider adding a floating shelf underneath for more storage and styling options—especially if you don’t have room for a coffee or side table.

find a plush chair

Foot rest optional. If all you have room for is a chair, make it a comfy one! Find a super plush dream chair and treat it like your own persona-sized sofa. Having a foot rest will make it feel more regal and less like you’re settling. Remember: Cozy doesn’t mean bulky. We would snuggle into this modern-shaped chair any day.

make use of flexible seating

We’re talking poufs, floor cushions, and folding chairs. Yup, we went there. This way, you can still entertain a small handful of friends without having people sit directly on the floor—and your seating can either stack or lean against one wall or be stored away in a spare closet when not in use.

create a comfy nook

If all you have room for is a bench, make the most of it by adding pillows, and making sure at least one end is against the wall for optimal leaning. If a bench sounds way too uncomfortable for your liking, look at chaises instead. A bench will be skinnier and lack a back, but they’re cushioned and definitely easier to lay or lounge on.

use a folding table

Again, to eliminate daily clutter, use a folding tray table instead of keeping a real coffee or side table out to create a more minimalistic feel. This way, when you lounge, you’ll be able to set your coffee (or glass of wine), book, snacks, and phone on a surface, but that surface won’t get in the way when you’re not using it. 

(Placing a tray on another chair or ottoman works, too. Yeah, we have even more small living room ideas.)

don’t forget to accessorize

Lighting, a rug, and filled walls are still a must—even in a super small space! Adding accessories will help make the room feel more personal and less tiny. Treat your living room area or corner like you would a real, large living room and it will feel like one!

Still feel small? We have tips to making your space seem bigger, too. 

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