If you live in London, getting on the property ladder may seem like a fantasy. It’s not all bad news though. Although you might not be able to afford the house of your dreams, there’s lots of schemes out there to help would-be homeowners on their property-owning journey, such as shared ownership, help to buy, or a rent to buy scheme.
However they get on that first rung, many people’s first homes could be euphemistically described as bijou, cosy or compact. This is especially true if you’re in London or the south-east where you don’t get as much for your money as you do in, say, northern England, where you can still buy a house for the price of an Eccles cake.
It doesn’t matter how small your home is though, it’s yours, yay, and you can furnish and decorate it however you like. A five-foot yellow smiley painted on the ceiling? No problem. Purple polka dot tiles in the kitchen? Totally up to you. A disco glitter ball in the bathroom? Go for it.
On the subject of size though, unless you’re planning to hire an architect to draw up plans for an extension, you’re going to be stuck with what you’ve got for a while.
But with a bit of thoughtful furniture placement and some clever ways with paint, you can make your home feel more spacious than it is.
Below, you’ll find some tips on furnishing a small living room to make the most of the limited space you have available.
Paint your walls in light, neutral colours. If feature walls are your thing, don’t worry, you can still have one, just ensure it’s on one wall only, or maybe just the alcoves so you don’t overpower the room and make the room feel like the walls are closing in on you.
Mirrors are well-known for making rooms look bigger by reflecting light and bouncing it off the walls. No one wants to live in a house of mirrors though, so don’t overdo it.
If you love having artwork on the wall, white frames are better than black, as black will suck all the light out of a room.
Replace curtains with blinds, as curtains can look heavy and make a room look more cluttered. Blinds or shutters will give your room a streamlined look and will add space to the sides and tops of the windows and make your room look taller.
When you’ve been out and about looking for furniture, you might have been tempted to have a look in antique shops. Yes, vintage furniture is beautiful but it’s usually big and chunky and big and chunky isn’t a good idea for small living rooms.
You don’t have to deck your living room totally in white Ikea flat-pack furniture but keep your furniture as sleek as you can. For example, armchairs take up huge amounts of room so give armchairs a swerve in favour of stools and if you can get cube stools that fit under your coffee table, that’s another win for the war on space. U shaped sofas are a great way to maximise space in smaller rooms.
Multi-functional furniture is perfect, so have a look at sofas that turn into sofa-beds, along with ottomans and coffee tables with storage space within them.
Mount your television on the wall with a shelf underneath for any media or streaming devices to avoid cabinets taking up precious floor space.
In terms of the floor space itself, updating your living room’s flooring or carpet is a fantastic way to make it feel fresh, warm and inviting. Soft, deep pile Saxony carpets have a plush, luxurious feel that your feet will thank you for, and can be an inexpensive upgrade – particularly in a small space. With free samples and options from online stores such as Carpet Warehouse, it’s easier than ever to find the perfect shade and style for your space.
Speaking of storage, forget about buying big chunky bookshelves and build shelves into your alcoves instead.
If you have bay windows, these are perfect for window seats with storage underneath them as this will solve your seating and storage problems at the same time.
A small living room doesn’t have to feel cramped and claustrophobic. With a bit of thought and careful planning, it can look and feel a lot more spacious than it is.