You’ve finally landed your dream space in a great location, but the living room is small—and you need so much function out of the space. A living room is a place to relax and watch TV, hang with friends, or eat a relaxed meal in the comfort of home.  If you’re tight on space, the living room can also be a place to get some work done or let your guests crash for the night. So, how do you design a stylish living room for your small space that looks great and fits the needs of your lifestyle?

To get expert design advice, we sat down with HGTV celebrity Chip Wade. In his Emmy-winning HGTV show, Elbow Room, Chip solved numerous design challenges for families all over the country. Recently, Chip partnered with Xtraroom to design a new brand of multipurpose furniture that is changing the way rooms are traditionally defined. Xtraroom’s transforming furniture is not only chic, but it allows rooms to serve multiple functions from living, to dining, to home office– and everything in between.

Chip offered up a few simple tips on designing small living rooms while maximizing space.

Define the Space

Whether you have a small studio apartment in the heart of the city or a bungalow on the outskirts, the living room needs space definition. Chip recommends carefully measuring the living space and investing in an area rug to provide clear definition of the room. Additionally, an area rug can provide comfort, warmth, and color to the space. Check out these stylish area rug options from West Elm and Serena & Lily for ideas.  

Our friends at One Kings Lane have great advice on how to choose the right size rug in this article.

Select the Right Furniture

The furniture choices you make in your small living room are crucial, according to Chip, because they determine just how much functionality and use you can get from the space. Chip recommends the Virgo Collection from Xtraroom. The Virgo Well Bed is available in vertical or portrait and a variety of bed sizes. This versatile piece offers a desk, hutch, sofa, fireplace, or TV mount option. The mount holds up to most 70” TVs.

Not enough room for a full size sofa and chairs? The Sagittarius Expandable Sofa is a comfortable grey loveseat that transforms to become a loveseat plus two large, cushioned chairs. When friends are coming over, you can create additional seating in seconds. It’s the perfect solution for small living room design challenges, especially in extra tight spaces like studio apartments.


In some small spaces, there simply isn’t enough room for both a dining area and living room space. The Auriga Monolith Coffee Table is a chic coffee table that transforms into a full-size table with two cushioned benches with the push of a button. It’s simple enough for children to operate and is perfect for homework, dining, or game night.


Accessorize Well

Once your rug and furniture are in place, Chip recommends selecting and curating accessories for your living room that make it truly feel like home. Decorative trays make a great foundation for groupings of candles or treasured photos without looking cluttered. Succulents are adorable little plants that give life and color to your space when displayed on top of a stack of books or on a shelf. To provide warmth and coziness, toss a cable knit throw over the back of the couch. For toys, blankets, and magazines, consider using oversized laundry hampers as affordable yet stylish storage containers.

Designing a living room in a small space is no problem with these simple solutions. And we can’t wait to see what you come up with to maximize your space. Share your photos with us on Instagram using #spaceforliving. Happy designing!