When seeking to maximize your space and create a cozy, inviting living room in a small apartment, the placement of pieces–be they furniture, planters, or art–is essential.
Consider these steps to make your small living room a space you want to spend your time.
Basics to Keep In Mind
Every living room has a unique flow and centerpiece to accentuate; some are built-in by design, and some you can create yourself.
This guide can help you bring out the best with the space you do have. These basic principles can mean the difference between a blah space and a fully utilized living room with flow.
Soon enough when following these tips, you’ll be able to create a calming, relaxing space that both yourself and house guests will want to spend quality time in.
You deserve to have a well-arranged, worthy centerpiece of your apartment.
Pay Attention to Feng Shui Mirroring & Elemental Balance
Using the principle of mirroring can add order to your space and a sense of calm. Utilizing the basics of mirroring ensures that the room feels balanced, matching pieces in visual weight.
Use this to judge if the living area needs to be evened out when it comes to ottomans and chair sets, as well as wall accents and planters.
You want to aim for a relatively even balance of pieces throughout the room.
For example, if the right-left corner is decorated with one ottoman, even out the left corner with a planter around the same object ‘weight’ to the eye.
In addition to mirroring, you’ll want to account for the elements and elemental balance of the room. The basic Feng Shui elements are: Earth, Fire, Water, and Metal.
By noting and adjusting the elemental balance of the space, you’re well on your way to attuning the energy. More on elementals here.
Designate a Room Centerpiece and Arrange Accordingly
It helps to find a focal point and decorate around it – no matter if it’s a TV, fireplace, window, wall art piece, plant, or coffee table.
Some of these will be built-in by default (like a built-in entertainment area or a fireplace), and other spaces will have more free-form options for you to designate a centerpiece yourself.
Once you’ve decided on your room centerpiece, you’ll want to decorate around it, allowing the room to unfold like lotus petals from their center.
By creating a center point, the room becomes not only pleasing to the eye but easier to navigate. Speaking of easier to navigate–
Make Sure It’s Navigable – Keep It Simple
Whatever your arrangement, you want to make sure there are no “dead space” areas in the room. These are often so stuffy or blocked off that you can’t access them.
Instead, you want the energy in the space to be free-flowing, following Feng Shui principles. Trust us; your guests will feel a noticeable difference & lightness.
So maybe think twice about buying a bulky planter that obstructs walking movement around the side of one of your sofas.
The more accessible it is to your pets & guests and easily navigable, the better. Always keep in mind the basic concept that locked in spaces equates to blocked energy.
Designate a Separate Living Room Area
If you have a shared kitchen/living room space where one blends into the other, it’s essential to ensure the areas remain separate entities.
Be sure the sofa or chairs are facing away from the kitchen and into the living space – the more a particular area is designated, the better each room flow, with fewer confused, mixed energies.
Use Lightweight, Leggy Pieces When You Can
When considering the furniture needs for a small space, it’s best to go for “lightweight” pieces.
Chairs and sofas with legs create the illusion of more space versus bulky, overstuffed pieces. You don’t want an overstuffed chair drawing the most attention in the room, for example.
This rule of thumb is significant when downsizing from a larger space or accepting furniture gifts or donations from well-meaning relatives.
It’s always better to go for smaller, sleeker furniture pieces not to overwhelm the room.
Place Furniture Further Away from Walls – Furniture Should be Pulled In
To create a sense of unity in the living room space, pull furniture closer together.
It can be tempting to go the opposite direction of this and spread your furniture pieces out to encompass the room.
Yet pulling things in and creating an intimate gathering space can, quite counterintuitively, make the room feel more expansive.
Additionally, adding a large area rug works wonders for cohesion. Rugs can tie pieces or sets together that would otherwise feel mismatched and make the space feel more intimate.
Think About A ‘Vantage Position’ When Placing The Sofa
It’s crucial in Feng Shui to place the sofa or the seating you’ll be using most in a ‘vantage position’ — meaning that you’ll want to be able to see who is entering the room at all times.
If there are several different entry points, you’ll want the position to be looking toward the entrance used most, or at least angled where people entering and exiting are visible.
What Should I Make The Focal Point – The Fireplace or the TV?
If you have a fireplace in your small living room, if possible, mount or place your TV away from the fireplace to let the two entities exist separately.
Designating the fireplace as the main centerpiece of the room is typically a better option than a TV focal point.
Yet if you have space limitations and it is the only place you can put the TV, by all means, mount where you can!
Go Minimal – Think of How the Space Will Ultimately Function
One chair, one coffee table, one sofa – as minimal as possible, the better for the flow of the space.
A sectional can be great if you have the space and can make it work, or it can be a bulky addition that crams the area.
You will ultimately have to judge how your living area best flows, but think of where people naturally move within the living room as a starting point.
Do you and your guests love to gather for coffee or do puzzles around the main table? That is probably the room’s focal point.
Do you watch TV often? Are people always moving the ottoman over because it’s in the way?
Asking yourself basic questions and noting the movement and activities in a space is a great way to notice simple obstructions or better layouts that might not have occurred to you before.
For example, an ottoman or planter might be nice, but if it blocks the flow of foot traffic or becomes a dead space, the placement needs to re-evaluation.
Mirrors In The Living Room – Yes or No?
As tempting as it is to add a mirror to a living room to add dimension and the illusion of more space and people, this can end up being a mixed bag, according to Feng Shui.
Adding a mirror in the living space can make parties appear more crowded and fun and add an enlargement effect to the space.
On the other hand, the downside is that the mirror can project or absorb any negative energy from guests and amplify it.
So if you end up using a mirror in the living room, you will also want to make sure that it’s pointing away from any odd corners, tv screens, or clutter.
The principle here is that whatever the mirror points toward is intensified, so you’ll want to face it toward things worth amplifying and away from undesirable eye-sores or clutter.
Be sure to avoid aiming the mirror at “poison darts,” unfortunate objects that mirrors should never point at, lest it amplifies pain and strife in the homeowner’s life.
Ultimately, The Space Has to Work for You
If you can’t follow every single Feng Shui principle or don’t have the most lightweight pieces, never fret — utilizing just a few basics goes a long way.
If the most you can do is pull your furniture in with a cohesive rug, do that — if the flow works better to have the sofa against the wall, by all means, adapt to that.
The space has to feel comfortable and functional for you, your family, pets & guests.
Layout Ideas for Your Space
If you’re not sure where to start as far as layouts go, here are some great jumping-off points to get the ideas flowing:
- Furniture Arrangement Ideas for a Small Living Room
- 4 Sofa Arrangements to Maximize Your Living Room Layout
- 50+ Clever Ways to Reinvent Your Living Room Layout
Overall, following Feng Shui principles such as mirroring, going minimal, choosing lightweight pieces, and thinking of function and flow will transform your space.
Even if you can’t use all the tips and tricks, putting just a few into practice will make a dramatic difference for the better for your small living space.
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