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Sofas for Small Living Rooms – Buying Guide

Sofas for Small Living Rooms – Buying Guide

It’s a common misconception that small spaces mean you have to stifle your big design ideas. After all, less space often means a tighter floor plan that’ll prohibit large, luxe furniture items. Well, we’re here to tell you to throw that approach out the window – there’s so much that can be done in a small living room, and while there are a few space limitations, you shouldn’t ever have to compromise on style. With the right tips, you’ll be living it up in a stunning room that feels grand and gorgeous, rather than cramped and compact.

When it comes to your couch, it’s not about picking something teeny-weeny that doesn’t address your needs, but rather, selecting a style that creates space (or the illusion of space) in other ways. Small sofas can still pack a huge aesthetic punch and fit your family comfortably, as long as you know how to find the right ones.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with our guide to finding the right small couch for your living room.

What type of small sofa will suit your living room?

Starting with the very basics, it’s important you know what kind of sofa you’re looking for before you dive right in. Once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll need to double-check that your living room can handle it by measuring up.

Assess your needs

Small spaces aren’t exclusive to single people or young couples – plenty of large families, flatmate groups and households with pets are also working with less square footage than might feel ideal. So, the first step of purchasing a new, small sofa for your living room is to assess your needs. Consider what you tend to use your couch for, and what you hope to get out of your new piece of furniture. Who’s in your family? How many people at any given time are using the living room? There’s no use in opting for a loveseat if your family of five likes to sit around the TV all at once and binge whatever’s trending, so be sure to make understanding your needs a priority before you buy. As well as small 2-seater sofas, AKA loveseats, you’ve also got the option of small 3-seater sofas and traditional 2-seaters.

As well as the size of your family, think about external guests, and who specifically uses the living room. Do you have people come to stay on your sofa regularly? If so, a small sofa bed might be a better option than a traditional small couch. Make sure that it folds out into a big enough bed to comfortably fit the number of guests you plan on hosting at any given time (a double or queen mattress is likely to be your best bet).

Measure up the area

Once you’ve decided on the approximate type of sofa you’re after, it’s time to measure up. A step never to be missed when purchasing furniture, knowing the exact size of the area you’re working with is absolutely crucial to the whole process.

Measure wall to wall both horizontally and vertically, or if you’re working with a more open space, from wall to the next large piece of furniture that’s currently in your layout. This will give you an idea of how much surface area you’ve got to play with in total. Then, when you’re looking at popular sofa dimensions, simply subtract that size from your overall surface area and ensure there’s enough walking space (roughly 30cm) on all sides of the sofa.

Tips for selecting a sofa for a small living room

With a good idea of the size and type of sofa you’re looking to place in your small (but mighty!) living room, you’re ready to start browsing what’s out there. We’ve rounded up our top design tips to keep in mind while you’re selecting a small sofa – these little hints and aesthetic edits will help your new piece take up less space both visually and physically, creating a more spacious look in your living room.

Low profile, high style!
Low profile, high style!
Low profile, high style!
Low profile, high style!

Opt for low profile picks

Floor space isn’t the only currency you’re working with when styling a room – any room. Many of us forget we’ve got heaps of vertical space; it’s just a little harder to make use of. In a small space, vertical space is your best friend for two reasons – not only does it allow you to select narrower, taller furniture pieces (think skinny bookshelves, tallboys and more), but having some free and clear vertical space is bound to make the room look bigger, too.

When it comes to your sofa, selecting a piece that’s lower to the ground or has a shorter back rest will give the illusion of additional space. It’ll also mean you’ve got more flexibility with placement – perhaps it can fit under a window sill, or at the base of a gallery wall without impeding any functionality in the room.

Create the illusion of space

When you’re perusing small living room ideas in magazines or online, something that’s bound to come up frequently is the concept of pretending you have more space than you actually do. By including lots of ‘air’ and negative space in your living room, you’ll be able to fool the naked eye into thinking your area is bigger than it is, which in turn will help your interior design choices to stand out and feel sleek and clean.

One way to employ this tactic with your sofa is to opt for a design that has legs. Where pieces that are flat to the floor will take up the entire designated area, that slight elevation can make all the difference, as it allows air (and the eye) to pass through between the couch and floor. A simple trick, but with stunning results! Depending on how tall you want your sofa to be (remembering our love of low profile looks), you might even be able to store flat items under the sofa if you’re really struggling for space.

Choose a sleek style

As you ponder the perfect sofa for your small living room, another consideration will most certainly be style! Every item you bring into your home is a reflection of your personal interior style, and you’ll find there are often commonalities that can be used to put your aesthetic into one overarching category – such as Scandinavian, modern, traditional or mid century. Ultimately, when you’re picking out a new sofa, you have to stay true to your style. But, if you’re just establishing the feel of your place, there are certain styles and design elements that’ll lend themselves better to a small space.

Scandinavian style was practically born out of the need to save space, so you’ll find lots of sleek, light and low profile pieces in its repertoire. Scandi pieces are often constructed in blond wood, which can blend into the background well, giving the illusion of more space. You’ll also find Scandinavian or Danish pieces are ‘slimline’ with smaller, less bulky frames, and they’re minimalist in their design with no frills or fripperies – making them the perfect pick for a small room. Another favourite in a smaller space is modern contemporary style, which tends to be super sleek and chic, with clean lines and sharp, clear-cut edges. So, if your style tends to err on the side of modernity, styling a small living room will be a breeze.

If Scandi and modern contemporary are our go-to styles, what should you avoid? Well, we’ll never tell you not to follow your instincts when it comes to design, so at the end of the day, it’s totally up to you. But, our biggest piece of guidance is to minimise rounded curves and obvious accents. By keeping things quite minimal and sharp, you’ll encourage more space both visually and physically.

A common myth is that bright colours equal visual bulk. See how it’s done above with the Cece Loveseat.
A common myth is that bright colours equal visual bulk. See how it’s done above with the Cece Loveseat.
A common myth is that bright colours equal visual bulk. See how it’s done above with the Cece Loveseat.
A common myth is that bright colours equal visual bulk. See how it’s done above with the Cece Loveseat.

Stick to a colour scheme

When selecting a small sofa for your living room, something to consider carefully is colour. Another myth that’s often circling around in the design world is that bright, bold colours equal unnecessary visual bulk. Thankfully, this isn’t the truth – you can still have fun with colour in a small space, just within reason. Instead of focusing on the colour of the sofa itself, think about it in a grander, broader colour scheme for the room. Where you’ll trip up is by overloading on colour, not including any neutrals, or selecting a hue that sticks out like a sore thumb.

If you plan on including a bold or bright colour, the best way to approach this is by pairing it with a relatively neutral overall palette. Stick to two or three other core colours in the space, such as white and grey, brown and cream, or white and black. With white walls and other pieces in the space that blend into the background a little more, your sofa will be able to play the hero without totally overwhelming the living room. Of course, if you prefer to play it safe and steady, neutral tones are always a good idea for a couch, and will seamlessly blend into the space so your new piece looks petite yet pretty.

When in doubt, add an armchair

If you’ve come to the end of this guide and are still feeling a little worried about having enough seating space, our final tip is to add an armchair or ottoman. This will increase the amount of room you have to entertain guests or seat your household without taking up a considerable amount of immovable space. Unlike bulky, heavy sofas, armchairs and ottomans can be adjusted and repositioned as necessary, making them great additions to any small living room. They also create another awesome opportunity to play with style, and perhaps to choose something a bit bolder than your sofa.

Our favourite small sofas

If you’re ready to get started on your small living room styling journey, here are a few of our favourite space-saving sofas.

  • Cece Loveseat: Ideal for making a huge impact (just in a small package), the Cece Loveseat has a unique winged style that’d fit perfectly in a mid century modern or Art Deco-inspired home. Available in Dusty Rose, Goldenrod Yellow or Bottle Green Deco Velvet, Cece is bound to catch anyone’s eye.
  • Palermo 2 Seater Sofa: A stunning coastal choice, the Palermo 2 Seater Sofa creates that laid-back, beachy vibe with linen and soft, slouchy cushioning – lots of personality, with no extra bulk.
  • Christoph 2 Seater Sofa: The perfect Scandi sofa, Christoph is slimline and raised off the ground to create the illusion of space. It’d fit in well with almost any style, and comes in a variety of colours in our comfortable Signature Premium fabric.
  • Oslo 2 Seater Sofa: Soft and pillowy, the Oslo 2 Seater Sofa is a cute, petite addition to any space with a touch of Scandinavian flair.
  • Brixton Leather 3 Seater Sofa: Finally, for those who are looking to break all the rules without sacrificing any of the space, the Brixton Leather 3 Seater Sofa is a stunning choice on the smaller side. Because it’s so low profile, you’ll have heaps of room to style and include storage above it, despite a little extra length.

Shop our range of loveseats, sofa beds, 2-seater sofas and 3-seater sofas to find the perfect piece for your small living room. Here at Brosa, it’s our mission to make the process of buying furniture as easy as possible – access our virtual services or pop into our Sydney or Melbourne Studio spaces to get advice from our expert stylists. When you’re ready to go, purchase your favourite pieces online with Australia-wide delivery and a range of payment options.