Living in NYC doesn’t have to mean settling for a painfully cramped living room. Many New Yorkers live in tiny apartments, usually under 400 square feet. Now that’s tiny! Smaller apartments require a bit of intentional design to feel liveable, but it’s definitely doable. If you’ve been scrolling through Pinterest and wondering how to smartly style your small living room to make it look bigger, you’re in the right place.
Take it from us - you can have a spacious and stylish room without major renovations.
In this article, we’ll share seven easy tricks to make your NYC living room look elegant, airy, and expansive.
Let’s dive in!
1. Install built-in cabinets and shelves
Decluttering a room can make it look bigger instantly, and for that, built-in cabinets are an excellent option.
Tall cabinets built into the wall don’t take up space and help you store things efficiently while making space for unique decorative items like vases and bowls, artwork, or plants. These cabinets also tend to draw your eyes up, which creates an illusion of roominess.
There’s a reason that clearing clutter from your living space feels so good. When there’s a clear path for the eyes to rest on, the space feels, well, more spacious. There’s a perception that the space is larger when there aren’t a lot of items taking up real estate on your surfaces.
Consider storage that serves double-duty as an ottoman or a coffee table or built-in shelving to increase the feel of a room.
2. Update the paint
Did you know that something as simple as changing the color palette of your NYC living room can make it look bigger?
Light colors are an excellent option for the walls and ceiling because they reflect light, opening the space up. Lighter shades from a neutral color palette will make your living room look super chic.
And if you want to make the space pop, throw in a colorful couch, some whimsical cushions, or a bold vase or artwork.
3. Strategic lighting
Lighting plays a significant role in making your NYC living room look more spacious.
If you’ve been relying on a single light source for your space, it’s time to switch things up. A single central light source only illuminates the middle of the room, while the corners are in shadows. This invariably makes the room look and feel smaller.
Strategically placed wall sconces or floor lamps can enhance corners and recesses, thus making your living room feel much bigger. You can also place smaller lights on shelves to illuminate those spaces.
Pendant lights (hung from the ceiling) and tall floor lamps guide the eye up, emphasizing the height of a room and making it feel bigger. You can also use mirrors to bounce light around (both natural light and artificial light) to make your small living room look bigger.
Keep reading to know how you can use mirrors optimally in your NYC living room.
4. Decorate with mirrors
When it comes to making your small living room seem spacious, mirrors are truly magical.
Mirrors reflect light and color, which creates an illusion of depth and space.
Want to make your living room feel bigger immediately? Locate a window and place a large mirror on the opposite side of the room.
You can also keep the mirror opposite a lamp or other lighting in the room.
The other option is to have a statement wall with a beautiful mirror.
5. Go for minimalist furniture
Furniture with sleek edges or flat and smooth surfaces reduces “visual bulk” and makes a space seem larger.
Instead of a boxy couch, choose one with legs; and go for a glass coffee table instead of a bulky all-wood one.
And by the way, when we say “minimalist furniture,” we don’t mean stripped and sparse pieces - this type of furniture is visually streamlined, but they come in various designs and materials.
Rule of thumb: go for furniture that doesn’t crowd the room and obstruct your view.
6. Draw eyes upward
If your living room has a high ceiling, take advantage of it. Accentuate the windows with long, flowy drapes. Hang big, bold artworks high on the wall. Include floating shelves that stack higher or create a vertical photo wall.
You can also swap out your old wallpaper with a new one that has a vertical pattern. And if you’re decorating with mirrors as suggested above, choose skinny full-height ones.
All these minor changes can draw your eyes upward and add visual volume to your small living room.
7. Strategically place a large rug
This is the simplest trick in the book to make your living room look bigger.
Choose a large, bold, and patterned rug - this helps to anchor the space and tends to be a good focal piece for guiding the design and decor of the rest of the room.
And most importantly, a large rug doesn’t break up the floor visually, unlike smaller ones, which also adds to the perception of a larger space.
There are many ways to style your small living room to make it look bigger - and none of them have to break the bank.
Get started with a couple of new lamps, a large mirror, and a bold rug.
Want something more custom for your space? Vergara Homes specializes in show-stopping design-build transformations for NYC apartments. Book your call here.