small spaces : living rooms

Hey hey hey, guys!

Today, we’re continuing in our little series on small spaces here at The Handmade Home. Get it? Little? I couldn’t resist. ;}

We started out with foyers + entryways and today, we’re discussing the living room. Living rooms are sometimes the most challenging areas of a home to put together. Besides the kitchen, they are the heart of the home. They’re certainly the most requested when it comes to designing spaces for others. Today, I wanted to share a few photos of smaller spaces, and discuss some of the elements that I think work for them.

Obligatory disclaimer: space is all relative, isn’t it? Some of these rooms probably aren’t as tiny as we’d expect…but I still found them to be packed full of great decor ideas, clever use of space, awesome styling, or a little bit of all of the above. This is more of a wide angled lens view for inspiration, if you will.

So, without further ado…

Large scale paintings or art in a small space to make a big impact, go a long way.

Amazing color. I have a confession to make: I’ve never really been a fan of starburst. I know. I know. Flog me. But that mirror above has me enamored. I think I like the fact that it’s different.

via apartment therapy via pottery barn

I love the way the owners capitalized on the small space, using a curtain to section off areas.

Another great idea is to maximize a seating area by using small stools like the ones in this lower left corner. They make for more room, and provide a great area for an impromptu dinner party. Love those lamps!

a clear coffee table always provides more visual room.

I love the clever shelving and extra sitting areas in this little nook. And that coffee table? Oh. My.

Bookshelves in unusual spaces to provide extra storage rock my world.

Totally irrelevant: I’m in love with that mantel.

Do any of you have a layout like this? I love the charm that stair case brings.

This is great styling for a warm room with lots of windows. I love how they kept the open feel without limiting the space, and those window treatments are really making me happy.

Of course, you can never lose with window seats.

Another great, bold focal point.



I die. Those chairs.

via Another DIY restoration hardwareish coffee table!

Of course, I love Lizzy Carney‘s style. Layers of texture with dark color and pops of repeated hues…beautimous.


I rememeber when this apartment was featured in domino! {RIP, domino. RIP.} Be sure to click on the link for more peeks at that space.

Who can forget the great lil loft we were able to share with of you this past summer? Be sure to click on over for some great styling ideas from Dale!

What are some of your fave smaller living room spaces? Do you live in a smaller space? What are your solutions for keeping that living room corralled? I think that no matter what the size, there’s something to be gleaned from all of these photos, and the advice of others. Please. Do tell!

Happy inspired day, everyone!

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Responses to small spaces : living rooms

  1. Gale says:

    Oh wow… I love LOVE that huge nest painting in the second pic – wish I could see it better – to DIE for! And I’m with you… I miss Domino!!!

  2. I’m pretty sure the space with the raspberry dividing curtains is from an old BHG. I saved that article because I loved all those fabrics so much! In the one with the mantle that you love, Ashley, I think the homeowner did such a great job with the aqua glass she has sprinkled around. They make it so bright and summery!

    I’ve actually always had small spaces until the house we’re renting now! Our couch is sort of floating off across the room from our chairs and coffee table because I’m not sure how to put together a LARGE space! 😉 Nice problem to have, for once! I love this series, btw!

  3. Debbie says:

    I want to live in a smaller place, dang housing market! These are great inspirations and I could look at them all day, but I must not!

  4. Heather says:

    Ok, lots of great ideas here – will go nuts with the pinning later lol Here’s a link that you might find familiar – a couple of your picks come from this house.

  5. Monique says:

    Thanks for this great series. I liked the room you have captured as “Bookshelves in unusual spaces to provide extra storage rock my world.” I went to the site but could not find this pic. If you are able to locate the pic site, would you please share?

    Thank you.

    • Hey Monique! This is an excellent example of what happens when you blog and you’re tired! I apparently lost the link and should take a week off to fly to Barbados and recharge, because I can’t seem to get my act together. I linked it to the treehouse that was on our facebook page last night! nice. If anyone knows where the above mentioned photo is from, please do tell! Blog fail. ;}

  6. You always find the BEST inspiring spaces to feature! :) I often get a lot of questions from my clients about how to conquer organizing in a small space – it certainly helps to get my juices flowing looking at these images. :)

  7. I love this series on small spaces! As you implied in your disclaimer, the principles that go into dressing a small space truly are universally applicable….I think we just pay more attention when the space is “small” because there’s seemingly more risk of ruining the space. My husband and I just bought a big house last year (we call it “the house we’re going to die in”…haha ok not really, but we plan to stay here a LONG time!), but previously we lived in small condos, apartments, etc. While we’ve certainly had some wins in decorating over the last year, we’ve run into some major challenges too and I think it’s because I underestimated how difficult it would be to dress a big space. Your post reminded me that big spaces and small spaces aren’t all that different. I’ll definitely be applying some of the tips you’ve presented today into my problem rooms. :)

  8. kim says:

    I loved that last little loft space that you had featured so much that I bought that searsucker chair with the nailheads for my master bedroom after I read that!! lots of pretty spaces :)

  9. Thank you for the great post! I have a small living space that is super awkward and is always hard to figure where to put stuff. There is only one place to put the couch and only room for 1 chair. The thing is, it’s not that small, you have to work around windows, fireplaces, openings to the room and a door. What were they thinking in the 80’s! Love your blog! Jordin

  10. So many beautiful images! I love the big art idea- I think it really takes the eye up and out and makes the space much bigger. Great point on that one!

  11. Jami Nato says:

    so.much.eye candy.