Small living rooms come with a bunch of challenges. We spend so much time there, entertaining, eating, drinking, or watching telly, and frankly, we ask a lot from this space. Because living rooms in the UK are almost always multi-functional, and most often a little on the petite side, many of us battle to both find and position the right sofa. 

Perhaps our main focus is comfort, so we automatically think of a big, deep, cosy sofa. Or we’re avid entertainers so we need as much seating as possible. But what we want and what we can reasonably fit into the space we have are often light-years apart.

What’s the answer to this conundrum?

We have some thoughts. Let’s explore this together.

1. Lifestyle

We’ve been in the sofa business for decades, and it’s safe to say that there are not many sofa-related problems that we haven’t come up against. 

In the case of a small living room, we like to ask some pertinent lifestyle questions of our customers to help guide them to the best decision. 

Do you entertain often? Do you have family or friends staying over regularly? Do you have pets or children to consider? How do you mainly use your living room? 

Why do these questions matter?

Let’s illustrate:

Overnight Guests

A sofa that doubles as a comfy bed is – hands down – one of the most practical items of furniture you’ll possess. Ever! Whether your adult kids are off to a bit of a false start and have not quite left the comfortable nest, or you are social butterflies with frequent overnight guests, a sofa bed is a winner.  


For those of us who (outside of COVID, obviously) enjoy entertaining, we need to think a little differently. Do we prefer a seating arrangement where we all face each other and enjoy deep philosophical conversations? Or are we more likely to dogpile onto the sofa and watch Dr Who reruns? 

The answer to this question will tell us if we should be looking at a corner sofa for maximum seating, or a couple of two-seaters along with occasional chairs. 

Family and Furry Friends

Are you just catering for you and your partner? Or do you have a fluffy doggo and two preteens sharing your living room? The former situation will allow for more delicate pieces of furniture and a little more freedom of choice in the upholstery department. The latter means you should be aiming for a robust piece, perhaps a versatile sectional sofa with a strong back and hardwearing fabric. 

2. Design

Before you make any decisions, let’s talk about the importance of sofa design. 

A big, chunky sofa that simply begs you to sit and cuddle is all well and good, but it will also take up a lot of floor space. If you’re okay with having this as the only seating area in your living room then that’s great. However, when Aunt Mildred comes along for her annual visit and you find yourself thigh-to-thigh with her, things may feel a little awkward. 

You can still enjoy the benefits of a comfy sofa if you opt for a custom sofa that is made to your exact specifications. Perhaps you can have something shorter but just as deep which keeps the comfort factor but removes the space issue.

Corner sofas, mentioned above, are a great choice for small spaces. Because they are sectional, they offer the benefit of being more versatile in terms of placement. Another benefit for small living rooms is, being all-in-one sofas, they remove those pesky spaces that you’d normally find between two separate items of furniture which tend to eat into the available floor space.

The Convenience of Personal Pieces

Buying high-street furniture may be cheaper initially, but when you’re trying to carefully decorate a small home, it comes at the cost of convenience. 

This is where custom furniture really shines. 

Opting for furniture that is sized to suit your home makes a lot of sense. Take your favourite design and have it crafted to fill the space comfortably, upholstered in the fabric that you love, and satisfy all your fundamental design desires.

On the topic of design, did you know that a sofa with a high back takes up more visual room than one with a lower back? Also, sofas that sit directly on the floor look bulkier than those with slender legs. Perhaps the space situation remains the same, but these factors affect your visual aesthetic and make a teeny room look bigger.

3. Placement


How you position your living room furniture is the final point in the challenge of managing small living rooms. Even the most practical pieces won’t work if they’re positioned badly. 

Go to the Corner

Going back to corner or sectional sofas (probably one of the best choices for small living areas) our customers love the fact that they can fill a corner with no wasted space and maximum seating availability. On top of these two essentials is the added bonus of having an L-shape seating arrangement that allows for both the dogpile and Dr Who and the Aunt Mildred situation.

But, you may say, one of the walls where I want to position a sofa has a window. Relax – all you need to do is order a custom sofa that is made specifically to reach the exact height you need. That way, you don’t have your windows partially blocked, and the overall result looks carefully planned and – may we add – totally sophisticated.

Go Backless

In a world of open plan living, many décor enthusiasts are finding that a backless sofa opens up a world of opportunities. These smart and functional pieces can float between two areas and create a visual divide while still making wise use of the space.

Avoid Diagonals

For some reason unknown to most of us, some people prefer to position furniture items on the diagonal, as opposed to running along walls. If you have a large space that needs filling, then knock yourself out. However, in small spaces, diagonal sofa placements waste a lot of space. Following the lines of the room and using furniture to define the borders of an area are the best ways the maximise your living area. 

Sofa Solutions for Small Living Rooms

A sofa is going to be one of your biggest living room purchases and one that should last you 10+ years. It’s also going to be the most unforgiving item in the room if you’re a serial redecorator.

So, what’s the solution?

Firstly, it’s worth spending the time unpacking exactly what you want, and what will work best in the space you have. Secondly, be sure to choose the design that suits the space aesthetically and also matches your lifestyle. Lastly, choose the most sensible furniture placement to maximise your space and create the living room you want. 

We’d love to work with you and invite you to chat with one of our team who can walk you through the additional benefits of choosing a custom sofa to suit your home. Call us on 03300 564 111.