Tips for Decorating a Small Living Room with a Sectional

I did a lengthy post about my family room makeover not too long ago, and I received a ton of messages from people wanting to know how big my family room was before and after. Each time, "not big" was my response. The thought then occurred to me that there could be a localized epidemic occurring in people's living rooms.

I realize I'm exaggerating a bit.

Still, a small living room presents a unique decorating challenge.

When I was looking for a new sofa for our family room, I discovered this the hard way. My family room is tiny. Not minuscule at all, but rather on the order of 10 by 12 inches.

Sectional in small living room

Lighting Fixtures/Round Mirror

Don't be fooled by the high ceilings...

I'm not exaggerating when I say that our old house had a living room that was twice as big as the one in our current home. Basically, we were pampered. So spoiled After some thought, I've come to that conclusion

I crammed as much as I could into our current family room, and while that served its purpose for a while, I knew the time had come to make some changes. Thus, my great sectional hunt of 2020 had begun.

A few months ago, before I updated our fireplace with peel-and-stick tiles, this is how our family room looked.

Moreover, today...

Living room decor ideas

Lamps, a Round Mirror, and a Side Table

Our living room has seen a minor refresh as of late thanks to some work I did on it. Small adjustments that have had a major impact on the atmosphere of our home. For me, it was the addition of a new rug (and one that was slightly larger) and new window treatments. More on this to come...

Here, however, is the current configuration of our family room:

Also visible in this image are the built-in bookcases that make our living room feel even more cramped than it already is. Although I find great use for those shelves, they make it much more difficult to rearrange my furnishings.

living room

The transformation that new furnishings can make always astounds me.

A total of 125,568 reviews were read, and I sat on every available sectional within a 50-mile radius of my home.

To begin with, I am not a huge fan of sectionals, so I knew what a tough task this would be. As a result, those who know me well often go crazy trying to make a decision. Query my spouse

First, I'll quickly go over the different types of sectionals I looked at and why I liked them, and then we can move on to discussing my living room. Exciting, right? If you do not wish to read a sectional, please continue down the page.

I should note that I did not test out or do any research on the sofa I am currently sitting on before buying it. A sign, in my opinion, so I made the purchase. We'll have more to say on all of this in the future as well.

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is available on this link.

Most Effective Sectional Sofas for Apartments and Condos

Macy's Radley Sectional (The It Sofa)

(As an afterthought, if you're not interested in a sectional but rather a sofa, this sectional is also available in sofa form.)

Did you know the IT chapter even existed? Me either While investigating, I came across numerous glowing reviews for Macy's Radley sectional. This particular sectional has developed a devoted fan base. Again, I am not being hyperbolic.

Three days after buying this sectional, I realized I had made a critical sizing error. The service I received at Macy's was superb. So that I could return to the website and order a sectional in the proper size, they canceled my original order. I was about to place an order for another Radley sectional when I got a message in my inbox.

I did check out this sofa in person at Macy's and give it the old-fashioned comfy butt test. All the praise was well-deserved; it lived up to the hype. It's firm but accommodating, the fabric appears to be low-maintenance, it can be arranged in 1,562 distinct ways, and it comes in an abundance of colors (most of which are considered custom colors but cost the same).

Macy Radley

Chrome Beige Sectional Sofa - Typically Available in Stores

Even though it is a sectional, it is not an "in your face" sectional, which is why I appreciated it so much. The cushions are slim and the arms are square. It was the perfect sectional for our apartment, which is quite compact.

I would be lounging on the Radley sofa right now if I hadn't been distracted by my inbox.

(Disclaimer… There are some less-than-enthusiastic Macy's website reviews. All of the reviews were read, and I still went ahead and bought the sofa sectional. Obviously, I am unable to attest to this sectional's longevity.

Part of Havertys's Norfolk Subdivision

In the course of my investigation, I came across this other widely read subsection. This sofa sectional passed my butttest, as well, and it's very cozy. When I saw the couch in person, I wasn't completely sold on it because of the arms and the available fabrics. There was nothing inherently wrong with either option, but I ultimately decided against purchasing this sectional despite the positive feedback I'd read online.

Norfolk Sectional


Pottery Barn's Pearce Sectional

The Pearce Sectional from Pottery Barn is yet another well-liked option. This segment was fantastic. It was extremely cozy and aesthetically pleasing (for a sectional, at least). The arms of this sectional can be rolled or left square. One million different kinds of fabric are available to make it your own.

A sales associate at the store I visited while bouncing around on the sectional informed me that the Pearce sectional is the store's best seller. This couch is even more comfortable than the Comfort Sectional, which I also tried out.

I wasn't planning on spending this much on a sofa that my children are likely to destroy, so I'm not thrilled with the price of this sectional. I would recommend waiting until the couch or sectional went on sale if you are set on buying it.

The West Elm Shelter Sectional.

I really, really needed this sofa. I was elated to finally see it in person at our local West Elm after seeing it all over Pinterest. Not only would it not have fit in our space, but it also didn't work for me. Nonetheless, I was able to give it the old comfortable butt test. It was incredibly relaxing. In person, it was every bit as stunning. Shelter Blue is a lovely shade of blue; had I been shopping, that's the hue I would have chosen.

Since I don't have any particularly large pieces of West Elm furniture, I can't speak to the quality of their products.

My wife and I did end up buying a Sedwick recliner from a discount retailer for my husband, and it seems to be holding up well so far. It's been 8 days since we brought it home, and I can't help but chuckle at this remark. Stay tuned for updates!

family room

Mirror/Light Fixtures

Finally, the curtain has finally risen to reveal... couch set I bought on impulse

World Market's Emmett Sectional.

In case you're new around these parts, I have a serious thing for World Market. I would estimate that 75% of the furniture in my home comes from World Market. The majority of it has been in our possession for quite some time, and the quality is outstanding, in my humble opinion.

When I checked my email after canceling my Macy's order, I was informed that World Market's massive furniture sale was still going on.

(Here are some of my favorite furniture finds from World Market.)

To make a long story short, the online-exclusive sectional in question was sold out at the time... However, the exact configuration I had ordered online was in stock at my neighborhood shop from a previous order that had been canceled. No matter how you slice it, that has to be a sign of something.

Emmett sectional world market When I asked my husband to help me remove the seats from our mini van, he said, "I was just going to look at the sectional." This sofa sectional was a definite fit for my minivan.

I'm particularly fond of my minivan for the times when it's required to transport particularly large items, such as new pieces of furniture.

After making three trips to and from World Market, I finally brought home the Emmett Sectional. And I'm not even exaggerating when I say that I adore it This is perfect in every way: color, style, convenience, and affordability.

This is yet another sectional that can be set up in any way the customer pleases. The proportions of my room allowed me to create a slimmer, longer sofa.

This sofa set has stood the test of time for me over the past few years. Every once in a while, I'll have to re-fluff the back pillows, but that's to be expected when three kids sit on top of them.

sectional in family room

Please excuse the dog's paws. Each and every one of my blog pictures gets photobombed by her.

This sectional can be customized to your specifications by purchasing separate pieces.

The five of us have a tendency to spread out during family movie nights. I crammed as many pillows as I could into our living room because we needed them. Taping out the couch in your space before buying it is also highly recommended. A lot of space is provided by this couch. I really appreciate the complexity, but please be aware

So happy I checked my email and bought a minivan.

Tips for Arranging Your Sectional Sofa in a Limited Space

Finally, we've reached the exciting part. Though I alluded to this briefly before, I will elaborate further here.

How to Set Up a Sectional in a Small Living Room

Learn how to make the most of the room you have.

Our primary problem was with this When we first moved in, I didn't make the most of the space we had in the dining room and living room by placing the furniture in the wrong places.

My inspiration for this came from my husband. It irritates me when he's correct, but he was in this case. We rearranged everything so that it was more convenient for the kitchen.

We sacrificed some eating space in exchange for more space in the living room, where we actually do most of our living. It was only logical.

living room couch

Couch/Area Rug

A sectional sofa is a great option for those who want to make the most of their living area. There was a lot of dead space in the family room's corner when we first moved in with two sofas. With the addition of a sectional, we have more seating.

Sofas That Can Be Broken Down Into Modules

A modular sofa is a fantastic option for apartments with limited space. To better tailor your sofa to your specific requirements.

And if you're anything like me and always wish you had more seating options for movie night, then by all means, get a big sectional even if you only have a modest living room.

Yet again, this is where a modular couch will prove useful.

A few additional suggestions for making the most of a limited amount of space in your living room

Put up a lighter coat of paint on the walls.

Our walls were a very dark brown when we first moved into this house. The atmosphere in here was oppressive. The abundance of natural light streaming in through the windows led me to believe that a cheery, airy hue would work wonders here. The paint brand we used for the walls is Behr's Silver Drop. Since I am so taken with this hue, I felt compelled to write an entire entry about it.

mantel decor in living room


Drape the draperies high and wide

My no-sew roman shades were the first thing to go. For my needs at the time, they were adequate, but I was ready for something different. The room looked and felt ten times larger after we hung the new drapes high and wide.

Choose the appropriate home furnishings.

The wrong furniture can completely ruin an otherwise well-planned room. My decorating philosophy is "get what you love and make it work," but this doesn't always apply to furniture.

Put down some painter's tape on your floor and use that as a measuring guide before you go shopping. Give yourself plenty of space around your furniture.

For the sake of space, I know some people who have opted not to have coffee tables in their living rooms. Just couldn't bring myself to do it. A comfortable chair and some pretty books were necessities.

coffee table in family room

Tea Table/Area Rug

For a more open and airy feel in your living room, choose a coffee table with a glass top. A long upholstered bench would also do the trick. The previous coffee table we had was too large, so I decided to go with a more compact, lightweight option.

Sectional rug placement

If you buy a rug that is too small for a room, it will make the space feel even smaller. Bigger is better If you have a small rug, the room will feel disjointed. A majority of your furniture's front legs, if not all of them, should be resting on the rug.

Our sectional's front legs are on the rug, but my husband's chair couldn't make it from the corner.

living room with sectional

Remove all of the furniture from against the walls.

I've mentioned this before, but it wasn't until I tried it in our living room that I realized how much of a difference it made. Since there was an air vent behind the sofa that we didn't want to block off, we had to push it out from the wall by 12 inches. My initial concern was that the couch would make the room feel cramped, but it actually opened things up a lot.

Funny how that works out when you put your own words into practice.

IKEA couches, in case you're wondering, are now residing in the living room, where they appear to be quite content.

However, my new sectional sofa is overjoyed to be here for the time being.

living room decor

Side Table

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You can pin this for later use if you like:

couch and coffee table

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