25 Small Apartment Living Room Ideas for a Cozy Home Makeover

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Install Renter-Friendly Shelves

white living room ideas open shelving
Madeline Harper

Take note from designer Anastasia Casey and decorate a blank, white wall with tall bookshelves. Then, layer in decorative items like books, artwork and thrifted knick-knacks. Installing shelves may require a few screw holes, but overall no major wall damage.



Decorate With Greenery

living room full of plants

Houseplants are the easiest way to enliven your small apartment. Here, designer Anjie Cho includes a mix of small succulents, floor plants and trailing plants. A few of our favorite hard-to-kill houseplants include snake plants, ZZ plants, rubber plants and English ivy.

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Get a Colorful Couch

a room with a colorful couch and chairs
Garrett Rowland

Hang Curtains High

a living room with a couch and coffee table
Sara Tramp-Ligorria

Divide the Space Into Zones

open concept apartment
Ali Rivera

When designing an open-concept space, designate a living “room” by intentionally arranging furniture and rugs. Here, Jenny Williamson of West Rose Design uses a deep sectional and patterned area rug to craft a cozy living area.

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Install Removable Wallpaper

speckled wallpaper, paired with an emerald velvet sofa living room
Jessica Delaney

Find Furniture to Fit the Layout

studio apartment ideas, space witha blue couch on the tight and seating on the left with a rug between
Kerrie Kelly Studio

To make the most of your small space, be intentional when shopping for living room furniture. Here, designer Kerrie Kelly fits a console table into a small alcove, meanwhile the sofa and armchair combo provide plenty of seating without overcrowding the room.


Turn an Ottoman Into a Coffee Table

a living room with blue couches
Jenny Siegwart

Swap a traditional coffee table for a spacious ottoman, which doubles as extra seating when guests are over. Take a cue from designer Andrea May and choose a chic, fringe ottoman for added style.


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Carve Out Space for a Home Office

a living room with a large window and home office desk
Garrett Rowland

Reserve a corner of your living room for your work-from-home setup, which hopefully includes a stylish home office desk and comfortable desk chair. Get inspired by this airy layout from AMMOR Architecture, which features a desk off to the side under a nearby window.


Consider Bright and Bold Artwork

a couch with a table and a lamp in a room with art
Kaleidoscope Living

Most renters have to deal with boring, white walls — making artwork and accessories that much more important. Hang colorful artwork and decorate with patterned fabrics to bring personality into your apartment.

See more at Kaleidoscope Living »


Create a Gallery Wall

a room with a blue couch and a chandelier
Valerie Wilcox

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Let the View Be a Focal Point

a large room with a couch and a table with a view of a city
Kevin Lam

If your city apartment features large windows overlooking high-rise buildings, take advantage. Opt for shades over curtains, so you can ensure the view is always visible.


Arrange a Spacious Sectional

a living room with a blue velvet couch and a fireplace
Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Bring in a Bar Cart

studio apartment ideas, gallery wall with a bar cart in front
Nathan Schroeder Photography

When you’re decorating an apartment, it’s all about maximizing every space you’ve got. Roll a bar cart into the living room — the perfect place to display your liquor collection and make drinks for friends. Take inspiration from designer Ruthie Staalsen and find a gold bar cart that pairs effortlessly with a gallery wall.

RELATED: Best Bar Carts to up Your Hosting Game

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Mount Your TV

apartment living room ideas
Erin Coren

Create the appearance of a larger and less cluttered space by mounting your TV on the wall, ideally over a chic media console table. We love how Curated Nest adds white bookshelves on each side of the TV for symmetry.


Embrace a Boho Style

boho living room ideas
Annie Schlechter

Even if your apartment is a temporary home, you should make it your own. Source artwork, throw pillows, rugs and decorative items that reflect your personality — like these boho accents that exude a happy, whimsical style.


Stick to a Color Palette

a living room with a blue couch
Sara Tramp Ligorria

Without building a home from scratch, you won’t have complete control over the color palette. If the kitchen already has blue cabinets, embrace it! Here, interior designer Christine Vroom pairs the gray-blue kitchen cabinets with a deep blue sofa — the end result is so chic.

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Take Advantage of Vertical Space

studio apartment ideas, room with shelves full of things and a guitar on the floor and wall
Louisa & Fyodor

If your apartment is short on floor space, make the most of your ceiling height. Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors installs shelving units that are great for storage, but also showing off prized possessions — namely that growing record collection.


Go a Little Maximalist

apartment living room ideas

Here, Blessed Little Bungalow proves more is more, even in a tiny apartment. Don’t shy away from whimsical patterns, funky wall art and cute knick-knacks just because you’ve got limited space.

Headshot of Alyssa Gautieri

Associate Lifestyle Editor

Alyssa Gautieri (she/her) is the associate lifestyle editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers all things home and interior design. Prior to joining GH in 2022, she wrote for publications including ELLE Decor, Chairish, BobVila.com, Unique Homes Magazine and LODGING Magazine, in addition to crafting product copy for home brands like BrylaneHome and VIGO Industries.


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