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Decorating small living rooms: How to get it right (and what to run away from)

Maximizing light and getting the colors and furniture right are the keys to decorating small living rooms. A palette of natural materials, the right color, and the right amount of artificial light are keys to making a small living room a timeless and, above all, larger space. We talked to two professionals: Nonia Díaz de la Cruz from ND Interiorismo y Decoración; and Teresa Paglialonga from Paglialonga Studio, to tell us what to take into account -and what to avoid- when decorating small living rooms.

Essential tips for decorating a small living room

"In general, it's important to look for a modern, cozy and warm aesthetic where natural light is maximized. That's what we did in this small living room for a young couple. On the one hand, we maximized the entry of natural light; on the other hand, we looked for the best distribution to take advantage of every centimeter", says Nonia Díaz de la Cruz from ND Interiorismo y Decoración. To make the most of a small living room and provide a feeling of spaciousness, Teresa Paglialonga of Paglialonga Studio says that the idea is to look for multipurpose furniture and, above all, place it against the wall to free up the central space. She also recommends dispensing with the coffee table. "I prefer to use the sofa pouf as a coffee table, side seat, and footrest. Three in one," he says. He also recommends dispensing with the TV cabinet. "Without a doubt, less is more in small spaces. Therefore, you should always look for versatile and multipurpose elements."

How to use color in small rooms

As for color, to achieve a cozy space, Diaz de la Cruz recommends "using soft, neutral tones in large structural elements to reflect and enhance the light and thus expand the feeling of space." In addition, he believes that it is better to reserve stronger and darker tones for decorative accessories, "as they provide the extra needed to give life and personality to a space." Paglialonga also points out an interesting idea: "by painting the ceiling in dark gray, the space seems larger and gains a sense of height." Natural light and artificial light when decorating small living rooms

"Light plays a fundamental role in any space, but even more so in the living room, which is the social area of the house par excellence. In the case of small living rooms, it is important to foresee a possible excess of light to avoid, for example, the living room is too hot," says Díaz de la Cruz. Paglialonga believes that if you don't have natural light, you should use as much artificial light as possible. However, he recommends that it should not be too warm "because then the space gets old. The warm light of about 3,000 K is ideal," he says. How to select furniture for a small living room to have a more welcoming and defined space. Defining how the living room will be used, including whether there will be distinct areas even if it is small, helps narrow down the selection of furniture and look for functional pieces. In the case of the first photograph in this article -and this should be the case whenever we are faced with decorating small living rooms-, the cabinets, sofa, and coffee table are just the right size and allow us to better enjoy the space, creating a cozy atmosphere and facilitating circulation.

It is as essential to know what to do as it is to know what to avoid when decorating small living rooms. Both professionals point out the key issues to avoid when decorating a small living room:

"Avoid decorative excess and oversized furniture to prevent the space from being visually overwhelming and overloaded. Instead, opt for decorating with just enough," says Díaz de la Cruz.

"Avoid decorating with strong and marked tones, especially if the space has plenty of natural light. Instead, it is best to resort to a single range of a neutral tone, such as gray, because it is versatile," says Diaz de la Cruz.

"In small spaces, a dark sofa is not a good idea. But, if we go for gray or earth tones, wild colors because they combine with many others and can give the space the warmth you want, better a soft tone," says Paglialonga.

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