10 Small, Cool Living Rooms (& What Their Stylish Owners Have to Say!)

Living rooms are the workhorses of the home. Most us spend the majority of our time in these spaces, and they often have to fulfill a host of functions: seating, storage, dining, and leisure. In small homes, cramming all this in can be quite the challenge, but here are 10 eensy and efficient living rooms from our recent Small Cool Contests that have done it beautifully.

Top row:

1. Chris & Julia's Top Floor Abode

Our apartment is on the top floor under the eaves with all sorts of strange nooks and crannies, so it was definitely a challenge to figure out our space planning, but now we love how every little corner has its own special use.

2. Carmen's Small Space in Singapore

The biggest challenge was obviously the lack of horizontal space since there was just so much I wanted to pack into this tiny space, including all the lovely furniture pieces and cool accessories I'd set my eyes on. I also didn't want my place to appear boring due to its small size. Hence, I went vertical instead….

3. Lasse's Welcoming and Wonderful Home

One of my favorite things about my apartment is the way the sunlight reaches the living room, making it feel light and welcoming.

4. Claudia's Northern Exposure

There isn't a single closet in the entire place. It made me re-think and part with about two thirds of my wardrobe. I like that now I have to evaluate every purchase I make to decide if it really is worth the real estate.

5. Bryan's Sunny Studio

I still want to make the room feel spacious and be able to have friends over. What I did was I pushed the furniture to the sides and tried to create an open space in the middle. I picked a yellow sofa to brighten up the room and have a walnut lounge chair on the side so there is a good contrast.

Bottom Row:

6. Liz's First Love

Since small spaces are prone to looking cluttered, I like to corral small items into matching bins. And, I try to only ever buy white bins so they'll be interchangeable between rooms.

7. Skyla's City Oasis

The challenge was fitting in normal furniture; it was important to me that my studio didn't feel like a doll house. I balanced larger pieces (the credenza) with smaller items (a dining table that will someday become a piece of accent furniture). Surprisingly, the layout feels spacious, with comfortable seating for eight (10, if guests are willing to perch on the Chinese garden stools that double as side tables!).

8. Laura's Big Ideas for a Small Home

My imagination is a lot bigger than my budget and has no regard for practicality. My biggest challenge has been editing all of my ideas to fit into my 450 square feet apartment.

9. Katie's Beach Shack

It's cozy! It's a funky beach shack, but we have the most beautiful view of the whole Monterrey Bay from every room in our house. I love all the windows in our house, it allows so much natural light in. I love a sunny home!

10. Erin's Masterful Multifunctionality

The most difficult part when designing my home was integrating a functional art studio, living room, dining room, and bedroom into 370 square feet without losing open space. I choose to meet this challenge by making the rooms predominately multi-functional….I constructed a daybed to store bedding and a queen size wool mattress, my take on the traditional Japanese shikibuton, allowing the living area to transform into a bedroom at night.

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