Guide to Small Space Planning

Chilly weather and holidays mean spending more time together indoors during winter, but having a small living room makes it difficult to accommodate guests and display seasonal decorations. By rearranging the furniture and making strategic choices, I can display decorations and make the most of limited space.

Stay out of the cold
Weatherproofing windows and doors is a simple task, but avoiding cold air whenever someone enters or exits the house is more difficult. I move the main seating area, the couch, away from the front door to reduce the whoosh of chilly air blowing on it.

This is a good time to annihilate hidden dust bunnies and apply a fresh coat of carpet protector to prevent stains from the additional foot traffic and inevitable spills.

Create a new focal point
Creating a new focal point is a practical way to refresh the room. For instance, rearranging the furniture to face the fireplace makes it easier to enjoy the ambiance and warmth of the fire. Swap the regular wall decorations for a large wreath, Christmas stockings, or a greeting card display to make a big impact without wasting space.

Define it
For my floor plan, it makes sense to use most of the living room for a seating area and entertainment center. I temporarily remove a table and floor lamp to make room for a Christmas tree on the adjacent wall.

Although the two areas flow together, adding a rug to the center of the seating area helps define it and draw guests in.

Set the scene

While working with old pictures to create photo books and gifts, I realized the importance of the background scenery. Paying attention to details sets the scene for better photos. Simple decorations, like adding a swag of beaded garland to the curtain rods, are perfect for small spaces.

Clear the clutter
Smart storage solutions help keep daily life from cluttering a picture-perfect living room. Sturdy, decorative gift boxes are good for discreetly gathering small items like the TV listings, magazines and remote controls.

Add seating
Small pillows or floor cushions are fun seating options for kids. When not in use, the pillows look fine on the couch. The floor cushions are easy to stow under the couch or tuck into the coat closet.

Short, wooden stools available from discount stores are another convenient solution. They stand approximately 18-inches tall and stack for easy storage.

Get cozy
Draping a throw blanket over the couch helps protect it from spills and keeps a cozy cover handy for napping or watching TV. Inexpensive fleece throws are widely available, but the quality and thickness seems to match the price tag. Woven throw blankets come in a variety of designs and add rich texture to the couch.

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