Things You Need for Your First Apartment Living Room

Moving into your first apartment gives you an exciting opportunity to explore your independence and personal sense of style. Your first apartment checklist should include practical seating and storage options that help you maximize small spaces. Adding versatile accents that showcase your unique tastes and make tiny layouts appear larger is helpful, too.


This post offers several first apartment tips, including:

East Side Teal 7 Pc Living Room

Every apartment needs comfy seating and tables along with practical storage and useful accents.

Furnishing Your First Apartment: How to Measure the Layout

The first step in outfitting your apartment is figuring out how much room you're working with. Having the exact dimensions of your small space lets you know how much furniture will fit inside your limited layout. Mapping out your design also makes it easier to give each room an open, airy appearance and functional flow.

  • Doorways, Entryways and Halls: Before you buy any couches, tables or entertainment centers, you need to make sure that your apartment furniture will fit through the front door. Find out how tall and wide your doorways, entryway and hallways are to learn which furniture sizes will be easiest to bring in and set up.
  • Apartment Living Room Length, Width and Height: Room dimensions tell you how much space you have for living room essentials. A long layout offers plenty of room for a wide TV stand or a couch with rolled arms, while tall TV wall units work best in areas with high ceilings. Meanwhile, wider layouts are perfect for full living room sets or reclining chairs and sofas that extend into the middle of the room.
  • Special Considerations: When measuring your apartment living room, leave enough space around air vents and electrical outlets. Subtract a few inches from your overall measurements to keep furniture and rugs away from your vents and wall sockets.
  • East Side Sunflower Chaise Sofa

    Each layout has different dimensions, so be sure to measure your rooms before choosing your furniture and decor.

    Apartment Living Room Ideas: Seating

    When it's time to decorate your living room with first apartment essentials, start by choosing a chic and comfy seating arrangement. Your couches, sectionals or chairs should be small enough to suit your stylish apartment living room while still providing plenty of space for relaxing and entertaining guests.

    Small Apartment Sofas

    Couches are a common choice for many apartment seating arrangements. A small sofa makes an eye-catching centerpiece for a limited layout, and plush or textured upholstery adds an extra cozy touch to your living room. With prices ranging from less than $500 to under $1,000, these sofas are an affordable option for those decorating on a budget.

    Apartment Loveseats

    A small loveseat accommodates two or three people and has the perfect footprint for a tiny apartment. As a stand-alone seat, these sofas free up valuable floor space for small ottomans, poufs and living room table sets. In larger spaces, loveseats are a stylish, practical pairing for standard couches.

    Livorno Lane Red Leather 6 Pc Living Room

    Loveseats are perfect small-space seating options for tiny apartments.

    More chic loveseats:

    Space-Saving Sectionals

    A unique alternative to a typical sofa set, small sectionals offer seating for four or more people. At the same time, their compact design makes it easy to tuck these L- or U-shaped seats into a corner and keep the center of the room clear. Choose from 2pc, 4pc and even 7pc sectional sets to maximize seating in your small apartment.

    Domio Hydra Leather 3 Pc Power Reclining Sectional

    A sectional makes a gorgeous and spacious focal point for your apartment living room.

    Multi-Purpose Sleeper Seats

    Save space and money by adding sofa beds to your apartment. Sleeper sofas, loveseats, sectionals and chairs are the same size as regular seats, but they fold out into roomy beds when you need to sleep or accommodate overnight guests. For renters looking to furnish a studio apartment, these pieces provide living room seating, a bed and a full or queen-sized mattress.

    Sofa bed styles:

    Sandia Heights Gray Sleeper

    In a small studio or efficiency apartment, dual-purpose sleeper sofas are a practical choice.

    Apartment Living Room Chairs

    If you can spare a little extra space, consider adding accent seating to your small living room sofa set. Place a small, armless side chair, lounge-worthy chaise or cushy arm chair in an unused corner to serve as a reading nook seat or a quiet conversation spot for guests. A laid-back bean bag chair, ideal for gaming and movie nights, can also serve as comfy apartment accent seating.

    Other gorgeous accent chairs:

    Cindy Crawford Home Palm Springs Silver 4 Pc Sectional

    Tie your apartment seating arrangement together with a few coordinating accent chairs.

    First Apartment Essentials: Accent Tables and Storage Pieces

    Keeping your space organized is essential when decorating your new home. Accent tables hold small decorative pieces and make convenient landing spots for drinks and remotes. Meanwhile, practical storage items let you display books, family photos or movie collections and allow you to keep pillows and throws close at hand.

    Apartment Living Room Tables

    Use a small coffee table in the center of your cozy living room set to hold magazines, scented candles and tiny houseplants. You can also use it as a table for enjoying snacks and meals in front of the TV. Place lamps and drink coasters on coordinating end tables beside the sofa. Or, use a small, narrow console table with shelves and drawers to hold pens, notepads and figurines.

    Cindy Crawford Home Metropolis Way Sapphire Microfiber 3 Pc Sectional

    Practical living room tables are a convenient spot to store and display decorative accents.

    Apartment Storage Ideas

    Chic and functional, small-space storage furnishings are some of the most important things to buy for new apartments. Practical hall trees keep jackets, handbags and shoes close to the front door, while small bookshelves display your favorite novels and trinkets. Stow board games in a small accent cabinet and keep other items in a storage bench or ottoman.

    Singleton White Bookcase

    Small bookcases and shelves provide ample storage for tiny living rooms.

    If you're looking to organize your entire living room with a single piece of furniture, consider a TV console with storage. Along with holding your television and gaming systems, many of these stands have bookshelves, cabinets and drawers for DVDs, controllers and other accents. Small, corner consoles are also perfect space-savers for a tiny layout.

    Dahlgreen White 48 in. Console

    Apartment Lighting

    While your apartment windows may offer plenty of natural light, additional fixtures provide extra illumination when you need it. A small chandelier is a softer alternative to harsh overhead ceiling lights in many apartments. To give your living room an ambient glow for stay-at-home dates and dinner parties, tuck a slim floor lamp into a corner.

    Florentine Court Black Floor Lamp

    A tall floor lamp or chandelier provides stylish overhead lighting for apartments that lack built-in fixtures.

    Smaller light fixtures are a practical addition to your small apartment office or hobby corner. Use an LED desk lamp for task lighting on your small work table. Or, frame your reading nook recliner with a set of table lamps or wall-mounted sconces. You can also use twinkling string lights and color-changing bulbs to set the mood for other fun activities.

    Alpony Brown Desk

    Natural light from your windows casts an inviting glow, while convenient accent lamps illuminate late-night study sessions and projects.

    Apartment Living Room Decor: Personalizing Your Space

    Once all the essential furniture and fixtures are in place, chic and colorful accessories provide artistic touches that make the space your own. Try some of these small apartment living room ideas to decorate your small apartment with practical and creative flair.

    • Create the Illusion of Space: When choosing small accent tables, stick with round and glass-top models. Curved silhouettes and see-through surfaces add depth to the layout and make your small room appear larger.
    • Divide the Layout: Give your apartment living room efficient flow by using small rugs to carve out specific zones. Use a wide area rug for extra softness in your seating area, then spotlight your corner office with a smaller 4x6 rug. To save even more floor space, consider round rugs that have a smaller footprint.
    • Select a Bright Color Scheme: Lighter hues lend an open, airy look to small apartments. Striking white rugs make floors look wider and contrast beautifully against soft red, orange and turquoise throw pillows on the couch. Also, select vases and sculptures with white, yellow and light wood finishes to liven up your space.
    • Choose Wall Art Wisely: Though unique wall decor customizes your layout, having too many mounted accents make small rooms feel cramped. Decorate your empty walls with practical wall clocks and decorative mirrors first, then hang up a few paintings, tapestries and posters for a personal touch.

    Odile Green Wall Decor

    The right decorative pieces make your apartment feel uniquely yours.