Good Designs for Small Formal Living Room Ideas

Balanced colors and angled furniture take the stuffy out of Small Formal Living Room Ideas.

Small Formal Living Room Ideas
Luxury Small Formal Traditional Living Room Furniture Ideas by Erika Bonnell Interiors

Formal does not have to mean stuffy when you apply an exuberant decor sense in your small living room to create a stylish, welcoming space for family and guests to enjoy. You don’t have to spend a lot of money — hand-me-downs clean up nicely — to showcase your prized antiques without turning your home into a museum. Start with a color scheme or design element that appeals to you and balance every added touch for a polished, approachable formal living room or parlor.

Decorating Small Formal Living Room Ideas

Semi formal small contemporary living room colorful decor ideas

Court Style, Contemporary Flair

A small formal living room with high ceilings, tall windows, parquet floors and decorative plasterwork are a stage setting for a casual mix of European antique furnishings with a dash of modern color. Paint walls cool mint green with white trim and cover the windows with ceiling-to-floor white silk drapes. A French gilt-framed settee that might have graced a hall in Versailles is covered in emerald velvet; the matching bergeres — French armchairs — are toned down with Belgian linen upholstery. Borrow ornate side tables from the royals — real or reproduction Louise XVI white and gilt tables hold a cut crystal bowl of garden flowers and a crystal chandelier-style table lamp. A soft coral overdyed Oriental carpet or a simple sea grass rug keeps the overall decor anchored in this century.

Mid-century Modern Classics


Good design is timeless and a Small Formal Living Room Ideas can be a comfortable showcase for enduring style from mid-century masters. Don’t pile on everything at once; complement a treasured find of original caramel leather Barcelona chairs by Mies van der Rohe with a clear synthetic acrylic coffee table and a reproduction Finn Juhl Poet sofa with hardwood legs and cream wool upholstery with cream tufted buttons. Pull the conversation area together with a dappled caramel-and-white cowhide area rug and a wall-hung walnut and brass George Nelson Spindle clock. Ivory matchstick blinds and ivory walls keep the understated sophistication light and inviting.

Jane Lockhart Interior Design Small Transitional Living Room Formal Style Decorating Ideas

Attic Redux

Raid the attic for traditional family heirlooms that update your small modern formal living room. A patterned upholstered Chesterfield gets a new lease on life with grain-sacking cushion and back covers and a scattering of photo-print fabric accent pillows. The albatross of a mud-brown, exaggerated cabriolet-leg coffee table oozes charm after sanding, bleaching and a light whitewash protected by matte clear varnish. A tangerine-glazed bowl for fruit, decorative gourds or seasonal cut flowers brightens it up. The nondescript powder-blue velvet love seat is much lovelier with a new velvet cover of faded and distressed chartreuse velvet to extend the seating area, defined by a toast-colored Berber carpet. Clean up the worn leather Moroccan poufs from some vagabond relative’s travels and enjoy their mosaic leather patterns and a few more parking spaces for guests in your elegant, salvaged parlor.

Orient Express


Paint the walls creamy gold and glaze the ceiling deep chocolate to match the dark plank floor. Then build a summer palace of Asian-inspired furnishings and antiques in your transformed small formal living room ideas. An elm altar table against one wall holds a cinnabar- colored woven wedding basket and a carved Guan Yin statue. Over the narrow table, framed sections of a small Chinese screen are highlighted by a ceiling-high row of gallery spotlights. The tableau is as attention grabbing as an elaborate fireplace but the design is simpler. Mix low, modern sofas in rich neutral tones with two or three carved ebony antique chairs, each with a different color silk cushion — ruby, sapphire and topaz — and a single woven fan chair with dark chocolate detailing and another gem-like cushion.

French Country Small Formal Living Room Furniture Decor Ideas

Small Formal Living Room Ideas

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