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The Design Train blogs are a series of articles researched and written by Andrew Knapp for submission to various publications and sites. The articles cover a wide range of topics and can be adapted and edited for use in various styles of media application.

  • Writer's pictureAndrew Knapp

Decorating Tricks and Tips for Small Living Areas

Our first blog post of the year looks at some practical considerations to keep in mind when decorating small rooms. Designing furniture for the smaller home has been a key focus for many manufacturers in recent years, and along with some sound decorating advice we’ll also be suggesting some of our favourite ‘small space’ tables.

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As with any size of room, planning is key to a successful outcome. First, and most importantly, decide what the function of the room will be and make a scale sketch of your proposed furniture layout to see if it will suit your requirements. If it is a lounge / dining / work area make sure that you have enough seating, storage and adaptable surfaces. Examine the flow of the room and if you will be able to move through the space easily. Once happy with the outcome you can start to source furnishings to match your plan.

Seating is the most crucial element in any living room and the smaller living space calls for a clever approach. Some opt for a small couch and a few chairs or ottomans. However, If you decide on a large statement piece find one with features such as a long low couch with narrow (or no) arms or an outsized chair with legs rather than a solid upholstered base. This helps the eye to easily flow around a room.

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This seems obvious, but an aspect of decorating that many people forget when selecting a large furniture item is if they will be able to get it into the room. This is particularly important in older apartment buildings and homes with narrow passages, sharp turns and stairways. Some companies offer an access check service prior to delivery which is a worthwhile option when in doubt.

Most decorators agree that a neutral colour scheme is the most practical for smaller areas. However, according to your personal sense of style, don’t be afraid of using a darker colour on a feature wall. This immediately creates a dramatic feel and works particularly well when offset with mirrors to reflect light into the area.

Glass or mirror topped tables are excellent choices in these settings. Our Lafayette coffee table has a smokey-grey toughened glass top and the 450mm width makes it perfect for narrow rooms. The handy undershelf allows it to easily double as a low console or media unit if the need arises.

The Lafayette Glass Top Coffee Table

Leonardo Design

If you don’t think you have enough space for a coffee table you may want to consider the Langford nesting side tables. This classic design offers additional table space when needed and features mirrored tops, ideal for reflecting light into your space.

The Langford Side Table Nest

Leonardo Design

Adding pops of colour into a neutral setting is easy with accessories like scatter cushions and interesting throws. These help to build layers of texture to you décor. We have recently launched a new range of fun colours for our metal base table collection that will brighten any room as can be seen in our brand-new Silhouette Side Table which was designed with the contemporary home in mind.

The Silhouette Side Tables - From Left to Right

Ruby, Deep Sage, Rich Parchment, Brown Olive, Green Olive, Skylark, Leonardo Orange

When considering artworks, a trick that leading decorators use to lead the eye around a room is to choose one large statement piece rather than a grouping or collage. Another wall dressing to consider for high visual impact is wallpaper. There is a large selection of stick-on wallpapers available on the market that will turn a wall into a conversation piece, and has the benefit of being easily removed when you feel like a change without leaving any sticky residue or paint damage.

Unless you live in a magazine cover spread, chances are that you have a certain amount of ‘special clutter’ you’ve accumulated over the years. Clutter is fine and can give a homely feel to a room and although 'organised clutter' may seem like an oxymoron, it is the look you should be striving for. A few groups of interesting keepsakes or ornaments and an attractive basket or rack for magazines can easily find a place in your room, as long as they don’t become features on every open surface (i.e., disorganised clutter!). Bookshelves can be multifunctional display areas and an important décor feature when styled correctly. Keep your books in neat, even groups for maximum impact and don't intersperse them with too many ornaments.

Having a drawer to stash your daily bits and pieces in is always handy and helps to keep the smaller living area tidy. Any of our stylish bedside tables can double as practical side tables in a living room. Seen here is the Belvedere table with an elegant Cararra marble undershelf and recessed drawer finished in solid oak frame and oak veneer cabinetry.

Belvedere Side Table - Leonardo Design


The option of having nearly double the table space on demand has made nesting tables an obvious choice for smaller living areas. We have numerous styles of table nests in our collection that are ideal in a multitude of room settings.

Nightingale Side Table Nest Set with oak veneer tray-top detailing

Leonardo Design

The practicality and style of a table needn’t be compromised by its footprint as is seen in the following selection of coffee tables that we proportioned with the modern urban home in mind.

The Beta collection is possibly one of our most adaptable and a favourite among decorators. The Beta Tray Edge Coffee Table has a width of only 400mm making it ideal for narrow rooms. Like most of our ranges, the Beta can be customised to your specifications with a choice of table top styles and options to suit your personal style.

The Beta Tray Edge Coffee Table

Leonardo Design

The Cararra marble top of the Montpellier Coffee Table will immediately lend an air of sophistication to any setting. With a diameter of only 700mm, it is the ideal size for the elegant smaller room.

The Montpellier Coffee Table

Leonardo Design

Many of our collections are available in a choice of two coffee table sizes and matching side table. With a diameter of only 500mm, this smaller option of our Pebble Coffee Tables is made for smaller rooms. The airy feel to the frame and toughened glass top will create an strong impression without dominating visual space.

The Pebble Coffee Table

Leonardo Design

The practical design and minimal footprint of the Up & Over Side Table makes it indispensable when decorating a ‘size challenged’ room. Use as a side table or tuck it under your couch or chair as a handy drinks / snacks table or laptop stand. The Up & Over comes in various table top options and frame colour choices.

The Up & Over Side Table

Leonardo Design

Home entertainment is an integral part of our daily lives and having the perfect base for your media components is an important consideration. The honeycomb detailing of the Loft Low Console / Media Unit lends a lightness to the piece, while the mild steel Ferrugrain powder coated construction offers maximum protection against daily wear and tear.

Above: The Loft Low Console / Media Unit - Leonardo Design

Below Right: The Cone Dining Table - Leonardo Design

Eating from a tray or on your lap isn’t always pleasant or convenient and having a dedicated dining area where you can relax and enjoy a meal is important to your wellbeing. The Cone Dining Table has a diameter of only 1000mm, the perfect size for a 2–3-seater. It can also double as handy workspace for projects. The contemporary styling boasts an oak veneer table top and Monocoat finished base that can be finished in a range of colours. This is the ideal table for studio living.

Another of our round dining tables perfect for smaller areas is the Constantia. Our 4-seater has a diameter of just 1400mm and fits snugly in an alcove or corner dining area. The solid oak flutes of the base draw the eye up to the oak veneer table top with undercut styling giving just the right amount of designer edge.

The Constantia Dining Table - Leonardo Design

The best bit of decorating advice that we can leave you with is to know what your style is and stick to it. As tempting as the latest trends may be, ask yourself if they will stand the test of time and are they really ‘you’? By taking time to consider what makes you happy and planning your surroundings to match, you will save time, frustration, and cost.

We have been in table design and manufacture business for 30+ years and have built a wealth of experience when it comes to designing furniture that will outlast fads. Visit the full collection on our website where you can also download our current PDF catalogue. The Leonardo team are on call to answer any queries you may have and to help you choose the ideal table for your surroundings.

Wishing you all a wonderful month – Frank


The Leonardo - Tables by Design monthly blog is compiled and written by Andrew Knapp of The Design Train

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