Ikea living room ideas – 9 ways to create a stylish and functional space

Be inspired by these Ikea living room ideas, from clever storage hacks to stylish seating ideas

Ikea living room ideas
(Image credit: Bemz / Ikea / The Sommer Home)

If you're looking to create a stylish living room on a budget then these Ikea living room ideas are guaranteed to inspire.

The living room is the busiest room in the home used for all sorts of functions from relaxation to home office space, so it's important that your living room ideas such as layout, furniture and storage are well-planned. 

Renowned for its simple, stylish and affordable Scandinavian design, Ikea offers a huge array of living room solutions to suit all homes and tastes, from modular shelving systems and freestanding furniture to comfortable sofas and clever multi-functional storage ideas perfect for small Ikea room ideas.

'In today's world, it is crucial that the living room is a multi-functional space where everyone can work, sleep, study, eat, relax & play! This calls for solutions that are practical, flexible, durable and make it easy to get organized quickly,' says Kimberly Kronberger, business leader for living room seating, Ikea (opens in new tab) US.

Whether you're embarking on a complete room redesign or looking to make a few quick updates to a small living room, we’ve gathered a host of our favorite Ikea living rooms along with some clever Ikea hacks and some expert tips to help you on your way.

Ikea living room ideas

There are so many ways to integrate Ikea living room ideas into your home, from living room sofa ideas to living room lighting ideas.

When it comes to how to design a living room factoring in plenty of storage ideas is a good place to start and Ikea has a huge selection available, from customizable cabinet systems which can be updated with bespoke doors to multifunctional storage sofas and coffee tables.

'Built-in storage is so important for small living spaces - some of our sofas, sofa beds and ottomans have built-in storage for bed textiles and your other belongings. Smart storage keeps things tucked away or displayed, having the ability to show or hide your things based on your space and what it is being used for,' says Kimberly Kronberger.

1. Create designer seating for less with Ikea slipcovers

Period living room with Bemz pale green Ikea sofa cover, modern white coffee table and white armchair

(Image credit: Bemz)

If you're looking for a designer living room sofa at an affordable price then covering an Ikea sofa in a bespoke cover could be the solution. 

Swedish company Bemz (opens in new tab) offers slipcovers for Ikea sofas and chairs in a huge array of fabrics from relaxed cotton and linen to cozy wool and luxurious velvet. Here Ikea's KARLSTAD sofa in Pistachio textured boucle fabric is the perfect blend of comfort and timeless style.

2. Combine closed and open storage

Built-in living room storage with doors wooden and white doors from Semihandmade

(Image credit: Semihandmade / @mysimplysimple)

Fitting cabinetry floor-to-ceiling is a great way to maximize storage space – consider mixing closed with open storage as this will provide space to conceal the clutter alongside space for decorative displays. 

For this living room storage idea, Kelly of My Simply Simple (opens in new tab) updated Ikea's modular BESTÄ storage system with a mix of white and Impression Tahoe wood-effect doors for a modern Scandinavian decor look, leaving some compartments open for decorating shelves

3. Think about flexible furniture options

Ikea LUBBAN trolley and ULRIKSBERG armchair

(Image credit: Ikea)

When furnishing a small living room, or a living room that serves multiple functions, Kimberly Kronberger, business leader for living room seating at Ikea US advises to 'be mobile by using products that are easy to move away and put back depending on your activity. Think about products on wheels and casters that can quickly free up space.'

As well as being lightweight and portable the Ikea LUBBAN trolley and ULRIKSBERG armchair are also a great way to tap into the current rattan trend and will bring beautiful warmth and texture to your space. 

4. Create the illusion of space with a floating cabinet

Ikea BESTÄ cabinet with white wood doors from Fronteriors

(Image credit: Fronteriors)

Having too many freestanding pieces of furniture can make a room feel cluttered, so if space is at a premium consider wall-hung small storage ideas to open up the floor area.

Choosing a door design to match the tone of your walls is another clever trick that will give the illusion that the space is larger than it is – perfect if you're wondering how to make a living room look bigger. Here the Ikea BESTÄ cabinet has been updated with light grey wood doors from Fronteriors which bring subtle texture to the space without the piece feeling heavy. 

5. Mix it up

Floating BESTÄ cabinet with cane doors

(Image credit: Norse Interiors)

If you're looking for living room makeover ideas on a budget try fitting standard self-assembly Ikea cabinets with bespoke doors and designer hardware. To bring added interest and texture to a neutral living room try mixing different door styles with metallic hardware as done here where cane doors from Norse interiors have been fitted to Ikea's BESTÄ cabinets. 

'Cane doors for storage have been a best-seller for quite some time now, but in the last few months, we've seen it most popularly paired with darker finishes like charcoal black, navy, and luxe green. This contrasting look can be adapted to so many design styles, and it gives your unique piece a little deeper character,' says Isabella Cordaro, lead design advisor at Norse Interiors (opens in new tab).

6. Save space with clever furniture buys

Ikea STOCKHOLM nest of tables

(Image credit: Ikea)

If space is at a premium and you're looking for small living room ideas for apartments, 'choose items that can extend, stack or fold to save space when not in use,' suggests Kimberly Kronberger. 'Think nesting coffee and side tables, hanging shelves or products with drawers or drop leafs.'

7. Hack a Billy bookcase 

Living room with Ikea Billy bookcase hack

(Image credit: @thesommerhome)

An iconic Ikea piece, the customizable BILLY bookcase has reached cult status within the Ikea hacking community with many DIYers sharing their unique ways of upcycling the piece on social media. Here, Kaari Sommer of The Sommer Home (opens in new tab)teamed four Billy bookcases H79″xW31.5″xD11″ with eight Ikea Oxberg Doors and some sheet MDF to achieve a bespoke cabinetry look for a fraction of the price. 

8. Make the most of wall space

Living room with green walls, Ikea storage and wall art

(Image credit: Ikea)

When designing a small living room it's important to think carefully about how you can maximize useable space stresses Kimberly Kronberger. 'Utilize unused space –  use every inch! Look under, above, inside, behind, in between, and on top of! Think vertically and work with height to maximize the use of your walls and ceiling height – raise things up that you do not need every day and free up space below for your everyday items – space can be created just about anywhere!'

9. Try an Ikea TV stand hack

Ikea living room BEKVÄM stool TV console hack

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson)

With a bit of creative thinking, even the most basic of Ikea items can be transformed into stylish living room furniture. In this ingenious Ikea hack, we fixed a wardrobe door pair of Ikea BEKVÄM step stools and added a piece of MDF through the middle to create a stylish TV stand idea. Not only is there space for the TV but the shelving is perfect for displaying coffee table books and house plants.

How should I design my small living room?

To make the most of a small living room limit furniture to essential pieces and think about choosing multi-functional, portable designs that give your layout flexibility and allow the space to be used for a number of different functions.

'Choosing multifunctional products that can be used in multiple scenarios. We recommend sofas with built-in sleep function – when it's not being used for sleeping, it is used as soft seating and does not take up any extra space! An ottoman can provide additional guest seating and also act as a coffee table to set your things down on or to kick your feet up, says Kimberly Kronberger, business leader for living room seating at Ikea.

She also suggests trying Ikea room divider ideas to make maximum use of the space. 'Utilize unconventional products to divide a room such as textiles and blinds or storage options to divide your room into separate spaces.' Strategically placed storage units like the KALLAX work particularly well and can be customized to achieve a mix of closed and open storage.

Pippa is Content Editor on Homes & Gardens online contributing to Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors print issues. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.