Small media room ideas – 9 ways to transform this important family space

Transform your lounge with the latest small media room ideas for the whole household

dark living room with blue ceiling, dark walls, bay window, media area, plates on wall, two couches, rug
(Image credit: TR Studio/Agnese Sanvito)

A small media room is just what many of us need at the end of the day; a space to cozy up with the family. 

While the first reception room may be the place for more formal living room ideas aimed at hosting guests, a media room is the part of the house where movie nights reign supreme.

Many small media room ideas are defined by one piece of furniture, usually a large unit or cabinet space where electrical items and accessories can be stored for TV viewing pleasure and game nights, and often work in unison with living room TV ideas

We asked the best interior designers just what makes this kind of room a success.

Small media room ideas

Similarly to living room TV ideas, you want to create a family room that reflects your personal style and personality, whilst thoughtfully planning the area to ensure the TV stand ideas fits perfectly in with the design of the space.

1. Introduce plenty of textural elements 

small media room with graphic print couch, 3 footstools, 3 wall lights, graphic carpet, textured wallpaper, cushions, yellow blanket, side tables

(Image credit: Natalia Miyar)

'Playing with different colors and textures is a great way to add depth and to create an atmospheric effect in a small media room' says Natalia Miyar, architect and designer at Natalia Miyar. 'Mix bold patterns on your walls, couch and even your carpet to bring life to the space in a vibrant, yet sophisticated way. An extra deep seat couch is a must and a great way to create a sumptuous feel, whilst maintaining a modern aesthetic; layers of cushions and throws on top will add interest and will ensure maximum comfort for any movie night.'

2. Position a TV in a well-designed alcove or nook 

media/living room with tv, two coffee tables, armchairs, bookcase, tv mounted on paneling

(Image credit: Folding Chair Design/Jenn Verrier)

Family room TV ideas are the perfect spot for gathering as a household, entertaining and even a quiet spot of relaxation, therefore, it is imperative that we give the interior design of these spaces just as much consideration as we would the rest of the home. 

Here, an alcove featuring contemporary wall paneling is both pretty and practical. 'We took away the existing bookshelves on the back wall and created a unique area and focal point for the TV that kept the clean, sleek look of the room intact,' says Jennifer Walter, owner and principal designer for Folding Chair Design.

3. Add depth and dimension with furnishings 

blue and white coastal style living room with tv

(Image credit: Karen B Wolf Interior Design/Raquel Langworthy)

If you want to up the comfort factor in a cozy living room or small media room, then think about using texture in interior design to add further depth and dimension. 'Natural textures, whether they are stone or wood or linen, can help to anchor a neutral color scheme,' says Karen B Wolf, creative principal of Karen B Wolf Interiors. 'It means that the overall look doesn’t feel too contrived,  uptight or overly designed. They bring a laid-back quality that always works well.'

4. Get cozy with ambient lighting 

living room with retro side table with retro glass tired lamp, velvet couch, oval side table, alcoves

(Image credit: Hadeland)

'Ambient lighting or mood lighting as its also known, can transform an interior or indeed space, and the key to this is all about layering. It’s the combination of accent and task lighting, using a mix of floor, table and pendant to impact the mood of a room.

One of the most beautiful materials to diffuse light is glass and the use of sandblasted, tinted or clear glass creates variable degrees of diffusion, and when combined, has the most luscious impact on walls and ceilings, washing them with a soft glow.

It’s also worth remembering the controls on lighting output will allow you to determine degrees of luminaire within the space which is why all of Hadeland Glassverks lighting is dimmable,' says Angela Murray, country manager UK & Ireland of Hadeland Glassverk.

5. Make your media room cozy with a dramatic color scheme

dark living room with blue ceiling, dark walls, bay window, media area, plates on wall, two couches, rug

(Image credit: TR Studio/Agnese Sanvito)

When choosing a color scheme for a small media room, it pays to think about light levels, existing furniture and the ambience you want to create,' says Tom Rutt, director of TR Studio. If you’re not confident in choosing a scheme, go with a pre-selected paint ideas palette already picked out by the paint brand you’re using, or take inspiration from the color wheel on working with tonal, harmonizing and contrasting colors.

Interior designers will often say they don’t follow rules when it comes to paint ideas but something that is helpful to bear in mind is that colors never need to match, they just need to work together.

6. Make a small media area at one end of a games room

small media room with pool table, beams, wooden floor, couch and armchair

(Image credit: Natalia Miyar)

'An open-plan layout is a great way to turn any room into a multi-functional space and will feel more comfortable than having two small, closed-off areas,' says Natalia Miyar, architect and designer at Natalia Miyar. 'Use different elements such as a rug or a sofa to help define the more intimate and relaxing zones like the media lounge from the busier and more active areas like the games room where you will need more space.'

7. Combine a media room with a home office 

home office/media room apartment with shelving, desk and couch

(Image credit: Cara Woodhouse Interiors)

If you don't have a dedicated room for your small media or entertainment center, do consider carving out a space within an existing home office, living room or bedroom. 'It is imperative to keep these multi-purpose rooms as clutter-free and organized as possible to avoid any dreaded chaos,' Lucy Searle, global editor-in-chief, Homes & Gardens.

8. Add in U-shaped sectional for extra comfort

small media room with cinema seats, couch, dark walls, wall lights

(Image credit: Living with Lolo/Life Created)

'This media room was designed to create a space that was both comfortable and also to create some drama,' says Lauren Lerner, founder and principal designer of Living with Lolo. 'Here we added a custom chaise sofa as well as reclining chairs to ensure that whatever your movie watching preference is, you have a place to enjoy. We added gorgeous lighting throughout the space to light it up without taking away from the movie.'

9. Opt for deep seating

Basement cinema room with sofa neutral sofa and throw pillows, coffee table and wall lights

(Image credit: Schiller Beynon Interior Design)

Curate the optimum space to de-stress with a small media room that embodies the luxury and warmth that you expect from this family room with entertainment center. 'To recreate the look and feel of a luxury cinema room, prioritize lighting,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. 'Good lighting can also help realize your small media room by making the very most of the space’s architecture, highlighting objects on display and artwork and, of course, creating a beautiful element of the room in its own right.'

What do you put in a small media room?

When it comes to designing a small media room, for most households, a TV is an essential tool for helping adults unwind, keeping the kids entertained, and facilitating cozy movie nights. 

Optimum living room seating is another family room idea that should be considered during the initial planning stage. 'We recommend that you plan seating in groups to ensure conversation flows when you have guests and consider scale and how different pieces will sit together,' says interior designer Nina Campbell. 'Seating heights vary so balance is key, but make sure that everyone is seated at the same level.' 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.