We all have rooms that can be difficult to arrange. For me, our long narrow living room forced me to think outside of the box to make it feel cozy like the smaller rooms do. Today, I’m sharing some simple tips and ideas for decorating a long and narrow living room.
When we moved into this home our living room furniture was limited.
We had a large sofa and two extra chairs, which meant that there wasn’t much extra seating for when we had guests over.
Even when we wanted to curl up as a family and watch a movie the seating was limited.
It took me some time to figure out how to take a long narrow room and make it feel cohesive and warm.
Filling a large space that has high ceilings and large windows can feel like a task, but I focused on a few simple design tips when I slowly created this cozy, living room space.
What is the Purpose of your Living Room?
An important step before you get started is to know what the purpose of your living room is.
Do you plan on having gatherings that will require a large seating area or do you plan on keeping things intimate with smaller furniture groupings to encourage a more intimate discussion?
For us, we have a larger family and when we invite people over we need ample room for everyone to sit.
This impacts the furniture arrangement and how I set up each piece of furniture.
Our living room is set up for conversation and community. We enjoy having family talks in the evenings and being able to easily converse when we have other families to our home.
It’s important that the room welcomes people to come in and makes them feel like they can stay awhile.
Anchor the Room
One of the most important pieces when setting up a long narrow room is finding something to anchor the room.
For me, area rugs are the best way to draw the eye to the center of the room and it instantly gives me a framework for what the furniture layout will be like.
Not only does it give you a specific space to work with, but it also helps with the traffic flow of the room.
Depending on the shape of the room, you can put your rug in the middle of the room or off to one side so you can create two separate areas within the one, long living room.
Our rug is favoring the side of the room with the fireplace. This gives our piano area a bit more space, which we need with the large furniture we have in this room.
One tip is to find the right size of rug for your room. If you get a rug that is undersized for the lot of space you have, it will look silly and present its own challenges.
Be sure your rug is large enough that the furniture can, at least, be partially on the rug. I think it looks better to the eye to have the front half of all of the furniture pieces on the rug.
If you have an undersized rug, it makes your room look unintentional when it comes to the decor.
I have an entire post about my favorite rugs. It is a great place to start so that you can find out where you can get great rugs at a great price.
Create a Focal Point
Establishing the room’s focal point can help anchor the room, as well.
Depending on whether you have a corner fireplace, large windows, or a big blank wall, it might take a substantial piece to create a focal point to the center of the room.
If your fireplace is your focal point, that is great, but you need to also create a focal point around the seating area. A great way to draw the eye to the seating area is by having a large coffee table.
A traditional coffee table will allow guests to kick up their feet or place their drinks somewhere.
Recently, I’ve seen several large, square coffee tables that would be perfect for great rooms or a larger room. They have even been doubling up two square coffee tables to create a large table.
Our coffee table is a bit small for the scale of our room, but it’s what we could afford. Some day, we will have a larger table for the center of our conversation area.
Pull Furniture off of the Walls
Pulling the furniture off of the walls can completely change your main living space. When we first moved in, I smashed the sofa against our large wall and couldn’t figure out why things looked heavy to one side of our living room.
Once I pulled the furniture off of the wall and worked on the furniture placement the entire room began to come together.
When you have an area rug anchoring the room, the first step with the rest of the room is all about placement. You want the room to feel inviting and cozy, so fill the conversation areas with inviting furniture.
We have a large couch in front of our windows and a large couch across from it. This is known as dueling sofas. It makes large seating arrangements great for gatherings because people can stretch out comfortably and speak to one another easily.
Once you have your large sofas in place, work with smaller pieces. Bring in some cozy accent chairs and a few side tables to give your family a place to set things down on.
Create Smaller Spaces
A great way to use up the extra room in a larger space is to create smaller spaces within the room.
This is actually a very “English” way to decorate. They often had a smaller tea area within their living rooms so they could host a friend for tea.
With a little creativity, you can make the most of a tricky space.
While my future plans are to have a tea area, right now it is a piano area. We have a large seating area for lounging next to our fireplace and then a single arm chair and piano at the other end of the room.
You will notice that while the sitting furniture is on the rug, the piano and single arm chair is not. That makes it easy to see that I have created a smaller space within the large room.
Pay Attention to the Lighting
Lighting can take a big, sterile room and make it cozy. Pay attention to your lighting because it has a big impact and it doesn’t cost a ton of money.
This is an area where you can get a lot of bang out of your buck.
I chose a floor lamp that could be pulled off of the wall and add ambiance to the seating area. There are also two wall sconces that when on make the room feel warm and cozy.
Choose a warm light bulb that doesn’t make the space feel cold.
In all of my cozy decorating posts, How to decorate a Living Room, How to Create a Cozy Minimalist Bedroom, How to Create a Cozy Kitchen, I share how the lighting changes the entire feeling of a space when it’s evening time.
Separate the Fireplace and TV
We have a fireplace in the center of our room. I love center fireplaces. The only issue is that we don’t have much wall space, otherwise.
I am not a fan of TVs over fireplaces because I like having something decorative over the mantle to make it feel intentional and not like I had no other option than to put the TV over the mantel.
If you have wall space next to your fireplace, put the TV there so that you can let the fireplace be a focal point without the TV being in the way.
This also gives you a chance to bring in a nice antique console table to further add interest and fill the room with nice pieces.
Reduce the Clutter
No matter what size of room you have, removing clutter will help. Find lovely pieces to tuck extras into.
Wicker baskets are great for extra storage and antique cabinets often give you a space inside of their cabinets to put cords into. We drilled a hole in the back of our buffet so the cords were inside the furniture, instead of laying on the floor.