Do you also have to deal with how to arrange a narrow living room? Does it sometimes feel as if you were spending time in a large hallway? True, there isn’t much you can do to readjust the dimensions, but you still count on some clever illusions that can open up the space.
Narrow spaces take a lot of time and nerves until you come up with the perfect floor arrangement. Bringing a new item inside is always a pain, and you never seem to have items where you want them to be. Moreover, narrow rooms require sacrifice – you need to sacrifice accent items because they simply won’t fit.
How to arrange a narrow living room so that it feels larger? The key is to plan furniture carefully and be particularly meticulous with the pieces that come inside. Let us help with that!
How to arrange a narrow living room?
It may just be, that you weren’t able to plan furniture accordingly because you didn’t know how not because it is impossible. There are some visual tricks and layout tweaks that can help any homeowner, and we are about to reveal them.
This guide will not only help you equip the room with the basics but turn it into a space you will enjoy. And here is how.
Learn how to optimize space
Image source: Phinney Ridge Painting
Before you begin, measure the room. It makes little sense to push stuff inside if they simply don’t fit. If the room is already furnished, take bulky and unnecessary items out. If this doesn’t work for you, read further and learn how to arrange your items properly. We’ve got your back!
In essence, what you need to do is to measure the width and length of the narrow room. A clever idea is to measure also each wall segment individually so that you know what you are dealing with.
The room should foremost be comfortable, so make sure there is at least a 3′ wide passage across it. This is something you should especially consider if the passage runs between tall furniture pieces. If the objects are lower, like a sofa or a side table, you can use up slightly less floor space for the walkway.
Image source: Brush and Hammer Builders
When it comes to seating, make sure there is a maximum 8′ distance between the objects, so that conversation will be comfortable. Keep chairs and arrangements in groupings, as you don’t want guests to feel isolated.
Last but not least, measure the ceiling height, the windows, and the doorway.
Rugs can help you
Image source: Hackett Holland Ltd
It is just amazing how rugs can help rearrange narrow rooms. They define the different areas in the rooms – the seating place, the dining room, etc.
Don’t let your wall-to-wall carpet stop you from using them – you can still overlay a couple of cute rugs in defined areas.
Image source: Екатерина Зорина
A smart choice is a striped area rug, as it creates a visual illusion of a larger living room. If you’re not such a stripes fan, there are many other designs you can consider.
Another upside is that rugs contribute to the color palette of the room. Make sure the nuances work with the walls, the accents, or the upholstery, and you can build up a whole new color theme for the room.
Divide the room into zones
Image source: Alicia Carter Interiors
Another great trick is to break up the space into different zones. Instead of a single conversational area, arrange a reading zone, a playing corner for your kids, or even a small home office. Your narrow room will look significantly larger.
If the room is large and narrow, divide it into two separate zones with a single piece of furniture. You can achieve it by placing the sofa perpendicularly across the room and putting a short cabinet behind it. This cabinet can be your home office area, for instance.
Create a curved walkway
Image source: City Chic Decor Design
Traditionally, pathways are straight, and for a good reason. Traversal is easy and convenient, and the room looks larger than it is.
If the living room is large but narrow, you can break the space up by arranging items in a curvy pattern. The furniture will divide the room into two different zones, and the flow will be curved but intuitive.
Image source: City Chic Decor Design
Zone one will be used as a comfy seating area. The sofa and the chairs will be on opposite sides of the room, and the chair will be placed at an angle that faces the sofa directly.
Image source: City Chic Decor Design
Zone two can be repurposed into a dining room. You may however need to cut on the table size and get two chairs instead of four.
A general consideration in a narrow living room is to prevent interception. For instance, the walkway should not run between the TV and the seating furniture. You may not be able to achieve this on the first attempt, but keep trying until you have the perfect arrangement.
Don’t use floor space if you don’t have to
Image source: Huntington House
Who said that furniture must be on the floor? Some of the best narrow living room ideas feature items sitting high up off the floor or hanging on the walls. If you are wondering why give your bulky sofa in the middle of the room another look.
Look foremost for furniture with long and tapered legs. You can get inspired by midcentury trends or cozy urban apartments. These homeowners have mastered the skill of making space look roomier.
Sofas should be placed along the largest wall
Image source: Susan Currie Design
We all have different living room layout ideas, but sometimes we have to compromise. The sofa, for instance, looks (and works!) the best along the longest wall, so that there are no obstructions around it. By obstructions, we mean windows, doorways, built-in closets, or fireplaces.
At the end of the day, your sofa is your centerpiece. Give it the position it deserves.
Get furniture in the appropriate scale
Image source: Ashley Campbell Interior Design
If you want a clean and organized narrow living room, rethink your furniture decisions. The items should fit the actual size of the room, instead of looking forced and blocking the pathway.
For example, a smaller couch should replace the oversized sofa. You can also consider hanging shelves for some extra floor space, or limit accessories to a single accent piece. The more of the floor you can see, the larger the room will look.
Move objects away from the walls
Image source: Jefferson Street Designs
Let’s go back to our curved pathway idea and make furniture work in its favor. Wherever possible, pull objects away from the walls and alternate the groupings, so that the room doesn’t feel like a bowling arena. You will be surprised by how much space you can save.
Move furniture only a few inches away and it will be enough – the seating area will be cozy and defined, with the possibility to move on each side with ease.
Keep it simple
Image source: Kate Glicksberg Photography
When it comes to designing a long narrow living room, designers came up with thousands of great furniture arrangement ideas. The one thing that never changed, though, is their number one trick – see-through objects!
Glass and acrylic items are perfect for narrow living rooms, as they trick viewers into thinking there is more space available. Therefore, you may need to dispose of the wooden console table and replace it with an acrylic one, and the room will fill much airier!
Try out cross-wise arrangements
Image source: Studio McGee
A long narrow living room will certainly benefit from cross-wise arrangements. The reason is that these arrangements visually push walls outwards, and add up illusional width.
Here are some suggestions on furniture placement: you can replace the large sofa with two smaller ones, and place it width-wise in the room. Repeat the trick with the console table and the bookshelf, and the result will amaze you.
Make use of vertical space
Image source: Caitlin Wilson Design
Another trick any interior designer would suggest is to optimize the vertical space you have available.
Rethink your own living room by drawing attention upwards. There are several ways to do this.
Get a tall bookshelf or an armoire that points towards the ceiling. You will not only gain extra floor space, but also some additional storage.
Image source: Huntington House
You can also create an intentional division with an array of mirrors, artwork, or family photos. The more reflective surfaces you bring inside, the lighter and airier the room will feel.
Last but not least, consider floor-to-ceiling drapery. If you are looking for the perfect pattern, revisit the stripes idea.
Keep the room clean
Image source: American Furniture Warehouse
This goes without saying, but the smaller a room is, the more important it is to keep it clean and clutter-free. This is something you can do easily and cost-efficiently, so give it a second thought.
To ensure the clean-up is successful, make smart storage decisions and keep toys, work items, and all other knickknacks out of the way. You will instantly have a larger room people love spending time in.
Image source: ULAH Interiors + Design
Let your decor tell a story: Display the photos of your favorite trip or hang the large pottery item you brought back. This will take you down memory lane each time you walk into your own living room.
A bonus tip: you may not need a second coffee table or two floor lamps. Stick to the essentials only.
Use the TV as a focal point
Image source: Jubilee Interiors
Narrow living rooms deprive us of the possibility to accessorize them as we want. Yet, we can arrange furniture in a way that enhances the living room layout, starting with the TV.
As a rule, television opposes the sofa or the seating arrangements, and it is never placed in front of a window. If you have a small living room, the best you can do is mount the TV on the wall, so that it doesn’t take up that much space.
If possible, get a swing arm for the TV to keep the arrangement functional, and make sure the TV is visible from all corners. If you are not a media fan, turn your fireplace into a focal point.
Enhance the light
Image source: Pottery Barn
Every living room can benefit from extra light, in particular long and narrow rooms. The more light you let inside, the brighter the room will seem.
First of all, invite natural light inside by removing heavy drapes and dark window coverings. You can replace them with sheer window treatments or shutters to let sunshine across the room without obstructions. During the nighttime, your room will still be as private as you want it to be.
Installing additional lighting fixtures is another great idea. Your top choice should be wall lamps and sconces, as you won’t need to waste any surface or floor area.
Acquire accent pieces that are round
Image source: Duet Design Group
Geometrically speaking, your long narrow living room is a huge rectangle. Bringing in items with sharp lines and edges doesn’t soften the look.
You can counter the sharp lines with round furniture pieces, or anything with soft edges. Here are some living room layout ideas:
- An ottoman or a round coffee table in the middle of the room.
- Round side tables on both sides of the sofa.
- Round wall scones, lampshades, or bulbous fixtures
- Round artwork, photo frames, or mirrors.
- Circular textures and upholstery with round patterns.
- A round rug in the defined areas
- Plants whose leaves are round
Mirrors, mirrors, and mirrors
Image source: The New Design Project
This doesn’t come as a surprise, as mirrors can make any room look large and inviting. The best solution for a long narrow room is to hang a round mirror opposite the window so that it can reflect natural light and the beauty of the outdoors. Other than mirrors, you should consider glass tabletops and decorative vitrines.
As you saw, learning how to arrange a narrow living room is not necessarily challenging. Many easy on-budget tricks can help you optimize your space, so try them out!
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to arrange a narrow living room, you should check out this article on how to make a formal living room more usable.
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