Living room ideas for narrow spaces can be a chore to lay out and decorate, not to mention live in. Nobody wants to feel like they’re entertaining in a train carriage or watching TV in a narrow living room. But with some layout tweaks and a few visual tricks up your sleeve, you can learn to love your narrow living room. Here are five ways to layout a long narrow living room plus some bonus tips on how to really rock the space.
If you think with some clever small living room ideas and tricks of the trade, there are in fact tons of ways to help turn that awkward living room layout into something stylish and sophisticated.
- Make a Statement.
- Choose Your Room Color Wisely.
- Use Wallpaper and Decals.
- Have Furniture Match Your Wall Color.
- Compartmentalize Your Space.
- Multi-Functional Furniture and Hidden Storage.
- Use Minimizable Furniture Solutions.
- Use Furniture with Exposed Legs.
To turn your long and narrow living room into a cozy oasis, try some of these decorating tips.
Create a hallway
In any long and narrow room, it is important to create a path for people to walk. Granted, it’s important in any room, but in a narrow room it can be particularly tricky. The last thing you want is for people to trip over furniture or zigzag around the room, so always create a path. If possible, place it on one side of the room rather than in the middle. It will create a more welcoming atmosphere.
Creating a pathway for foot traffic in a narrow room is tricky. By tweaking your arrangement, you’ll create an intimate atmosphere instead of an awkward footpath through the middle of your furniture. Arrange a seating vignette on one side of the long wall of your living room. For example, place a sofa up against one wall and pull close two chairs that face the couch. By creating a small seating area, you’ve created a clear path behind the chairs on the opposite long wall of the space. The effect is a well thought out sitting area that isn’t interrupted by foot traffic.
Pull Furniture Away From the Walls
When you are arranging furniture, don’t push everything against the walls if you can avoid it. On at least one side of the room, be sure to move the furniture away from the wall and float in the middle of the room. Contrary to popular belief, it won’t make the room choppy, but instead creates a more welcoming seating area (and leaves you with the aforementioned walkway). When all the furniture is pushed against the wall, it can also create a bowling effect that is generally not desirable.
Furniture pushed up against a wall in a narrow living room emphasizes the length of the space. Instead, pull all of your furniture away from the walls and float a seating arrangement in the middle of the room. It helps even if your furniture is only a few inches away from the walls. The result will be a cozy seating area with two narrow walkways on either side of the sitting area.
Use some circular or oval pieces
One of the best ways to avoid the “bowling effect” is to use some furniture with smooth, round edges. A circular or ottoman coffee table in the center of the seating area can do wonders to counter all straight lines. Round lamps, lamp shades, and side tables can also help.
Place something perpendicular to the length of the room
Instead of using a long sofa against the wall, consider using two smaller love seats placed perpendicular to the length of the room. Breaking a long, narrow room with this type of sofa placement will definitely help avoid the tunnel effect. If you decide to place a long sofa against the wall, place the side chairs perpendicular to the sofa instead of the other side.
Divide the space
If your room is particularly long, divide it into separate areas. Consider two different sitting / talking areas, or perhaps a seating area and an office. Think about how you will use the space and divide it accordingly. In addition to the furniture, divide it using rugs and art (avoid placing art in the center of a long wall if you are creating different areas).
Use vertical space
Draw your eye up making the most of your vertical space. Use tall pieces like cabinets and tall shelves; create art and photography arrangements that reach the ceiling; and hang curtains from where the wall meets the ceiling to create the illusion of height. Also consider using vertical stripes on the walls or window treatments to help draw your gaze upward.
In narrow living rooms, clutter is the enemy. Because space is limited, any additional elements can make the room feel disorganized and even create trip hazards. Make sure everything has its place and be sure to edit the extra furniture. Even something as small as a side chair can wreak havoc. Whenever possible, use items that can serve two purposes, such as an ottoman with storage space inside.
Work With The Middle
Just because a room is long, doesn’t mean you need to fill it all with furniture. The space above centers the furniture arrangement in the middle, leaving the sides as open, but not dead, space. This works particularly well in a symmetrical room, when the furniture can be centered around a window or fireplace.
Layout Guide: Two Ideas for a Long, Narrow Living Room With a Fireplace
There’s no other way around it—long, narrow living rooms are a design quandary for even the savviest decorators. Even a basic living room design requires a fair amount of design savvy to ensure that it functions well and fits everything you need. And if you are filling out a long, narrow space, you have some extra concerns to address.
When you’re designing a long, narrow living room layout, think about how you’d like to divide the space. Will you want to keep it open as one single space or divide it to have two distinct areas that flow into each other? What is the ideal layout for the functionality you need? Are you leaning toward cozy, lounge furniture or a more formal setup? It can be tricky to fit your furniture into a long room without overcrowding it—and a living room with a fireplace is even more challenging. Here we tackle a narrow living room with two totally different designs—take a peek and start brainstorming for your own space!
Layout Idea #1: Dual Purpose Living Room
Layout Idea #1 makes smart use of the space to create a dual-purpose living room. We sectioned the large space into distinct areas, which is a great way to maximize square footage if you have limited rooms in the house. The spaces include multiple conversation zones—the main sofa and living area, a cozy fireplace seating arrangement and a dining area. Guests can choose to kick back and cozy up by the fire or take a seat at the table and enjoy the beautiful view!
We love how this layout creates multiple zones for different uses. The intimate seating area near the fireplace is great for conversation while the seating table in the back of the space works for games/homework/crafts or as a more formal dining spot. The main focus of this layout is to break up the space to create functional and different seating arrangements that still feel cohesive and flow together.
The Key Elements:
Designing a long, narrow space is all about choosing furniture pieces that don’t overcrowd the space. The rattan chairs are the perfect size to flank the fireplace. They add cozy seating that is light and easily moveable—setting them across from the sofa also creates a warm conversation circle.
We went with the “Floating Sofa” setup, which places the sofa in the center of the room instead of up against a wall. This serves as another comfortable place to sit and it faces the chairs and fireplace for conversation and entertaining. This placement calls for a low profile sofa that divides the space into two zones without blocking the view. A round kitchen table adds additional seating and provides a place to do different activities while still being a part of the living room/conversation.
Will this narrow living room layout work for you?
- You need to maximize the use of a single living room/dining room space.
- You like to have multiple conversations areas.
- You want a table for games, homework, happy hour drinks, etc.
Layout Idea #2: Open Lounge
Our second layout makes the most of the big space by using the openness to create a lounge-like feel. It has lots of extra seating, making it a great layout for entertaining—guests can relax by the fireplace or on the large sectional sofa with plenty of poufs for seating galore. It also leaves a lot of floor space open for reading/games, etc.
This living room has a relaxed and luxurious lounge vibe in both distinct seating zones. You can have two separate areas to hang out, the sectional sofa and the fireplace seats, but they’re also open to each other and cohesive in style. The layout doesn’t interrupt the flow of walking through the space. The fireplace lounge area has chairs that are easy to slide over to the sectional area if you need. Either way, the sofa provides a great area for large groups to lounge together.
The Key Elements:
This living room looks great with the enormous “L” sectional that fills up the corner and maximizes seating. Pushed back against two walls, it creates a cozy corner without wasting any space! A furniture piece like this makes the room feel immediately inviting and also keeps a large space from feeling too sparse.
The armchairs flanking the fireplace are stylish and cozy, great for reading, intimate convos, and fireside warmth. Having another seating nook at the far end of the room means you can get a little privacy here while others hang out on the sectional. This living room layout also makes use of one of our favorite design tricks—area rugs! You can subtly “divide” the different seating zones by using rugs to visually delineate them. It divides space while keeping the design cohesive and the room extra cozy.
Will this living room layout work for you?
- You love to have friends over and entertain!
- You live with kids/pets and want some open floor space.
- Your fam likes a big space to sprawl out.
- You like having more than one comfy space to kick back and relax.
Best Apps For Planning a Room Layout and Design
What a time to be planning room layouts! Lucky for us, we now have access to a treasure trove of user-friendly apps to help us create floor plans and virtually design our rooms—taking a lot of the guesswork out of everything from gauging the right-sized furniture for our space, to assessing how a paint color will look, to putting entire rooms together in virtual reality before we take the plunge IRL.
The following are some of the highest-rated apps on the market right now for drawing floor plans and creating room layouts. These apps can prove incredibly helpful when moving to a new home or embarking on a remodel, room redesign, or even when purchasing new furniture (I’m looking at you, sofas). They’re also a great way to turn interior design into something of a hobby. Who knows? One day you might be able to take all of your room plans and turn them into a side hustle.
FOR CREATING A FLOOR PLAN
MagicPlan for iOS and now for Android is a free app (in-app purchases $2-200) that lets users create floor plans based on their photos. According to the product description, there is “no need to measure or draw.” So it’s a good option for users who have minimal experience creating floor plans. While not as detailed in terms of interiors as other apps, it is highly effective for quickly planning layouts.
Room Scan Pro
Room Scan Pro for iOS ($4.99) “draws floor plans by itself.” Users simply hold a phone up to a wall which scans the circumference of a room (a voice-activated prompt states “hold against wall until you hear a beep”). Reviews note there is a bit of a learning curve to using the app but also praise its effectiveness in accurate floor plan creation. Check out the video tutorial to see the app in action.
Floor Plan Creator
Floor Plan Creator for Android is free (in-app purchases $1-7 per product) and allows users to create detailed floor plans in 3D. Reviews praise the app’s usefulness when furniture shopping to gauge whether potential furniture will fit in the context of your specific room’s dimensions.
Available for both Android and Apple users, Planner 5D gives you the ability to sketch up HD renderings for your dream room or whole house. Choose from over 4000 furnishings to deck out your spaces, but keep in mind that the more premium items are only available via in-app purchase. “Daily rewards” do allow you unlock additional free items as well.
Room Creator is free for Android (in-app purchases available) and lets users design a room interior in “10 minutes or less” by entering room dimensions, designing floor patterns, choosing wall colors, and adding in decor. Fans of the app praise its easy navigation and straightforward interface.
Amikasa is the Webby Award-winning app for iOS and Android that is receiving rave reviews for it’s aesthetically pleasing interface and because it allows users to create room layouts using furniture and home decor from real brands—about as mistake-proof as you can get in room planning. The app also has cool features like a walk-through mode that allows users to take a virtual tour of their newly created rooms to get a feel for the room design and layout and the option to share the room via social media for input and advice. Though the app is free, creators have begun asking for a donation of 99 cents for new downloads.
Home Design 3D
Home Design 3D offers a free version and Gold Edition ($4.99). All versions are also available for Android. The app receives praise for its high level of detail while still remaining easy to use, and the latest version even offers an online 3D-printing option.
Rooms for iOS (free but users need to upgrade to the $3 version to save room designs) offers a fun and easy way to play with virtual room layout ideas. Users enter the dimensions of their room and then can try out different room planning ideas by flipping furniture, changing wall colors and flooring, and altering the scale of items to see how everything will look together. Reviews praise the app’s ease of use but note issues with crashing (though the newest version addresses the bug in the app and states the issue has been fixed).
Room Planner: Design for IKEA
Ever wondered how that new IKEA product you’ve been eyeing might look in a space? With Room Planner, you can try before you buy in a virtual room that’s drawn to scale, once you’ve set your room’s size and shape in this app’s 2D mode. Take that level of personalization a step further in the 3D mode, where you can upload a picture of your own walls to use as a backdrop if you’d like. Of course, there are other furnishings (not from IKEA) available to play around with in the app, and you can start a room from scratch or build upon a bunch of communal user-generated rooms, using them as templates. The standard version of this app is free of charge.
Full disclosure: This app gamifies the process of room planning with virtual coins, levels, leaderboards, and special badge rewards for design challenge participation. All that aside, the e-design features are pretty decent, even if you aren’t looking to engage socially or compete in this space. Create a virtual room using a template or “tweak” your real-life room using augmented reality (though you do have to pay a small fee to use this feature). You can also just browse around other people’s rooms and boards to search for inspiration and real-life furnishings that you can order online.