12 Savvy Ways to Decorate Your Long Narrow Living Room

Decorating a long, narrow living room comes with its own set of challenges. The limited floor space and elongated layout can make it tricky to arrange furniture and create a cohesive design. But with some strategic planning and clever decor ideas, you can transform your narrow living room into a stylish and inviting space.

Define the Layout

The first step in decorating a narrow living room is to take careful measurements and create a floorplan. This will allow you to map out the traffic flow and determine how much room you have for furnishings. Decide if you want to embrace a completely open concept or use furniture to divide the space into separate zones for lounging, dining, and media. An open layout can help enhance the sense of space, while designated areas allow for multi-functionality.

long narrow living room design ideas

Take Measurements and Create a Floorplan

Grab a tape measure and jot down the dimensions of the room including wall lengths and openings. Sketch out a simple floorplan marking windows, doors, and any built-ins or architectural details. This will give you a better understanding of the overall space and how to maximize it.

Map Out Traffic Flow and Space for Furnishings

Look at the floorplan and map out the natural traffic flow through the room. Figure out the most logical placements for seating areas, media components, and other furniture based on entrances, exits, and permanent details. Account for room needed to walk through and use each area comfortably.

Decide on Open Concept or Defined Spaces

Determine if you want your long living room to have an open, free-flowing layout or if you’d prefer to divide it into separate spaces for different functions. An open design can make the narrow room feel more expansive, while defined lounging, dining, and media zones allow for multi-functionality.

Choose Proportionate Furniture

Since space is limited in a narrow living room, it’s important to choose furniture that is properly scaled for the room. Bulky, oversized pieces will quickly overwhelm the area. Instead, look for compact, slimmer silhouettes when selecting furnishings.

Avoid Bulky or Oversized Pieces

Steer clear of sectionals, sofas, and chairs with rolled arms, thick cushions, and chunky frames that eat up valuable square footage. These substantial pieces tend to dominate and clutter narrow spaces.

Select Slimmer, Compact Options

Seek out narrow console tables, streamlined shelving units, and lighter-scale chairs and sofas without thick arms or bases. Multi-functional ottomans and nesting tables also work well.

Stick to Lower Profile Furniture

Lower profile furnishings with exposed legs will have less visual weight than heavy, blocky pieces sitting directly on the floor. Go for sofas and consoles raised on slim legs.

Use Armless Chairs and Sofas

Chairs and sofas without arms allow you to fit more seating options together. Floating armless chairs let you customize arrangements.

Arrange Furniture Strategically

Thoughtful furniture placement is key to opening up a narrow living room. Avoid wall-hugging arrangements and instead float pieces out and angle them to align with the flow of the space. Create organic groupings that promote conversation.

Float Pieces Away From Walls

Pull sofas, chairs, and tables away from the walls to prevent a cramped, closed-in feeling. Floating furniture makes the room feel more open and airy.

Angle Furniture to Open Up Space

Position furniture at an angle rather than flat against the wall. This creates more visual interest and makes the room feel less boxy and constrained.

Place Furnishings to Align With Flow

Arrange seating areas and other furniture to follow along with the natural flow of the room. For example, position a sofa to align with the length of the space rather than perpendicular.

Create Conversational Groupings

Break up furniture into intimate groupings of a sofa and two chairs or four club chairs circled around a coffee table. This invites conversation and draws focus to multiple spots.

Incorporate Long, Low Storage

Taking advantage of vertical space is a smart strategy in narrow living rooms. Long, low profile storage pieces maximize space while serving both decorative and practical functions.

Console Tables Behind Sofa

Place a slim console table behind a sofa or against the back of a seating area. This builds in display space and storage while delineating zones.

Bookcases and Media Units Along Walls

Floor-to-ceiling bookcases and low media units make the most of wall space for storage without crowding the room. Go for vertical lines.

Narrow Benches With Storage

A sleek storage bench at the end of a sofa adds extra seating and stashing spots. Look for compact, linear silhouettes.

Low Shelves for Display

Floating shelves mounted on the wall offer display real estate while keeping floors clear. Place them above eye level to expand space.

Define Spaces with Rugs

Rugs are an effective tool for carving out separate zones within an open floorplan. Use area rugs under furniture groupings to create living, dining and media areas.

Anchor Seating Areas

Place rugs under sofas, chairs and ottomans to ground seating arrangements and define their boundaries.

Designate Zones for Dining, TV, Etc.

Use separate rugs to demarcate spaces for distinct activities like dining, watching TV and relaxation.

Guide Traffic Flow

Position rugs to direct foot traffic through the room naturally from one area to the next.

Add Visual Interest

Layering rugs of different sizes, textures and patterns provides visual interest underfoot.

Choose Multi-functional Furniture

Since compactness is key, look for versatile furniture that serves multiple purposes. Pieces with hidden storage and convertible designs maximize functionality.

Ottomans with Storage Space

Lift-top ottomans conceal handy storage for books, blankets and more while providing extra seating.

Convertible Coffee Tables

Coffee tables with rising tops or built-in benches offer flexible additional seating and workspace.

Nesting Tables

A set of nesting tables provides side table surfaces around the room that can be collapsed and stashed when not in use.

Select the Right Sofa Size and Shape

Choosing the right sofa is instrumental to arranging a narrow living room. Seek out compact styles with space-saving shapes and slim silhouettes.

Daybeds Work Well for Small Spaces

A daybed is a smart sofa choice for tight quarters, providing a seat with a streamlined profile.

Sectionals Utilize Corners

A sectional sofa is ideal for making use of awkward corner space while providing plentiful seating.

Sofas with Chaise Seats Maximize Seating

Look for a sofa with an attached chaise lounge on one end to take advantage of the room’s length.

Experiment with Layouts

Be willing to rearrange furniture and shift pieces around until you find a layout that feels just right. Since long living rooms offer limited configurations, a flexible mindset is key.

Shift Furniture Until You Find Ideal Arrangement

Move furniture around into different positions until the proportions and flow make visual sense for the space.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reconfigure Pieces

If a layout isn’t working, don’t be afraid to move things around and try a totally new furniture arrangement.

Mark Options with Painter’s Tape

Use painter’s tape to map out potential furniture footprints so you can compare layouts side-by-side.

Use Mirrors and Lighting

Strategically placed mirrors and lighting choices can help a narrow living room feel more spacious and inviting. Use these elements to open up and brighten the room.

Mirrors Create Sense of Depth

Hang a large mirror on one long wall to create the illusion of more space and reflect natural light around the room.

Sconces and Pendants Expand Vertical Space

Installing sconces and pendant lights draws attention upward, which helps elevate a low ceiling.

Uplights Highlight Architectural Details

Uplighting mounted along the ceiling adds accent lighting and illuminates decorative moldings and trims.

Incorporate Color and Patterns

Paint and textiles with color, contrast and vibrant patterns help a narrow space feel more expansive and lively. Add visual energy to walls and furnishings.

Paint Longest Wall a Light, Bright Shade

Coating the longest wall in a light, airy color keeps the room feeling open instead of cave-like.

Add Color and Interest with Pillows

Punch up sofas and chairs with toss pillows boasting bold colors, energetic prints and fun patterns.

Layer Rugs and Textiles

Stacking rugs atop each other and combining decorative throws creates captivating combinations.

Finish with Accessories

The finishing touches like plants, art and styled surfaces make a narrow living room feel curated and complete. Take time to accessorize creatively.

Plants, Art and Greenery Soften Space

Bringing in living plants, artwork and fresh greenery gives life to the space and softens hard edges.

Add Final Personal Touches

Infuse personality with family photos, cherished collections and favorite accessories that reflect your style.

Style Coffee Tables, Console Tables

Artfully arrange books, trays, candles and objet on surfaces to create an inviting, finished feel.

Decorating a long, narrow living room requires some strategic planning and creative solutions. But with the right scale furniture, intentional layouts, and decorative accents, your space can feel stylish, polished and welcoming. Use these 12 tips to open up and enhance your narrow living room layout and design. With a little ingenuity, you can create a comfortable, functional space that makes the most of the unique dimensions.

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