Have you ever tried to decorate a narrow space in your home and realized the room feels more like a bowling alley or hallway rather than an comfy gathering space? Not all homes come with the ideal square shape room that makes decorating and layout a breeze.
Here at the Mod House, we’re gearing up for our next project, our family room makeover.
To make matters worst, we have the most awkward layout. I’m not joking! Look at our floor plan.
The long narrow space is somewhat open concept—you have clear views to the kitchen and hallway. There’s a supporting wall that we have to consider and we have next to nothing when it comes to wall space. The corner fireplace, windows and sliding door make it almost impossible for furniture placement.
So the question becomes, “how do you place furniture to create a cozy space?”
I’ve been doing a lot of research and played around with a ton of different layouts. I thought I’d share my best tips to help avoid turning a narrow space into a linear mess.
Pull furniture away from the wall:
When working with a narrow space, a lot of the time the bowling alley effect comes into play because we have furniture right up against the wall. Try leaving some room between your furniture and the wall. The floating effect will cause a cozier setting. Also this is a great tip for those (like myself) that don’t have much wall space to begin with. Placing furniture in front of a doorway or sliding door is totally acceptable as long as you leave at least 3 feet for a walkway.
[Wilmette Architects & Building Designers Boomgaarden Architects]
[New York Architects & Building Designers Chelsea Atelier Architect, PC]
Place something perpendicular to the length of the room:
It’s only natural that most of feel like the sofa should be placed against wall. Instead, turn it around! Place all or half of your furniture perpendicular to the length of the room. This will help trick the eye and break up the longness of the room.
[Richmond Architects & Building Designers Birdseye Design]
[New York Interior Designers & Decorators Andrew Suvalsky Designs]
Divide your space into sections:
Depending how long your room is, another trick is to divide it into different areas. Perhaps you will create two separate conversation areas, one that surrounds the TV and the other that surrounds the fireplace. Maybe you will add a small table and chairs behind your sofa. The most essential items to help create distinguished areas in one room are things such as area rugs and art. They can be used as a guideline for placement of the rest of your furniture.
[Chicago Design-Build Firms Fieldcrest Builders Inc]
[New York Interior Designers & Decorators Thom Filicia Inc.]
Picking the right furniture pieces:
To help soften the harsh look of a long rectangular room, try using furniture pieces with soft curves. Round coffee tables and accent chairs with soft edges can help tremendously. Also make sure your furniture pieces are proportionate to the size of the room. Having big bulky pieces or small-scale furniture can really effect the visual appearance of the space. If you happen to be shopping for new furniture pieces, definitely get the measurement first and tape EVERYTHING on your floor. It’s the best way to check if the piece will fit in your space and the best way to avoid a bad purchase.
[Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Michael Abrams Limited]
[Denver Interior Designers & Decorators Possibilities for Design Inc.]
As my family room project progresses, I will definitely be going through these tips in more detail when it comes to our furniture placement. We are currently working out all the fine details with this space and hope to revamp our dated fireplace, replace all our furniture, create an entertainment unit and (hopefully) take down our popcorn ceilings! Can’t wait to get started 🙂
Yes! I totally relate. Our family/living room is long and narrow, and it seems like such a challenge to fill it. Love the idea of taping out furniture on the floor before the hassle of purchasing and moving it in.
Really good tips. Our living room is a really odd shape, so we have our couch pulled away from the wall too. I wish one of those pictures was my living room 🙂
These tips will definitely come in handy in our current condo situation. It’s hard to get the most out of a small space!
Great tips! Our family room is long and narrow, too! I will keep these in mind!
Narrow rooms are so difficult. These are good tips.
Good read. Irregularly shaped rooms seem really tricky to decorate and design. Thanks for posting.