Getting the furniture placement right can make or break any room in your home, but never more so when the room is an awkward shape. If you don’t know how to arrange furniture in a long living room it can feel less than cosy and welcoming This may result in you avoiding the space altogether – which wouldn’t be great.
But it doesn’t have to be hard.
With a combination of picking the right furniture pieces, creating the right furniture layout, and arranging furniture so that you’re working WITH the space rather than against it – you can easily have an inviting space you love being in.
Let’s get started then, as there are lots of narrow living room ideas to share with you…
What’s The Problem With Long Living Rooms?
Long living rooms – whether they’re also narrow or not – can be one of the hardest shapes to deal with when it comes to a space you want to relax in.
Here are some of the main issues that can happen if the furniture layout isn’t right:
- A rectangular room can feel like a walkway / hallway – especially when it’s a small narrow space. We tend to put the furniture up against the longer walls as we think that’s going to help – but it rarely does for this very reason.
- It’s less easy to have a focal point in a long room. The space itself may not lend itself to any obvious focal point – meaning you have to be extra creative with your furniture layout and overall design choices so that the space feels balanced and harmonious.
- It can be hard to feel cosy as things are spaced out in corridor fashion. Because of the length of the room, it can be tempting to push all your furniture up against the walls in an attempt to create more space in the centre. However, this can often make rooms feel even more cavernous and unwelcoming – so it’s important to find a balance between cosy and clutter-free.
- It’s more difficult to create a seating area that works for socialising (conversation can be hard when the seating is lined up and not able to be facing each other).
- It can be quite difficult to make sure that every corner feels inviting and purposeful. Often in a long room, one area gets forgotten or is underused and can feel like a waste of space. This is where careful accessorising and styling comes in – but we’ll get to that later!
Understand Your Living Room Layout
It’s not just the fact that you’ve got a long room to work with. There are also other things in the sitting room that will determine how (or have to be considered when) you decide on the furniture placement.
- Where are the windows?
- Is there a fireplace?
- Where are the doors?
- What flow is needed? Do people need to get to other rooms via this space?
The windows, doors, and access needs are usually all immovable features (or at least most people won’t be making big changes to move them any time soon), and can of course affect where you can put some items.
As such, it’s worth noting these up front so you can deal with them and make sure your furniture works with them rather than against.
For example – a sofa placed in the wrong place may mean a door can’t open fully. BUT a sofa in the right place can make a cosy seating area or zone a long room.
Another example – A dresser may not quite fall below a window sill and look odd if placed there. BUT it could look amazing on one of the long walls to break the space up a little.
What’s The Focal Point?
This will determine a lot of the layout of the furniture, because you’ll be wanting to make sure that it’s directed on that area the most.
Some ideas for living space focal points are:
- A great view from the window
- A fireplace
- A stunning piece of artwork
- The TV (although this can be frowned upon in some design circles, let’s be honest – most of us focus on this when in that space!)
Knowing the focal point means you’ll be able to fit the main furniture around that, rather than put it somewhere and then realise later that you’re actually looking away from that point!
What If Your Living Room Doesn’t Have A Focal Point?
If this is the case you’ll want to create one. You could simply create a lovely seating area with an area rug that defines the space, or use some artwork on the wall you look at as you walk into the room.
What If Your Living Room Has More Than One Focal Point?
It’s important to make one the clear winner, or allow them all to be in the same area – so that your eyes fall in that space only. You will feel calmer when you can settle on one thing at a time.
How Big Is Your Living Room?
This is important when looking at long spaces, because the size of the space can alter what needs to be done to the furniture layout to make it as useable as possible.
If It’s A Small Living Room
If it’s a small long living room, then you’ll have to concentrate on making the most of the limited space.
To do this you can consider using space saving furniture and having less items in the room than you would if it was larger.
It’s always worth looking at furniture that doubles up in function – to get the most bang for your buck (so to speak!).
What about having hidden storage within the furniture? For example, having a storage coffee table works well as a good example for how to make what you have work as hard as possible for you.
If It’s A Large Space
A great idea for a larger living room that’s long is to split it into a couple of sections.
Some possibilities for this are:
#1 – Cosy relaxing area plus extra seating area
You can have one main section that focuses around the TV and fireplace, with maybe a corner sofa in that area – and then have a separate seating area with a couple of armchairs and a bookcases perhaps.
This creates a different vibe in each area, and makes the room function really well.
#2 – Seating Area Plus An Extra Function
Another common way to zone a longer space is to add multiple functions to the room.
Creating a dining area works really well for this, but you could also look at using the space for a craft area, a home office, etc… The list is endless!
What Furniture Do You Want In The Living Area?
Now that we’ve looked at the size of the space available (so whether you can add extra functions or have to be more clever with your items), and we’ve got a focal point picked out – it’s now time to look at WHAT furniture we need to place in the space.
You need to consider things like:
- How many people will be seated at any one time? This will show you what the minimum seating needs to be for everyone to be comfortable.
- What functions does the living room have in your home? Do you only watch TV, or do you have friends over and sit in there talking? Do you eat in there?, etc…
- Who will use it? Will it be an adult space, or more of a family room? This will help you understand WHAT needs to be in the space – especially in terms of what needs to be stored in there.
When you know what you’re using the room for, you’ll be able to work out exactly what you need at a minimum to make it work for you.
You’ll have things on your list like:
- Seating for x people (Sofa / Corner Sofa / Armchairs etc…)
- Side Table(s)
- Display Furniture – dresser, chest of drawers etc…
- Coffee Table / Ottoman
- Table Lamp(s)
- Floor Lamp(s)
Now it’s also important to rank these items in order of importance – because you may have to decide between things if they don’t all work.
My suggestion is to think about what the MAIN function of the room is – and work out what’s needed for that. This will become your minimum viable list of items should you have to cull anything later.
TIP – Also consider what types of furniture you like as well – for example, a corner sofa or a smaller settee and armchairs?
Can Any Items Work Twice As Hard?
A great way to maximise the sense of width and space in a smaller long room is to use multi functional furniture wherever possible as this makes the available floor space feel larger.
If you’ve got coffee table AND storage on your list – then why not ensure your coffee table has built in storage.
That way you don’t have to have space for 2 different pieces of furniture.
Is Your Current Furniture Right For The Space?
You now have a list of what you’d like to fit into the space – so now let’s look at what you’ve already got.
Often we can get lost in trying to make things fit and work when they are simply wrong for the space.
The best Interior Design tip I can offer in this article is to always look at the size of the furniture – and check that it’s right for the room.
Chunky furniture, wide/deep seating, etc… can immediately make a long space appear even more narrow than it is – whereas you really want to create the illusion of a wider space by adding in narrow furniture to show off more of the floor space.
For example – if your coffee table is square it can make the room feel more narrow than you’d want. Ideally get a rectangular piece that will reflect the shape of the space better.
Or you have a gorgeous sofa that you love – which is a long 4 seater so should work well in a narrow room – but when you put it against the longer wall you find it makes it feel even more narrow. This is because it’s REALLY deep and is filling the space a lot more than ideally you’d like. You’d be better off adding a corner sofa that uses some of the width of the room as well as the length – but is less deep.
Now is the best time to really think about what furniture will work best – take a good look at what you’ve got, and whether it’s time to sell some items you’ve got and buy differently sized items going forward.
If something doesn’t work – then you won’t feel great in your living room no matter what furniture layout you choose. Best to swap things now and make the space work as well as it can – because ultimately you’ll be happier with the results if you do.
Tips To Get Your Layout Right
Having the answers to all the above things will help you get the layout right, because you’ll have thought carefully about what you need, what you have, and what will help – but there are more tips that will make sure your finished result works well.
TIP – Please keep in mind that every room will be different, depending on your exact home – of course.
But there ARE ways to ensure you get your layout right in a long room. Here are the best tips to remember:
#1 – Draw It Out
So you’ve now got the list of items you want to have in the space – it’s time to see what works best where.
This is the tricky bit!
But rearranging your living room furniture isn’t easy.
A lot of it will be heavy, bulky, and energy sapping to move around a lot.
As such – do what I used to do as a designer, and draw your floor plan out on a piece of paper. Ideally do this to scale (doesn’t have to be perfect!).
You could also use an online free floor plan drawer such as https://floorplancreator.net/ which is pretty user friendly just for guidance (great if your drawing isn’t as good as you’d like it to be!).
Then, cut out some (also to rough scale) shapes that are your furniture items – so you can start to move them around on the floor plan without having to move it all around properly.
This can then help you to work out exactly what you need from the space, and what will fit best where.
#2 – Use Items That Are Shallow / Narrow
Use items that are longer than they are wide.
For example – a corner sofa can work brilliantly in a narrow room because it uses the least amount of space for the maximum seating. BUT – they can be deep, and bulky. Ideally you want to choose one that has a longer side and a shorter side (commonly known as a chaise ended corner sofa), and make sure that its longer side runs along one of the longer walls in the room.
#3 – Minimise Excess Furniture
This will create a feeling of width in the room because you’ll be able to see more floor area, and less clutter.
#4 – Zone The Space
Whether your room is small or large, there are ways to create areas in it to split up the space, and make each zone feel cosier and less like a corridor.
Some options would be using rugs, or creating different areas (zoning the room), etc…
You may be lucky and have the space in a larger long room to be able to create a couple of different areas to sit. If so – then look at adding extra seating at one end of the room to create a cosy conversation area, or reading spot, with the main sofa being for relaxing and probably watching TV etc…
#5 – Leave Access
Think about leaving room for access to doors / windows / the view etc…
Whatever layout you decide on – if you have to step over things to open the curtains each day, or if people have to walk in front of the TV to get to the kitchen every time – it’s not going to work!
#6 – Use The Height Of The Room
In a long room the space feels more like a corridor (especially in smaller rooms). As such, it’s important to try and balance the feel of the space as much as possible.
You can do this really well by using the height of the room in your furniture choice just as much as the floor space.
- Use a tall media unit to house the TV and books and storage all in one place. This looks neat and stylish, creates a great focal point, and also doesn’t use up too much floor space.
- Add the TV over the fireplace to add height to the room. Taking the TV off the floor means you don’t need an extra item of furniture for it to sit on either.
- Choose taller storage units like dressers rather than chests of drawers – as these will drawer the eye up.
#7 – Use The Width Of The Room
When placing furniture in a long room it’s easy to concentrate on the larger space provided by the longer walls.
However, the width of the room is just as crucial when it comes to balancing things out.
Maybe your room can allow for the sofa to be placed along the width rather than (as so commonly done) along the longer wall. This would create the feeling of a wider space.
And there you have it! – exactly how to arrange furniture in a long living room
A long living room doesn’t have to be less cosy than a more square shaped one.
In fact – getting the layout right may mean you can get MORE out of the space than you’d ever thought possible before.
The trick is to create the effect of a balanced room, by placing your furniture in the right areas that work for your specific needs.
I hope these tips have helped, and that you have lots of fun creating the space you’ve been craving!