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How To Arrange Furniture In A Long Narrow Living Room

by - Thursday, April 13, 2023

When I refresh my decor for each season, I take the opportunity to reassess the living room layout and see the best way to arrange the room. Arranging furniture in a long, narrow living room can be a challenge. Without the right layout, a living room can seem awkward and cramped, leaving the space feeling uninviting and unappealing. 

So where you do you place your accent chairs, sofa, and floor lamps? How do you create an illusion of more space while maximizing conversation zones for entertaining and areas for sitting quietly?

traditional living room layout with sofa and two accent chairs and fireplace

Long Living Room Layout

It's important to get this space right and make the room feel at its best. With a little creativity and some practical tips, you can create a functional and attractive living room that maximizes the space you have available. In this blog post, I'll share some strategies for arranging furniture in a long, narrow living room that will help you create a comfortable and inviting space for you and your family to enjoy.

long narrow living room, long living room ideas, long room space layout

I. Assess Your Space

Assessing your living room space is an essential first step in arranging furniture in a long room. While it's not necessary to completely empty out your room, you need to know what you're working with. That starts with taking measurements.

Measure The Room

It's important to take accurate measurements of the room to determine what will fit and where. Start by measuring the length and width of the room, noting any architectural features like doorways, windows, bump-outs, or built-in bookshelves. Make sure to measure the height of the ceilings as well, and note any soffits or obstructions.

long narrow living room floor plan

My particular living room measures 22'10" x 11'11". It has four windows and has two pocket door entrances. You can sketch out your floorplan on a piece of paper or use an online tool like Floorplanner.

When we first bought this house, we didn't know quite what to do with the living room. I brought in our old furniture but the room still felt very sparse and very long. One idea I did have was to surround the window at the far end with builtins and turn it into a bench seat. We had several bench seats at our previous home and I've always loved the look. So, I placed a hutch and a dresser on either side of the window to see if I liked how it would feel in the space.

long narrow living room in a colonial house
The living room when we first moved in

Immediately, I could see that adding in the builtins would help the living room feel cozier and not as long. Thus, a few years ago, and in just six weeks, we renovated this room and added the moulding and the built-in bench seat and bookshelves. This one change really helped us take advantage of the length of the room and use it to its full potential.

narrow long living room with built in bookcases

Determine The Traffic Flow

Once you've determined your floor space, consider the foot traffic through the room. How do people move through the space, and what are the natural paths they take? Is there a seating area placement that makes sense? Is there a focal point such as a fireplace that people will naturally gravitate towards?

Consider your current furniture layout and see if there are any pain points or annoyances. By thinking of the traffic flow, you can determine the best placement for furniture to avoid blocking any walkways or creating awkward bottlenecks. 

II. Choose the Right Furniture

Selecting appropriate furniture is crucial in creating a comfortable and functional space. You'll want consider a few factors when choosing living room furniture: scale and proportion, functionality, and style. Your furniture choices will impact how you use and enjoy the space. By taking the time to choose the right furniture for your living area, you'll be able to create a comfortable and inviting space that works for your lifestyle and needs.

Consider the Scale and Proportion

Furniture size and proportion should be considered to avoid overwhelming the room. For a large living room, consider opting for a bigger sofa or l-shaped sectional to fill out the long space. However, large furniture in a small living room can cause a cramped and uncomfortable feeling, so you might select a mix of sofas, love seats, or extra chairs to spread out instead. Opt for furniture that is appropriately sized for the room, leaving enough space for people to move around.

long living room layout with sofa and accent chairs

Furniture Functionality

You'll also want to think about how you will use the furniture. Do you need furniture groupings to entertain multiple guests? Do you need a round coffee table, an end table or console table for placing down drinks or a table lamp? Look for pieces that serve more than one function, such as a sofa bed, an ottoman with storage, or a desk that can function as an impromptu home office. These versatile pieces can help you make the most of your available living space, reducing clutter and streamlining your layout.


Living Room Style

In addition to functionality, style and aesthetic should also be considered. When selecting furniture, ensure that the pieces complement each other, creating a cohesive design theme. I personally like to keep the largest and most expensive pieces of furniture (in this case, the sofa) neutral in style so that they are timeless and can be changed up with accessories.

Think about your personal style preferences. Do you love a darker color on the wall to make your living room look cozy and warm? Or would you prefer white paint and sheer window treatments that let in the natural light and make the feel bright and airy? Create mood boards and test out paint and fabric swatches to create a harmonious and visually pleasing space that feels put together and intentional. 

living room mantel spring decor, easter decor living room

III. Create Zones

Creating zones in the living room is an effective way to make the most of the available space, especially in a long, narrow room. By defining specific areas within the room, such as a sitting area, entertainment zone, or a workspace, you can create a sense of purpose and functionality for the entire space while also maximizing the available square footage.

long living room with window treatments and moulding

Define Your Spaces

In our living room, we have three main areas: a small work or relaxing space framed by the bookshelves; a main entertaining zone in the middle of the room; and another sitting area and display zone near the front window.

The bookcases at the end of the room counter the bowling alley effect and help this living room feel not so long. The bench seat is a lovely place to sit when the spring sunlight pours in so I've moved the small round table in front of the bench seat and added additional seating around it. Now, its a nice place to sit with your morning coffee or gather for family game night.

long room layout with built-in bookcases and extra seating

The main entertaining area is anchored by the sofa which is placed along the largest section of uninterrupted wall. Side chairs, an overhead pendant, and a light area rug further help to define this zone. You can use area rugs to anchor each zone and separate them visually from one another. This will help establish clear boundaries and provide a more organized and visually appealing space. 

The front zone is the one that is most fluid. In winter, the furniture is moved out of the way to make room for the Christmas tree. Other times, I have the desk in the front window to display accessories. Right now, I've moved all my plants into this zone so they can get the most sunlight. I usually also have extra seating like an ottoman here so we have a place to sit and put our shoes on before we head out the door. 

english roll arm sofa with glass coffee table in narrow living room

IV. Experiment with Layouts

Struggling with furniture placement and figuring out the right room design? You're not alone! It usually takes a few tries to find the right furniture arrangement. Start by trying out different furniture layouts to see what works best for your space. 

living room layout, living room space plan with accent chairs

One option is to place the furniture in a traditional arrangement, such as facing a fireplace or television. Another option is to try an angled placement, which can help break up the long, narrow feel of the room. I've tried different layouts in our living room and very quickly can assess what feels right. Be sure to consider the traffic flow through the room and ensure that the layout doesn't create any obstacles.

long living room floor plan 2d, floor plan software creator
Example of living room 2D floor plan created in Floorplanner

living room layout 3d, floor plan creator 3d free
3D floor plan tutorial from Room Design Simplified course

Floor Plan Software

Another approach to experimenting with layouts is to create a mockup of the room using a floor plan software or even just paper and pencil. In my course Room Design Simplified, I teach you how to do that using Floorplanner, a free floor plan creator tool.

living room layout using floorplanner software for long narrow living room

living room layout using floorplanner software for long narrow living room

Learning how to create a 2D or 3D floor plan can help you visualize different furniture arrangements without having to move anything physically. Software allows you to create, save, and revise your narrow living room ideas easily. You can also save time and money by using the software to figure out exactly what dimensions of furniture will fit in your space, before you buy. 

long living room with built-in bookcases and window seat

By trying out different layouts, you'll be able to find the one that works best for your needs, maximizes the available space, and creates a comfortable and inviting room. Join Room Design Simplified today and learn how to effectively design a layout for your living room and all the rooms in your home.

floor plan creator software, long living room floor plan

V. Add the Finishing Touches

Adding in the finishing touches is the final step in creating a beautiful living room. These small details can make a big impact on the overall look and feel of the space. Ideally, the accessories and lighting you use will enhance your furniture and layout to really add personality to your room.

fireplace mantel with fireplace screen and botanical artwork

Layer in Accessories 

Start by adding decorative elements, such as throw pillows, mirrors, and artwork that complement the furniture and color scheme. Use your vertical space to make short walls and ceilings look taller. Decorate side tables with accessories that might increase enjoyment of the room. Examples could be a vase of fresh flowers, coasters for your drinks, and a candle to infuse the room with a pretty scent.

narrow living room fireplace mantel, spring decor fireplace mantle

entryway cabinet with federal mirror and flowers in vase

For spring, I've brought in lots of plants and flowers (fresh and faux). It's a great idea to incorporate seasonal greenery, from potted plants to branches, to add energy and life to your space. 

Incorporate Lighting

Lighting is also crucial, as it can help set the mood and highlight specific areas within the room. Consider using a combination of overhead lighting and table lamps to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Select lighting that complements your furniture style and is visually interesting and appealing.

living room sitting area, living room floor lamp and side table with wingback chair

front entryway cabinet with drawers and flower arrangement

Arranging furniture in a long, narrow living room can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, it can also be a rewarding one. By assessing the available space, choosing appropriate furniture, creating zones, experimenting with layouts, and adding finishing touches, you can create a polished and inviting living room that works for your needs and lifestyle. 

Remember to take your time and don't be afraid to try different approaches until you find the one that works best for you. With a little creativity and effort, you can transform your long, narrow living room into a beautiful and comfortable space that you'll love spending time in. I'm happy to say that's how I feel about my living room!


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