How to decorate a long narrow living room

Written by andrea hermitt
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How to decorate a long narrow living room
(Living room image by MAXFX from

A long, narrow living room can cause quite a decorating challenge. No one wants a living room that resembles a bowling alley, but it is difficult to find other ways to arrange a long, narrow room. You can, however, design a delightful decorating scheme if you follow a few simple rules. All you have to do to decorate a long, narrow living room is to think of the room in sections instead of as a whole.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Put the focal point on a side wall, and not on an end wall. Remove the main focal point from any end wall and move it to a side wall. Having a focal point on an end wall, whether it be a picture window or a fireplace, will only serve to make the room look longer. You can install a large flat-screen television to refocus the attention of the room from an end wall to a side wall.

  2. 2

    Consider different functions for the room and create stations. Visually divide the long room according to possible uses using smaller furniture arrangements. For example, you can have the main sitting area in the centre of the room and then add two chairs on the fireplace end. On the other end, you can add a game table or a desk and chair.

  3. 3

    Use multiple area rugs to further divide the sections. An easy way to visually break up a space is to put down separate but coordinating area rugs. Each rug will define its own space and break up the bowling-alley feel of the room. You should, however, avoid using runners and stick to square and round area rugs.

  4. 4

    Consider the traffic pattern of the room when deciding how to arrange your furniture. Avoid placing furniture in the way of obvious traffic patterns, and group your furniture according to those frequented paths. You will not want to place a television on a wall where there is heavy traffic. You will also want to avoid having a traffic area cut through a main seating area.

Tips and warnings

  • Sketch the room and draw several different furniture arrangements before moving furniture around. It will be easier on your back.

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