How to decorate a large rectangular living room

Updated November 21, 2016

Large, rectangular living rooms can be a challenge to decorate. They seem to be much longer than they are wide, and this can pose a huge problem when trying to figure out what will make them look like cosy, inviting rooms for family, friends and other guests. Not to worry, though. There are several simple tips you can follow that will make your large, rectangular living room look inviting.

Use neutral and warm shades of paint. Paint the ceiling a lighter shade than you paint the walls--such as the lightest shade of the wall colour--to make the walls look taller. Paint the top third of your walls a lighter shade to make the ceilings look higher. Paint wide vertical stripes up to the horizontal stripe to shorten the long walls. This will make the room look larger but not necessarily longer.

Choose your window treatments carefully. Using bulky valances will help take up wall space. Place the valances above the window to make the window look longer. Extend the valances past the actual window to make the window appear larger. Avoid bold, busy prints for your draperies. These will make the window look smaller. You can even create faux windows by adding draperies where there isn't a window to break up long walls.

Arrange furniture to create smaller areas. Keep the furniture away from the walls as much as possible. Place sofas and love seats at angles, separated by end tables to create small sitting and conversation areas. Use sofa tables with tall accessories to break up a large, rectangular living room. Place chairs in a half circle in the corner (perhaps by a fireplace) to create a small reading or conversation area. Adding a large hutch or buffet perpendicular to a long wall creates storage and breaks up the room even more.

Add lighting. Use tall floor lamps in each of the small areas you created with your furniture placement. Add recessed lighting. You can even add track lighting so that you can direct the light. Tall candles on sofa tables and end tables will also help to break up your large, rectangular living room.

Hang wall art. Add your largest pieces of wall art to your longest walls. Or, create a large grouping of similar photos or pictures on those longest walls. Add shadow boxes to add depth and dimension to the long walls. You can even create a faux fireplace to break up a long wall. Add texture to your walls by hanging tapestries. Use wall art sparingly on the shorter walls.

Add accessories. Group similar items together on tables to create small collections. Use various heights to create visual interest. Add large, decorative baskets on the floor for additional storage. Use decorative mirrors on tables and the longest walls to reflect light and images, making the room look less narrow. Use fabrics with different textures to add interest to your large, rectangular living room.

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