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How to Decorate a Rectangle Living Room

Updated February 21, 2017

Consider the shape and size of your living room when determining how to proceed with decorating the space. Different furniture groupings and arrangements work better in a rectangular living room than in another shape. The exact arrangement and decor you choose should work with the shape, rather than fight it. Create a comfortable living room that looks and feels inviting for you and your guests.

Paint one long wall, where your sofa or other large piece of furniture will go, in a bright or darker colour than the other three walls to create an accent wall. Alternatively, use vertical stripes or wallpaper with a vertical design to take the focus off the rectangular shape by visually lengthening the walls. Warm colours will make a large room feel cosier, while cool, light colours can make the room feel larger.

Position your largest piece of furniture first. For example, position your sofa against a long wall and the entertainment centre, a matching sofa or pair of chairs across from it. Use a rectangular-shaped coffee table or ottoman in front of the sofa to avoid taking up unnecessary space across the width of the room. Place end tables on either side of your sofa, particularly if you use an ottoman in front of the sofa.

Anchor your furniture arrangement with a rug. Use an oval or round rug to downplay the room's rectangular shape. An area rug can pull your colour scheme together by incorporating the colours and designs that set the tone for the rest of the room.

Hang window coverings that complement the walls, furniture and rug. Sheer curtains allow natural light to filter in, which can make your living room feel more cheerful and inviting.

Add paintings, sculptures, sconces, mirrors or framed photographs to the short wall. A large piece of artwork, mirror or arrangement of pictures can serve as a focal point.

Accessorise the room with lamps, throws, pillows, candles, pictures, vases and flowers. Include extra lighting in the far reaches of the room, particularly if there are no windows or overhead lights on one side of the room.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Furniture
  • Rug
  • Window treatment
  • Wall decor
  • Accessories
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About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.