Interior Design Ideas for Very Long & Narrow Living Rooms

Updated February 21, 2017

While a long and narrow living space may seem ill-proportioned for eye-catching decor, you can exploit its unusual dimensions by cutting the space with bookcases, rugs and curtains. You can also use paint, wallpaper, or shelving to widen the room. This way, you have all the advantages or smaller spaces in a unified, open area.


Use bookcases to divide your long and narrow living space into two smaller, more manageable spaces. Two bookcases on opposite ends (at right angles to the walls) allow you to use one space for a reading area, perhaps, and the other for dining. This way, you have two smaller spaces that are more intimate, but since they're connected, it creates a nice unity, and the space is still appropriate for having guests over. You can also decorate by placing plants or knick-knacks on top of the cases. Be sure to leave plenty of walking space between the book cases. Also, consider the height of the room and how much of the divided space you'd like to see all together when deciding on low or high book cases.

Paint and Wall Decorating Tips

To create a special focal point in your space and take advantage of its unique shape, you can paint one wall a dark or bold colour. This will keep it from looking like a long hallway. You can also paint one end of the room (one of the narrower walls) a warm green, orange or red hue. You can also use a bold patterned wallpaper here to bring the eye to the far end of the room. Painting the longer walls in cool or light colours will help them "shrink back" or recede.

More Ways to Divide the Space

Use curtains and rugs to break up your long living space. Consider whether you want curtains dark and heavy or light and translucent, so that you get a glimpse of what is beyond them. Choose square or round rugs (unless you want to make the space look even longer, then choose a runner) to divide up the space based on its use. Center the rug in the middle of a furniture set-up so that it's apparent these spaces have different uses.

Furniture Arrangement and Accents

Consider flow of traffic when deciding where to arrange furniture. You don't want people having to walk through a sitting area every time they come through. Avoid placing your furniture at right angles along the walls. Rather, arrange pieces diagonally, which widens the room. Consider shelving with interesting pieces or artwork on one of the short walls. If your room is tall as well as long and narrow, consider crown mouldings, which cut the ceiling height.

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