decorating a long narrow family room

Photo by Tiare Scott

By Dan Fritschen

Update: Everybody wants their living rooms to be spacious yet intimate; we want to be able to host a lot of people but at the same time feel close and cozy! This can be difficult if you have a living room that’s an awkward shape for these purposes. If you don’t want the cost or hassle of building a living room addition, you can still make good use of the space you have with a few clever design tricks.

Do you want to find design and decorating ideas for long narrow living rooms?  Try our photo search tool. It is free to use.  You can find great picture of beautiful rooms and save and share the pictures you find in your own private file with your notes and comments to make your design project a breeze.  Try it now – click here.

Decorating a room that is both long and narrow can be a challenge; you don’t want the room to feel like a hallway or bowling alley, and it can be difficult to create intimate gathering spaces in the usual square or circular shape that you’d want in a living room. But there are some tricks to making a long and narrow room into a comfortable living space.

Keeping the main walkway to one side of the room is the best way to create a space that

Living room and dining room in neutral colors cost to remodel

Photo by Home Estaging

flows easily, without people having to walk around obstacles or disturb people sitting and relaxing. Plan your layout from the doorway and work backwards into the room from there; make sure people can get in and out easily and can reach their seats without getting in anybody’s way. This is especially important if your living room has doors at both ends and acts as a main thoroughfare.

Placing furniture in the corners of the room is a good way to maximize space and minimize disturbance by foot traffic. A couch, armchair and coffee table can comfortably fit into the corner of the room without taking up too much space and instantly creates an intimate social space. Arranging furniture at an angle is another great way to cheat the eye and add a unique twist to the shape of the room.

Choose you furnishings carefully; placing long sofas along the length of the room will make the seem even skinnier, so opt for more compact love seats that you can place perpendicular to the longer walls. That way you break up the room and create the social areas you desire. You can also cheat the shape of the room by opting for long, thin coffee tables that fit in front of sofas without taking up too much space.

If your room has multiple uses, divide the room into sections with clearly defined purposes. For instance, you can have a dining area with a table and chairs next to a comfortable seating area with a writing desk and bookshelf at the end. Rugs of different shapes, sizes and colors can help you define each of the spaces and make an awkward shaped room work for you.

To find more great inspiration for your living room, check out our design gallery, where you can search and share over 50 million home design photos.

10 tips to start your Living Room Remodel right!

  • Determine your budget using a living room remodeling cost estimator
  • Search, save, and share design ideas using the IdeaFile
  • Hire an interior designer to review your needs and your homes current condition and get their advice and design ideas
  • Update design and budget as necessary
  • If your hiring a general contractor begin interviewing – interview at least 5
  • If you DIY, check with the local government to see if a permit is required.
  • After talking with contractors – write out a detailed specification for your project.
  • If you DIY, begin looking for tradespeople and sub-contrators to do the work you won’t do.
  • Review quotes and do background and reference check on contractors and create a contract
  • Sign contract and begin work!


Living room with garden view brown leather couch fireplace

Living room with garden view

How the Living Room Remodel Cost Calculators Work

The remodeling cost calculator combines two  methods to provide an estimate. The calculators use your location to estimate labor costs, your preferences for types of materials and fixtures as well as how much work you would like to do. Choosing economy, average or expensive materials for your remodel has a big impact on the overall costs for building your home. Use the Whole House Remodeling Cost calculator to get a quick estimate of the range to build your home



The labor costs include both the fees and markups added by general contractors as well as the labor of the tradespeople who do the framing. Flooring, tile, drywall, etc. All of this work can be done by a homeowner. If you choose to do some of the work yourself, make sure you do a lot of practice before taking on the task for you home. What looks easy on a YouTube video invariably has a lot of tricks and techniques that aren’t obvious; especially with plumbing!


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