How to Furnish a Narrow Living Room

Think tall and go with the shape of the room.

Photograph by Trinette Reed

The challenge interior designers face in narrow living rooms comes from the difficulty of trying to create the conversational atmosphere you want without enough space for all the furniture pieces you think you need. Brigette Allensworth, interior showhome coordinator at home builder Albi Luxury by Brookfield Residential, advises you may have to look at furniture that isn’t what you initially envisioned for your living room. This includes pieces that aren’t too bulky. She also suggests space-saving replacements such as a storage bench instead of a coffee table.

“If it’s a long, rectangular room, you don’t want to put a couch on the short end of the short wall,” Allensworth says. “You want to go with the shape of the room when you choose your furniture.”

Allensworth also suggests using tall accessories to disguise the small size, such as a floor lamp or plant. “I’ll draw attention away from the narrowness by putting well-balanced art above the seating on the long walls, just to bring it to scale.”

Kristina Hutchins, creative director for interior design at Calgary home builder Cardel Homes, says that custom-made sectional sofas are an under-appreciated solution for helping a living room feel wider. “Everybody thinks you have to have a massive room for a sectional, but it’s exactly the opposite,” says Hutchins. “They actually take up less space than a chair and a sofa.”

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