Learn the secrets on how to decorate a long narrow living room with a fireplace to make it feel cozy and inviting. With the right approach, you can transform this challenging room into a cozy space that embraces its unique dimensions.
Last fall we decided to turn our dining room into a sitting room…or the more popular term, living room. And I can say that the transformation is finally done!
This oddly shaped room in the middle of our downstairs has thrown me for a loop over the years.
It’s gone from a dining room to a living room, back to a dining room and now back to a living room again.
Some might say I have a hard time making my mind up on what this room should be used for, but I think it just took me a few tries to get the design and the feel right.
This oddly shaped room finally feels cozy and inviting, the way I’ve always wanted it to feel.
So for this blog post, I thought I’d answer a few questions about why we decided to convert the dining room and share the best ways to style an awkward living room layout with a few things I’ve learned along the way.
*The slipcovered chairs and area rug in this blog post were gifted to us by Jordan’s Furniture, however this is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and ideas are 100% my own.
Why did you convert your dining room into a living room?
When we made the decision to convert our dining room back into a family room last fall, the choice wasn’t just about aesthetics. It was more about creating a functional area that better suited the needs of our family.
For us, the dining area was an underutilized space.
We found ourselves gravitating towards a more casual setting in our day-to-day lives. The dining room setup seemed too formal for our us, and so we realized we wanted a cozy living space where we could unwind, relax, and spend time together instead.
Now, you might be wondering, “Where will you eat dinner without a dining room?”
The answer is simple, the kitchen island. This is where our family has always gathered and where we’ve always eaten our meals. We just feel more comfortable and relaxed eating at the island.
As for entertaining, the truth is, we don’t do much of that and there are other ways to host friends and family if need be.
Basically, at the heart of our decision was the desire to have a space that fits our everyday lifestyle, where functionality meets comfort.
Sometimes, breaking away from tradition can lead to unexpected joys and a more personalized home environment.
How to Decorate a Long Narrow Room to Make it Feel Cozy
I am no design expert, but through the process of transforming our dining room into a living room, I’ve learned a few tricks that can turn an oddly shaped room into a cozy space.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, wondering how to make the most of your unique space, here are some long living room ideas & tips that might help.
Remember, the key is to experiment and find the best layout for your specific room and lifestyle.
Rugs Define an Area
Let’s start from the ground up as I show you our new living area.
One of the first design choices we made was to use a rug to define the space. Because we are using this space as a seating area, we choose a generously sized rug to anchor the furniture, providing a cozy foundation for our chairs.
An area rug adds a layer of softness and visually delineates this portion of our downstairs into the sitting room.
I was a little nervous that the rug we selected was going to be too big for this room but I actually realized the rug we had in here previously, was too small. With a larger rug the room feels more open and not so crammed.
Another design mistake I made in our old dining room was having a light, cream colored rug on the dark wooden floors.
With the stark contrast of the light rug against the dark floors, the eye was always drawn down to the floor making the room feel small and off balance.
That’s not the case with the new, darker color!
The deep tones of the rug complement the richness of the dark floors, creating a more harmonious and balanced visual impact.
The rug seamlessly blends with the flooring, allowing the eye to travel upward, creating the illusion of height.
It’s amazing how such a simple element can transform an open space into one that is well-defined, inviting, and cozy.
The Magnolia natural taupe rug we selected for our sitting area, could not be cozier. In fact, Mr. ERH keeps saying how it’s the nicest rug we’ve ever owned…and it’s cozy enough to sleep on!
Tips for Picking the Perfect Rug for Your Home
- Size Does Matter: Make sure the rug is the right size for the room. In a long and narrow space, choose a rug that extends beyond the seating arrangement to create a sense of balance.
- Consider Shape: Depending on the layout of your furniture, consider the shape of the rug. For instance, in a narrow room, a rectangular rug often works well to emphasize the length.
- Define Zones: Use rugs to define different zones within a room. If you have distinct areas for seating, dining, or a reading nook; consider using rugs to visually separate these spaces.
- Choose Vertical Patterns: Choose rugs with vertical patterns or stripes to visually elongate the room. This can help counteract the narrow dimensions and create the illusion of more space.
- Layering: Consider layering rugs to add depth and interest to the space. You can place a smaller rug on top of a larger one, creating a focal point in the seating area or adding texture to the room.
- Texture & Material: Consider the texture and material of the rug, especially if it’s an area of your home that gets a lot of foot traffic. A plush rug can add a touch of coziness, while a flat-weave rug might be a practical choice for maintenance and durability.
Symmetry Creates Balance in a Long Narrow Living Room
In a long narrow living room, the use of symmetry can be a game changer in achieving visual balance.
To create symmetry in our living room, we centered our two identical chairs in front of the fireplace (the fireplace is the central focal point of the room) to counteract the unique proportions of this room.
Note: Identify a central focal point in your room such as a fireplace, large piece of artwork, or an entertainment center. Arrange furniture symmetrically around this focal point to establish a sense of balance and draw attention away from the room’s size.
The wonderful thing about symmetry is that it not only promotes a sense of order but also helps create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere.
Identical furniture pieces, like our chairs, establish a mirror-like reflection that visually expands the room and gives a sense of unity.
The balanced layout adds functionality to the room, creating a comfortable seating area that invites relaxation and conversation.
Symmetry extends beyond furniture arrangement.
Matching decor elements, such as identical side tables or pairs of lamps, can contribute to the overall symmetry of a room.
This design strategy transforms what could be a challenging space into an opportunity to create a beautiful, long & narrow living room.
Use the Right Sized Living Room Furniture in Your Space
With an awkward living room layout, choosing the right sized furniture is key to achieving a well-balanced and functional space.
Choosing furniture that complement the size of the room can make a significant difference in how the space looks and feels.
Select furniture that is proportionate to the length and width of the room. Avoid overly large or petite pieces that will disrupt harmony and flow.
For our new sitting area, we decided on two slipcovered swivel glider chairs that we were able to customize with a fabric that matched our aesthetic.
We liked the intimate scale of the chairs, which allowed for comfortable seating without overwhelming the limited space.
Mr. ERH loved the gliding motion of this chair making it an ideal choice for our cozy setup (and an afternoon nap too).
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When arranging furniture, consider the traffic flow and create enough room for clear pathways.
In our long narrow living room, we positioned the slipcovered chairs in the center of the room, forming a comfortable seating area around the fireplace.
I also took this stool and decided to use it as a table between our chairs. It serves as the perfect end table to hold books, a cup of tea, or a plant for a little touch of greenery.
Remember when selecting your furniture to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics.
While you want the furniture to be comfortable and accommodating, it should also contribute to the overall design of the room.
Add Coziness to the Living Room With Textures & Fabrics
Elevate the comfort and warmth of your living room by incorporating textures and fabrics that invite touch and relaxation.
Adding a variety of textures increases the visual interest while also creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
Throw pillows, soft blankets, rugs, and curtains are a great way to soften hard surfaces and make the room feel more intimate.
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Stick to Timeless Textures & Fabrics
When selecting textures and fabrics for your family room, choose timeless options to ensure they withstand trends and fads.
Look for materials that stand the test of time such as rich leathers, natural linens, and high quality wools. They exude a sense of sophistication and age beautifully over time.
Neutral tones and versatile patterns (think plaids, stripes, checks) contribute to the timeless aesthetic, allowing you to adapt your decor as styles evolve without losing the essence of your design.
By choosing textures and fabrics with a timeless quality, you invest in a living space that remains both stylish and comforting.
- When refreshing your home, buy pillow covers instead of new throw pillows. Pillow covers offer a cost-effective and versatile way to update your decor without the need to replace entire pillows. They come in a variety of styles, colors, and textures, allowing you to easily switch up your look for different seasons. This not only saves money but also reduces waste by reusing your existing pillow inserts. Also, pillow covers take up minimal space when not in use making them easy to store.
Make Sure to Have Cozy Lighting
This is one of the things I need to work on in this room!
We currently only have the chandelier (Which by the way won’t be going anywhere even though it’s not a dining room anymore!) but we definitely need some softer, more targeted light in here.
A table lamp is another great option in making your narrow living room feel more snug and cozy.
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For more ideas on how to achieve cozy lighting and how to choose the right lamp shade, visit this post on the blog.
Have a Statement Fireplace
A statement fireplace infuses any space with warmth and style.
No matter your style whether you love a sleek modern design, a rustic brick facade, or a classic mantelpiece; the addition of a fireplace serves as a focal point that anchors the room.
Choose a design that complements your overall decor and reflects your own personal taste.
We have a stone fireplace around our pellet stove that I painted an olive green color a few years ago. I love how the green pops in our otherwise neutral interior.
My favorite part of a fireplace (besides the warmth in the winter) though? Decorating the mantel!
A well designed fireplace radiates warmth and a cozy atmosphere making it a cherished feature within your home.
More Cozy Ideas on How Decorate a Small Living Room
- Use Vertical Storage: Maximize vertical space with bookshelves, cabinets, a tall armoire, or wall mounted storage units. This not only adds storage but also draws the eye upward, making a small space feel more spacious.
- Mirrors for Illusion: Use mirrors strategically to reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Place a large mirror on one of the walls to add depth and visually expand the room.
- Multifunctional Furniture: Invest in furniture that serves multiple functions, such as a sofa with built-in storage or an ottoman that can be used as a coffee table with extra seating.
- Gallery Wall: Create a gallery wall with artwork or photographs to add visual interest along the length of the room. This can break up the monotony of a long wall and make the space feel more homey and curated.
- Avoid Heavy Curtains: Choose light and airy window treatments to allow natural light to filter through. Heavy curtains can make the room feel more cramped, while lighter ones are the best way create a sense of openness.
- Color Scheme: Choose a cohesive color palette to unify the space. Lighter colors can make the room feel brighter and more expansive, while strategic use of darker tones can add depth.
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