The long and somewhat narrow footprint can oftentimes present issues with traffic flow as well as the furniture layout. With some careful planning and a few helpful tips, your rectangular setup will feel stylish, functional, and inviting.
Read on for everything you need to know — from creating a floor plan to considering the size of your couch to alternative seating options — to help you design the living space of your dreams.
One of the best ways to unlock the secret to making your rectangular living room layout livable is to create a scaled floor plan. Then, measure the width of the doorways, windows, and any other architectural features, such as a fireplace, and mark their exact location on each wall. Once you have all of the dimensions, with 1/4-inch graph paper and an architectural scale or ruler, draw the outline of your living room.
Use another sheet of paper to draw scaled furniture shapes and cut them out, so you can move them around freely. This will give you a framework to visualize how different living room layouts will work (or not), so you don't have to waste time and energy moving your furniture around.
An entertainment center, wall-mounted television, sculpture, large piece of art, wall of shelving, or a piano could serve as a second focal point. Divide the floor plan by arranging seating areas around each focal point, resulting in at least two separate conversation zones. Any room in the house will feel cluttered if you don't provide adequate space to maneuver between furniture pieces. If you have an open layout, consider the traffic flow in and out of adjacent spaces, like the dining room.
Some rectangular living rooms are very long and narrow, creating the feel of a tunnel or bowling alley. If a TV or fireplace exists on a long wall, arrange seating to accommodate a walkway on one side of the room.
Sofas and chairs placed against the opposite wall leave room for a walkway between the coffee table and TV. To help fill the space and create a balanced look, float furniture in the middle of the room. Or, create a U-shaped conversation area in front of a fireplace or TV on a long wall, leaving a walkway behind the sofa. If you have the space, and you are a music lover, incorporate a piano, some stereo equipment, or just a cozy nook for spontaneous jam sessions at one end of the living room.
A smaller and less bulky couch, petite end tables, and less obtrusive accent chairs are good options to consider, especially if you want to divide your room into more than one area. In that case, throw in a few alternative options like poufs, floor cushions, benches, small stools, and even bean bags.
These options provide guests with a comfortable place to take a load off, and yet they are small and can be moved around easily so they won't interrupt the flow of your space.
Accent chairs are also easy to move around and are sure to come in handy during get-togethers, book clubs, or even movie nights.