Living Room

8 Creative Hacks for Rectangular Living Room Design

Sometimes when you move into a new place, the rooms aren’t going to be the shape of your old family home. You might even find yourself in a property with a rectangular living room, which is a different beast to tackle when compared with open-plan kitchen living rooms or the classic square layout of most living rooms. 

But don’t fret, as a rectangle room layout still comes with plenty of potential for interior design expression, it just requires a few creative hacks. That’s exactly what we’ve laid out in this blog, with 9 rectangle living room ideas so you can make the most of your lounging space.

Create a Focal Point to Draw in the Eye

Having an obvious focal point is a key step in knowing how to decorate a rectangular living room, and if you’re lucky the room might have it already. Things like fireplaces or large windows that come with homes make for good focal points to arrange the room around, while an entertainment center with a nice television or a flashy mirror can have similar effects, with the latter also helping to increase the sense of space in the narrow room.

Rectangular living room design wih a large tv
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Quick Tip – Use what you have: A rectangle living room can feel a little constrictive, but your focus shouldn’t be on what it’s lacking, but rather the space you have. Make use of every inch you can.

Center Your Key Pieces

When coming up with narrow rectangular living room design ideas, the automatic instinct is generally to place your main pieces of furniture up against the wall, but we consider this a mistake unless you literally have to. It’s better to center your main pieces, leaving space on either side and the walls free, to create the sense of a more traditional, inviting living room. Just make sure there’s still plenty of space to move around if you do so. 

Create Distinct Zones

Making the most of the space in a living room can be a challenge, especially with a narrow living room layout, but a surefire way to do so is by creating distinct zones. Generally, you’ll find the main sofa and TV centered in the room in one way or another, but use the space on either side of the sofa to create areas for different things. 

A small coffee table with some stools makes for a good conversation corner, while a comfy chair and a nice floor lamp can create a good nook for some casual reading. You can also use rugs to help distinguish areas. 

Living room design with zones
Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels

Quick Tip – Consider the purpose of the room: Some of these tips are better suited to social homes, while others might suit a more solitary existence better. Think about what your living room is for.

Make Use of Your Corners

When learning how to arrange furniture in a rectangular living room, you need to focus on your corners. Similar to the tip about creating zones, this tip is about making the most of the space that you have at your disposal. In larger or square living rooms, the corners are usually reserved for floor lamps and plants, but with a rectangular living room design, it will feel more rewarding to place seats, desks, coffee tables, and other functional pieces of furniture and decor in your corners for added use in the room. 

Use Your Vertical Space

The narrowness of rectangular living room design means that you might not have quite as much floor space as you might like, but it also provides the potential for you to make the most of your vertical space. 

Including decorative elements, such as cozy nick nacks, trinkets, or family photos on shelving units along the walls is a great way to use your vertical space effectively, splitting up the elements in your eye-line. A nice, healthily-filled bookshelf is also useful for incorporating this tip, especially if you plan on using that reading nook!

rectangular living room design with high ceiline
Photo by Tile Merchant Ireland from Unsplash

Quick Tip – Comfort over style: Everyone wants a stylish living room, but put yourself and your comfort first. Your house isn’t a showroom, it’s your home and it should be treated as such.

Plan for Traffic

Whether enjoying your living room with your family, housemates, or guests, you should plan your room around the foot traffic that it will experience. Similar to our tip about pulling your furniture away from the walls, you need to consider how people will be able to move through the room, especially during social functions. This is especially important if the living room leads outside, with glass doors leading onto a patio or deck, as you want people to be able to get out for some fresh air with ease. 

Use Rounded Furniture

A rectangle living room layout can make everything feel a little bit too straight and horizontal, but a good way to combat this is by incorporating furniture and decor pieces with round edges. 

With rounded tables, chairs, and even sofa units you can make your living room feel more inviting, softening the abundance of straight, harsh edges that come with a rectangular living space. Similarly, round and circular light features, such as table and floor lamps will help to create the same effect in a more decorative way, as round mirrors will, and artwork on the walls.

rectangular living room design with round furniture
Photo by R Architecture from Unsplash

Use Space-Saving Furniture

While the rectangular shape of your living room doesn’t always mean that you’ll have less space, it’s often the case, which is why we recommend using some smart, space-saving furniture

Items like disguised storage bins in chairs and coffee tables are a great place to start for this, as they can hold things like blankets if a friend has to crash on the couch. Similarly, corner shelves are a great way to load your living room with decor, without taking up too much of the valuable floor space. Make the most of the space and shape of your living room.  

What Now

Hopefully, with these creative hacks, you can now feel confident approaching the layout and decor of your rectangular living room! Remember that opening yourself up to the possibilities that new and unfamiliar room shapes bring is a great way to grow as an interior designer, along with giving you opportunities to infuse flair and expressionism into a space. When it comes to designing your living room, you can think outside of the box, there’s no need to be square!

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