How To Decorate An L-Shaped Living Room

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The L-shaped living room is a common feature in homes all across the country, and if you have one, you already know that it can be a tricky room to decorate. However, there are actually many creative ways to turn your standard L-shaped living room into something expressive of your very own style. Best of all, we’ve done the research, looked to the design experts, and compiled a list of decorating ideas that might just make you grateful for this seemingly ordinary and odd-shaped room.

These are the best design strategies we discovered to turn an L-shaped living room into a comfortable, functional, and creative use of space:

  1. Paint colors
  2. Floor coverings
  3. Room dividers 
  4. Furniture

Each one of these 4 components creates a multitude of options for decorating your L-shaped living room. Once you explore these possibilities, you’re sure to find the design and arrangements to optimize your space and reflect your style.

So if you are ready to explore decorating ideas for an L-shaped room, keep reading! We’ll guide you through the basic concepts for this kind of layout and offer you suggestions based on your needs. You may even find an idea that will transform this common and sometimes awkward-shaped room into a unique and memorable feature in your home.

Interior of a modern living room with an L-shaped sofa, square chairs, and a nightstand with a large lampshade on top, How To Decorate An L-Shaped Living Room

L-Shaped Living Rooms

L-shaped living rooms came into fashion during the 1950s-1970s when builders began constructing new concept homes that were different and affordable. These compact home designs, often called split-level or raised-ranch homes, used the L-shaped room to accommodate a living room on one portion of the L and a dining area on the other.

And while this layout still works for most families–all homes need living and dining areas–it is a bit of a challenge to decorate. This odd-shaped room becomes even more challenging when it’s duplicated on a different level and a dining area is no longer necessary. The 4 suggestions below will address both scenarios and maybe even inspire an idea you haven’t considered before.

1. Paint

When thinking about decorating any room, the first, and perhaps the most influential element, is wall color. We know that various color combination can transform the feel and perception of any room. This is especially true for an L-shaped room where paint colors can unify, separate, or complement both portions of the L shape.

With an L-shaped room, some experts suggest you use the same color for the entire room, as it will create a uniform look. Others say a room of this shape is a perfect opportunity to paint an accent wall either a complementary or contrasting color. While distinctive, this method brings both sections of the room together and offers dimension and visual interest. 

An L-shaped room, by definition, has one shared wall for both portions of the room. This dominant wall is what designers recommend to use as the accent wall and should be painted in a slightly darker shade compared to the colors on the surrounding walls.

On the other hand, this technique can also work with a completely different contrasting color, though experts warn against choosing colors that clash.

What Colors Are Best For An L-shaped Room?

This is a great question, as homeowners may wonder how multiple colors work together in a room like this. As in all design choices, the right colors for your room are the ones that are most appealing to you. However, interior designers do offer suggestions and guidelines.

First, consider the colors of your furniture, textiles, and decor in the room. Does one color stand out to you or do you notice a theme among them? With this information, seek out colors that will complement your belongings.

Bold And Dramatic

If you are drawn to a bold or dramatic look, contrasting colors will be your best bet. Any deep or rich color–be it red, blue, yellow, or gray–painted on the dominant wall will contrast boldly with shades of white or similar neutral hues. Or if you want to really make the room pop, today’s popular color combinations are shades of navy and yellow, burnt orange and teal, and even black and white.

Open And Airy

If you are looking for an airy, open feel, you’ll want to lean toward the paler or light colors. Paint chip swatches are helpful here. Select a color you like and the color swatch will likely give you lighter variations of that color. Other complementary colors are soft green and light blue combinations, as well as shades of white, cream, and beige.

Nestled between these options are neutral colors; variations of beige, brown, or gray pair nicely with nearly any other color. Or if you decide on varying shades of a single neutral color, you can’t go wrong, either. And if you want to add a pop of color, you can rest assured it will go with your neutral palette.

Spacious modern living room with an open kitchen and living area with white painted ceilings

And finally, don’t dismiss the effect wallpaper can create–especially on the accent wall. Wallpaper sometimes gets a bad rap based on its difficult removal or busy patterns. But wallpaper has come a long way in application and removal, as well as in patterns that are artfully understated. You can even buy paintable, textured wallpaper to add dimension and depth to your rooms.

2. Rugs

Another great way to decorate L-shaped living rooms is to use a separate rug for each leg. This is a technique especially helpful when you’d like to define the 2 spaces into separate zones, such as a living room-dining room arrangement.

When considering floor coverings, you might be tempted to buy either identical rugs or, to reinforce the difference between rooms, purchase completely opposite styles of rugs. Interior designers do not advocate for either option; instead, they recommend to buy rugs that are coordinating either in colors, patterns, or textures. 

Remember, when arranging a rug, there are dos and don’ts. In a living room, the furniture should comfortably fit onto the entire rug or at least overlap the rug. You want to avoid centering your chairs and couches around the edges of the rug which will look awkward and out of proportion. The same idea applies in a dining setting; chairs should fit on or overlap with the carpet.

3. Divider

You may choose to divide your L-shaped room into 2 spaces using a divider. Typically, homeowners use the longer rectangle of the L-shape as the living area for conversation and TV watching, which leaves the shorter end of the room open for any kind of space your family may need.

Creating 2 semi-separate rooms without significant construction is really simpler than it initially seems. A traditional screen divider (or two) easily creates a second space as does a curtain if it can be hung from an unnoticeable rod. Bookshelves are an appealing option and, if you’re up to it, creating a half-wall to distinguish the spaces is a great option, too.

Click here to see this shelf on Amazon.com

Then, your next question might be, how should we use this new space? Designers offer many unique ideas: use it for an office, study, or a cozy reading corner; make it the playroom for toddlers and their toys, or transform it into a recreation room with either a pool table or a dining table which would be an ideal spot for games with family and friends. 

4. Furniture ideas

There’s no better way to decorate and maintain functionality than with furniture. However, when dealing with an L-shaped room, your standard pieces–sofas, coffee or side tables, TV, and shelving–are not always easily arranged. 

What’s The Best Furniture Arrangement In A L-Shaped Living Room?

The first objective, as designers suggest, is to decide whether to use the entire room as a whole or if you’d like to use it as 2 separate spaces. Your answer is fairly easy if a dining area is necessary, as a table and chairs will take one section of the L-shape and your living room furniture fills the other part. Using the room as a whole is more of a furniture-arrangement challenge.

The best arrangement always begins with a focal point: a fireplace, a large window, or, in most cases, the TV. Designers usually recommend using the largest rectangle portion of the L-shaped room for the main function of the room.

So if you intend to use the living room to relax with others and watch TV, your main furniture pieces will be placed in that portion of the room. The other arm of the L-shaped room is usually smaller and can be used for a reading nook, office area, or another useful room.

The reverse situation can work as well; if TV watching with others isn’t the main purpose of the room, use the larger portion of the L-shaped room for gathering and conversation, and leave the smaller portion for a small sofa and TV.

Specific Placement

As for the actual placement of specific furniture, position your sofa opposite the room’s focal point. Chairs can either face each other from opposing ends of the sofa or sit angled toward the focus of the room. Alternately you can place 2 sofas at a right angle, with at least one sofa opposite from the focal point.

A more conversational layout has 2 sofas facing each other, or 1 sofa opposite 2 chairs, in a parallel fashion, with the focal point perpendicular to the furniture. L-shaped sectional couches are ideal, as they provide maximum seating for both conversation and easy TV viewing. 

How Do You Put A L-Shaped Couch In A L-Shaped Living Room?

This will depend on the size and traffic flow of the room. However, the basic concept is the same as above, face at least one part of the L-couch opposite the focal point. Usually, the L-couch is tucked against the walls into a corner of the largest portion of an L-shaped room.

Click here to see this L-shaped couch on Amazon.

If the room is large enough, however, you can place the L-shaped couch in the middle of the room; just make sure there is ample space to walk around the couch and that access to the other side of the room isn’t blocked. 

In Closing

As you can see, there are plenty of options to stylishly decorate an L-shaped living room. Spend time choosing the right paint colors for your room, find complimentary rugs, think creatively about using some kind of room divider if you’d like one, make sure your furniture is arranged with a focal point, and always consider the flow and function of your room.

In this way, your L-shaped living room will never be a common or standard feature in your home, but a unique reflection of your living style. Before you go, check out these other articles that may be of interest:

11 Accent Wall Ideas For The Dining Room

23 Light Blue Living Room Ideas

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