Narrow rooms can be tough to design. You want the space to look nice, but you also want it to be functional. Taking up too much floor space can make moving around the room impossible. The walls may be close, but no one wants it to feel like they are closing in. So how do you create a room that is open and wide, in a narrow space? We've consulted design experts to get the best layout techniques for your space.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
In addition to finding the right layout, there are many decorating tricks to make narrow rooms seem bigger. Here are just a few to get started:
- Use tall curtains that hang from the ceiling, which will draw attention to the ceiling's height.
- Incorporate mirrors, a great way to add light.
- Avoid clutter by installing good storage options within your layout.
- Use light colors with pops of brightness carefully.
Below, we've compiled a list of 13 example living room layouts with arrangement tips to show you all the ways you can design a beautiful space in a narrow room. You'll see some of the aforementioned decor tips in action as we discuss how to transfer these ideas into your home and show you how the result may look. Please, read ahead to be inspired!
1. Pick The Right Furniture
The long shelf in this layout offers plenty of space for knickknacks and other decorations. Pinstripe furniture also helps to elongate the space, drawing the eye up rather than focusing on the room's length. Using nested coffee tables is another efficient use of space. You can pull them apart when you need more table area and nest them together whenever you want to reduce clutter.
2. Keep It Sparse
The decor here is very light and minimal, which can be very appealing in a narrow room. Too much clutter would make the space overbearing and cramped. Instead, by keeping things sparse, the room is light and airy. Tall curtains installed near the ceiling help to elongate the height of the walls and ceiling. This makes the room seem bigger, with less focus on how narrow it is.
3. Use Good Storage
Talk about maximum storage! For such a narrow space, this room incorporates lots of great storage pieces that don't interfere with the rest of the floorplan. Slender cabinets are perfect for the clutter you want to conceal. Meanwhile, floating shelves are a great place to keep pieces you want on display.
4. Avoid Bulk
A small rug is a great way to add texture and interest to the room. The narrow, long sofa offers lots of seats but isn't big and bulky. Extra points for picking furniture without arms, which keeps the piece more open and accessible. The light coffee table with narrow legs offers a table surface that isn't distracting - you barely notice it's there. And the narrow cabinets practically blend right into the wall but still make a terrific place for storage.
5. Keep Focus Low
The design for this room manages to do so much with so little. By picking furniture that is all relatively low to the ground, the empty space above the furniture seems very open and broad. As a result, the walls and ceiling look incredibly high, all thanks to careful optical illusions. Another part of the room's beauty is the dark wood floor. It draws the eye downward, establishing that the focus of the room is in the bottom half. This then makes the top half of the room seem to stretch on forever.
6. Emphasize Width
Rectangular panels on the far wall create a focal point and draw the eye toward noticing the room's width. If you're stuck with a narrow space, then emphasizing the width can be a useful way to make it appear bigger than it really is. The low glass table also encourages attention toward the far wall. It's complemented and balanced nicely by the area rug. This creates the feeling of depth toward the floor. As a result, the height of the walls is emphasized.
7. Add Depth With Contrast
Horizontal striping along the walls adds depth to the room. A busy, striped floor draws eyes, taking attention away from the large couch. The cabinets on the wall are also perfect - they practically blend in with the wall, but the dark sides add contrast and help them pop.
8. Keep Elements Balanced
There's a lot to see in this room, but it all manages to find a balance. A round drum light on the ceiling balances the fluffy, textured rug. The tall shelves create a focal point and also lengthen the wall. The wall with the TV has an interesting pattern but is subtle and white. Conversely, the only pops of color in the room come from the other wall. These elements harmonize well, creating a feeling of unity rather than chaos as they blend.
Need help finding a bookshelf, take a look at "15 IKEA Bookshelves You Can Choose From."
9. Make It Contemporary
For a contemporary style, a tall brick wall looks edgy and interesting. Slender, low furniture gives plenty of seating. The tall planter also adds to the height of the room and contributes a touch of color. This is a fun, modern, and simple look for a narrow room.
10. Accent One Wall
Everything here is set up to funnel the eye down to the far wall. Clearly, the wall is the point of interest in the room. The gilded trim and contrasting dark wooden frame are unusual and unique. The ottomans on either side of the coffee table are a nice way to add some extra seating. All in all, this would be a fantastic gathering space for a large group. Even if the room is a bit narrow, it's certainly functional enough to accommodate a small crowd.
For more inspiring accent wall layouts, take a look at "13 Accent Wall Paint Color Combinations You Should Consider."
11. Use Fun Accents
This room is all about the accents. The long string of square lantern lights draws the eye up to the ceiling, making the wall's length seem expansive. Similarly, the tall vase and sticks are a small piece of decor that packs a big punch for making the ceiling and walls seem high. A wide, well-placed mirror is also a great way to make a room seem broader. It reflects light and opens the wall. The heightened contrast of the wall, with a white peak on top of a dark base, adds to the effect.
12. Add Warmth
Warm furniture and cozy wood patterns keep this plain room from looking austere or clinical. White is a great go-to color for a small space. It reflects light, brightens the room, and also keeps it from seeming cramped and crowded. However, it's easy to fall into plain, blah, hospital room design when using white. Counteract this effect with cozy furniture, green plants, and bright wood.
13. Don't Be Afraid of Color
In a narrow room, it's important to focus on a few elements. If the room is too busy, then it can quickly become too much. As a result, this creates a chaotic, disjointed feeling. This design does this well, by not being afraid to go very bold, but in very few doses. A bright green carpet certainly screams, "Notice me!" but since it's one of the only colors in the room, it seems modern and cheerful, not tacky.
Narrow rooms can be hard to decorate, but there are plenty of helpful tricks to create a functional and pleasing room. Avoid bulky and overpowering furniture. Creative furniture such as nesting tables or ottomans can add extra space that can be rearranged as needed. Use storage well to reduce clutter. Don't be afraid to use carefully picked colors, accents, and even an accent wall. And have fun decorating for your own personal style!