How to Decorate a Long, Narrow Living Room
When moving into an apartment, townhouse or home that has a long, narrow living room, there are a few designer tricks you can put to good use to decorate the space.
House Beautiful recently did a feature on how a long, narrow living room was transformed. The before and after images showed a dramatic change that was achieved in the space, and since many people move into an apartment or townhouse that has pretty much the same layout, I decided to share the details and how you can decorate a long, narrow living room to suit your personal style and still make the best of the space.
Home for a family of 5, not much had been done to the inside of the property from moving in. With 3 young children, the homeowners wanted to leave any renovating and decorating until the children were a bit older and were out of the playing with toys in every room. When you have to consider small children in your decorating goals, things don't always go as planned!
The shape of the room was difficult to work with, being a long, narrow space that didn't have room for much furniture. The room was also lackluster and bland and it was hard to see how it could be transformed into a room that was multifunction and still be interesting and a place for the family to spend time together.
While the space was a bit boring, it did have a few features in its favour. The bay window lets in a lot of natural light and bathes the room in sunlight during the colder months of the year. For this reason, the shutters were kept in place, as these provide privacy and allow the amount of light flowing in to be controlled. The curved shape of the front window also helps to soften the sharp edges and angular lines that predominate in the room.
The built-in storage cupboards on either side of the fireplace provide plenty of storage for a family, so it was also decided that these would remain as is. And the same applied to the fireplace itself, and the design of which would tie in beautifully with the ideas to transform the room.
The first step in the transformation process was to put together a mood board. A mood board is simply a collection of images of furniture, furnishings, textiles, colours and more that are liked and would be used to decorate the living room. It's a way of putting ideas together without actually doing any of the work. A mood board lets you gather together your ideas and filter through until you decide on what will work.
Although nothing was removed in the existing room, repairs still needed to be done to rectify the old window frames, repair cracks in the ceiling, touch up the crown moulding and refinish the solid wood floor. If you are planning to renovate any room in your home, it's always better to see what can be repaired, not only from a cost point of view, but also being able to retain the original fixtures if you are renovating an older home. Some items simply cannot be replaced with the originals, and you end up with a poor substitute.
The layout for the room needed to incorporate plenty of storage for a large family, with enough seating for everyone to gather and catch up on the days events, but still look uncluttered and spacious.
Now the room works for the entire family and the kids love gathering at the far end of the room while mom taps away on the keyboard at the other end.
While the focus was on designing the living room, there also needed to be enough space to set up a home office, a priority that is becoming the norm for many. One end of the narrow room serves as family seating and the other as a home office.