brotha_mo

need help with a small rectangular living room.

Brotha Mo
5 years ago
last modified: 5 years ago

For the last month and a half I have been searching online, reading magazines and spending time at friends and other family houses to get some living room design ideas and my brain is still empty with Ideas. For some reason I just cant happen to find any living room like the one im going to move into soon.

So far all of the tips, points and advises I got from all of my research are; Find a focal point or make a focal point. but so far all the photos ive seen on youtube and google are very dissapointing. They all have one thing in common, rich and luxurious huge rooms. It is ridiculous. how can these big sites and magazines expect to help people with small living rooms if all they have are photos of big luxurious living rooms. Can some one help me? I have tried looking for a focal point but couldnt. I was thinking maybe the window? but not sure...because i have a small rectangular living room with a walk way in it. It's just so hard...can someone help me? how can I arrange furniture or what kinds of furniture should I get for the room? here is the picture:

I am closing on this house on the 20th. I love the house. but How can I arrange it so it looks nice? see how the walk way is on the right of the living room. I was thinking about a regular sofa up against the window and a sofa chair on each end of the sofa. but still it seem to make the room look small? idk how can I make a focal point when it looks so small!? and rectangular? please help! thanks !

-Mo

Comments (64)

  • lizzie_grow
    5 years ago

    If you don't need two chairs, you could do sofa in front of window, chair facing in where they have the shelving unit & a credenza for your music system & storage on the wall where they have a tv. OR, you could do two chairs like you mentioned with a vertical piece next to the chair (on the wall where they have the tv). You could even do a corner vertical piece behind the chair on the far wall. I don't think you need anything on the walk-thru wall, except perhaps a very narrow table where you could put your keys, etc. as you enter the room. Maybe one with 1-2 small drawers in it to store the keys, etc. But VERY narrow, with art or mirror above, if you have a decent view out those beautiful windows. Keep furniture functional, and don't have too many small pieces. You could even probably fit a smallish sectional in the room on the window & tv wall, if you like them. Our DD has a small living room in a townhouse & they got a sectional & one chair & it's great in there. Good luck & please let us see what you end up doing!!

    Brotha Mo thanked lizzie_grow
  • bbstx
    5 years ago


    Foyer · More Info

    If you need a narrow console, the BluDot Strut console is only 11.5" wide. It comes in 5 colors.

  • oaktonmom
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    How about putting a sectional where the current sofa is and run the rest along the window wall. You could put a fireplace on the wall where the current tv is and even put a tv above the fireplace. On the wall opposite the window, you could have a console with a mirror above as was suggested. Having the mirror reflect the outside might make the room feel larger.

  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    @oaktonmom, @lizziegrow thats not bad. I was actually thinking of sectional but wasnt sure because sectionals measurement are so even on both sides so that means if I put a sectional where the current sofa is, it will stop half way of the window meaning lots of space at the end of the sofa and rest of window wall? I hope im making sense. btw what is "DD?" @bbstx the measurememt of the living room in the picture is 22x12. @amberm145 how do I do that? walkway diagonal?

  • k9arlene
    5 years ago

    Sectionals come in many different configurations. You could even put the longer side of the sectional on the window wall and the shorter side where the current sofa is. Don't forget, you'll also probably want an end table with lamp on one end of the sectional. Measure the size you would need to fit the space and I'm sure you'll find a sectional that works.

    Brotha Mo thanked k9arlene
  • Beverly Hills
    5 years ago

    Just my personal opinion but....I think the grey walls and black furniture make the room look cold and like a waiting room. Warming it up with color and texture would improve the boxy room a lot. Whole-wall mirrors are out now, but reflective surfaces that bounce the light are always sure to enlarge the room and add interest.

    Brotha Mo thanked Beverly Hills
  • Olychick
    5 years ago

    I have an electric wall fireplace that is only a couple of inches deep that might work for you. It adds a lot of atmosphere (I have it in the master bedroom) and has a heater option to blow warmed air if needed. I think something like that could look great on the wall opposite the windows.




    Brotha Mo thanked Olychick
  • aktillery9
    5 years ago

    I would start by choosing a larger rug you love. From there select a color for your window panels. I would put the sofa under the window and either a rectangular coffee table or ottoman in front. You could also use two square tables bunched together. I would add round side tables to both sides of the sofa and add lamps. Lighting helps immensely in smaller spaces. You could even change the flush mount light fixture with something more fun.

    After doing this, I would decide how much other seating you need. You could follow the photo posted by bmallon or you could use a chair on either side of the sofa (actually more in line with the coffee table.

    Adding some art will help finish the space. Believe me, you can do a lot with your room. Probably more than you had thought!

    Brotha Mo thanked aktillery9
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thanks @aktillery9, everyone including you have helped me a lot. but its like...it sound so good until i walk in it on the 20th with a empty space then i will be back to clueless again. lol but I am taking what everyone said into consideration and right now just drawing floor plans on Microsoft paint. does anyone know of any floor plan drawing sites where I can do my floor plan editing? @olychick, which fireplace do u have looking at the three pictures?

  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    What color furniture will go with the color wall? and what kind of window shade, blinds or curtains should I put on that window? I was thinking about using light blue curtains and light blue furniture?


  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    @bmallon, what kind of Couch is it that is up against that window in your picture?


  • aktillery9
    5 years ago

    homestyler.com is a great site to use and it is free. What colors do you like? What type of rugs do you like? I will be happy to find some things for you if you give me a sense of what you want the room to feel like. I had a small living room in my last home. Here is what I did. Do you like anything about it?


  • bbstx
    5 years ago

    Mo, DD=Dear Daughter. On the Garden Web side of Houzz, you will see lots of D_ as shorthand for a relative. DH=Dear Husband; DMIL=Dear Mother in Law. You get the picture. However, in the kitchen forum, you have to tell from context if DW is Dear Wife or dishwasher. HA!

    I'm assuming you are not using this room as your main gathering place, that it will function more as a formal living room. Is that correct?

    At 22x12, I'd be tempted to banish the walkway down one side. Here are some photos of narrow living rooms that may give you some inspiration.

    This photo doesn't show a path, but I could see using a similar set up in your space with the sofa backed up to the windows and a smaller coffee table so people could easily pass through:

    My Houzz: Pretty Meets Practical in a 1920s Walk-Up · More Info


    This one seems to have a path to the exterior door, but it was not set off to one side.

    Ambergate Street, extension and renovation · More Info


    San Anselmo · More Info

    There is nothing I like about this room, but it does show a path through the middle of the room:

    Chelsea house · More Info

  • aktillery9
    5 years ago

    I love this bloggers style so much! If you go to this site you will immediately see her reading room. Maybe you can gather some ideas from it?Small Room

  • l pinkmountain
    5 years ago

    I had a "pass through" tiny living room so I feel your pain. I agree that if you're looking for "cozy" then think about maybe getting a SMALL electric fireplace. But from experience I would caution focusing anything on the wall opposite the window, other than a very narrow table maybe for keys and mail and perhaps a mirror to reflect light. If you want to be relaxed, you want to enter the living room space and stay out of the hall space. Don't forget that you can group chairs or a fireplace or TV in a corner, like they did in one of those photos above. I have a tiny TV in the living room and I also have corner shelves, so I'd put the TV in the corner and put a small fireplace where they have the large TV and hang a homey photo above it. I have small narrow shelves that I got from IKEA and I can configure them a lot of different ways. I might put a small rocker or some type of tiny lounge chair o the other side of the fireplace and then maybe some swivel or small armless chairs under the window (or yes, a sectional) with a table and nice plant soaking up the light from that window and adding some life to the room!

  • Olychick
    5 years ago

    Brotha Mo, none of those are my exact fireplace - I think it's been discontinued, but it's a Dimplex brand, I believe. Mine is most similar to #3 but mine has some stainless trim along with the black face.

    If you're interested, I'd go to a local fireplace/wood stove store and see what they have available.

  • amberm145
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My comment about diagonal was similar to bbstx's examples of walk through living rooms. You don't need to keep the walls clear in order to get around the room. If traffic is primarily going from the bottom left corner to the top right corner, you can allow that traffic to go through the room on the diagonal rather than along the bottom wall, and then up the right wall.

    Or, if the doors in the back corner go to private spaces that you don't necessarily want to welcome the world to, having a less direct path helps coral people in the living room rather than directing them to the bedrooms.

    Oh, and sectionals are rarely equal sided. They are usually 2 equal pieces, and then when you put them together, one side ends up being significantly longer than the other. Because side A = length of A + depth of B, and side B = length of B. You just have to be sure to specify when you buy your sectional which side you want longer, because they're designed to only fit together in one way. (And as pointed out earlier, they do come in almost unlimited configurations, but the most common -ie cheapest- are 2 equal sized sofas.)

    Brotha Mo thanked amberm145
  • chijim
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I saw a room similar to yours on a show, they built floor to ceiling cabinets w/shelves w/sliding barn doors w/antiqued mirror glass along the long wall w/TV behind as the focal point.

    Brotha Mo thanked chijim
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    So far this is what I got. Let me know what ya think? please help edit and critique. i really want it to look relaxing. just like a place to sit and study, talk, a family room without the TV. <iframe scrolling="no" src="http://www.homestyler.com/designerro/b005ef4e-5b9b-4cbc-885b-9c104a2bf25a"; style="width: 800px; height: 600px; border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);"></iframe>



  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    5 years ago

    Mo, after seeing your rendition, I'm thinking a sectional is not so hot for your space. I'd rather see the room ignore the walkway and instead allow the traffic pattern to flow through the seating arrangement. So I'd put just a sofa in front of the big window with a coffee table in front and then a couple of club chairs across from it with a table and lamp in between. That should leave room to put a small fireplace on the TV wall if you wish.

    Or you could reverse that with the sofa and coffee table on the long wall facing the window and the 2 club chairs and table in front of the window. This will give you an opportunity to put a large piece of art on the wall above the sofa.

  • oaktonmom
    5 years ago

    The link isn't working for me.

  • aktillery9
    5 years ago

    I think Annie has hit the nail on the head!!


  • cawaps
    5 years ago

    No suggestions, just empathy. My dining room is a lot like your living room--the left side is the traffic thoroughfare to from the living room to all the rest of the house. I have bookshelves on that side (one of the doors is offset by a foot or so), but that's it. My seating in my living room is all at one end, because the room loses a big corner to the traffic from the front door to the dining room. It is what it is, and you work around it.

    Brotha Mo thanked cawaps
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    This is the second sample, let me know what you think. Is this what you were talking about @annie? and @oaktonmom, try to see if this link works for the sample 2 room. its the link they gave me so hopefully it works.

  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    this is the entry way from the kitchen to the living room as of right now.

  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

  • oaktonmom
    5 years ago

    Either floor plan would work. It depends on what type of seating is more comfortable for you. I think Annie's suggestion was to put a sofa on the wall opposite the window and two chairs in front of the windows (or visa versa) and eliminate a walkway altogether so that you're utilizing the the entire space as a sitting room.

    Brotha Mo thanked oaktonmom
  • amberm145
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I kinda like the second one. But move the chairs and rug further away from the window. So there isn't a dedicated walkway. You would still have room to walk between the chairs and the tv/fireplace, you just have to meander a bit rather than having a direct straight line. But the benefit is that the furniture doesn't feel squished against the window. And you can walk between the chair and couch if you need/want.

    Brotha Mo thanked amberm145
  • Beth Mallon
    5 years ago

    I think that window is begging for a sofa to be underneath it! To make room more inviting and functional, I highly recommend keeping pathway clear and have furniture open to the walk way. No sofa perpendicular the window like it is now, but a chair would work. that way is inviting to sit down and cozy up to a book and a cup of tea! The wall opposite the window and sofa could have cool piece of art that speaks to you. That way you see it upon entering and while your reading/visiting!

    Brotha Mo thanked Beth Mallon
  • lizzie_grow
    5 years ago

    After seeing both mock-ups, I actually like #2 best....balances the room better, in my opinion. I so sympathize as we have an awkward living room in which to arrange furniture & I have had furniture arranged every way it could possibly be. You have a very pretty home, btw!!

    Brotha Mo thanked lizzie_grow
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago
  • k9arlene
    5 years ago

    Yes, but move the chairs closer together with a table and lamp between them and put a narrow rectangular coffee table in front of the sofa. I don't see a problem having to walk through the room to get to the bedrooms. Actually, how often do guests go back there anyway? My family room is large, but we still have to walk through the middle of the room to get to the kitchen and dining room.

    Brotha Mo thanked k9arlene
  • k9arlene
    5 years ago

    I was commenting on the one 2 posts up, not the one right above. I'm on a different computer so my screen name is different.

    Brotha Mo thanked k9arlene
  • Beth Mallon
    5 years ago

    Yes! That is the layout i like. Two chairs flanking sofa. I would make sure to have an ottoman where you and your family could put feet up and relax. The other layout honestly could be a good option too, just not my preference. It really comes down to what you prefer and what makes you happy!

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    5 years ago

    I think either of the latest 2 can work, but if you do it with the chairs on one wall and the sofa opposite wall, it will help make the room look less long and narrow. The seating arrangement will help define more of a square space. But the 2 chairs should be close together and share a small table, similar to the seating arrangement below.


    Traditional Living Room · More Info

    Brotha Mo thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    oh I see what your saying @annie. Thank you that really does look nice too. I was telling my wife today about Ideas and i thought you know what, maybe I have to start with probably one piece of furniture first and take it easy from there because I keep wanting to buy a whole set of furniture and get everything on the first day because some things are cheaper when you buy in a group. but yea...love that idea as well. thank you.


  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    @Annie, I took a little more time on this sample so let me know what ya think?


    http://www.homestyler.com/designprofile/e7f5ebb1-0a7f-45b1-9e56-effa6e9eeae1

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    5 years ago

    The last one is ok...only I think the love seat and the club chair overwhelm the space and the loveseat is a blocker for entering the space. Since you still want to have traffic flow through the room, I don't think the love seat works there. Go with 2 smaller scale club chairs and I think that could work. Scale of the furniture is going to be really critical in a room like this. The stuff in the furniture stores today is so large, that it can take over a space once you get it in a real home.


    Brotha Mo thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago
  • bbstx
    5 years ago

    Good idea, Mo, to collect your furniture rather than buy it all at once. Collecting allows you to purchase interesting pieces as you find them. I know there are folks on this thread who know much more than I do. I am hopeful they will chime in on acquiring furniture.

    I think to start, you need a plan.. It may be a rough plan, but a plan, nevertheless. Then as you see pieces that interest you, you will know if you need it, where it will most likely go, and if the scale will fit with your room.

    Brotha Mo thanked bbstx
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    5 years ago

    If I went with arrangement #6, I'd use a smaller table between the 2 chairs and pull them closer, and move the coffee table closer to the sofa. This way everyone would have a place to put their drinks.

    You could also reverse that same arrangement with the sofa in front of the windows and the club chairs on the opposite wall, again closer together...maybe think about a round table in between.

    I think what's really significant is how many ways you can arrange a relatively small space and still have it work well. There are any number of arrangements that you've come up with that would all work to make an attractive and useful room.

    Brotha Mo thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    heres another sample, I really this one but I feel like there might be too much furniture? let me know. thanks ya!

    http://www.homestyler.com/designprofile/251ab2d8-32cc-4a0c-a273-ee33f1fa79d2

  • Brotha Mo
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    look in 3d mode. click on 3d mode on the bottom i believe.


  • Annie Deighnaugh
    5 years ago

    I like it...can't see it in 3d, but I think it's a nice plan to work toward. I wouldn't buy all the furniture at once, but add a few pieces at a time and see how it goes...or move some existing furniture into the room temporarily and get an idea of how it might work.

  • bbstx
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    When you start looking for furniture for your living room, you might look for apartment-size sofas. Here is an overview of some.

    Like your new lay-out (#7), but like Annie, I can't get the 3D to work.

  • Karenseb
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm late to the game and I use Homestyler too. What fun the snapshots are! (especially the 360 panorama) You have some nice arrangements. I would probably skip the fireplace and put a chair there and in the future you could put a TV on the wall with a credenza (where the 2 small chairs are). If you skip the fireplace and do shallow storage across that wall, you might be able to keep a chair in front of the storage shelves.

    If you want to keep the fireplace, I would move it down toward the door more and put a plant in the corner or maybe some storage. I would skip a chair in front of the fireplace. (Why block it?) I would definitely use smaller scale furniture, maybe even with legs so you get a more open feel.

    http://www.homestyler.com/designer/251ab2d8-32cc-4a0c-a273-ee33f1fa79d2

    You should be able to view this in 3D if your are signed up for Homestyler by copying the layout and opening it when you are signed in. Maybe you don't have to sign up??