How To Layout Furniture in Your Narrow Living Room (Or Around a Fireplace!)

I posted on my Instagram last week about how questions about living room layouts is the number one thing people reach out to me about! And for good reason too- some living rooms are SO tough to design around! I love the challenge though, it’s like trying to solve a puzzle!

I’m definitely still learning, but this is something that has become so much easier for me. I wanted to put this post together with my top tips and ideas to hopefully make you feel a little more confident should you ever need to furnish an awkwardly shaped space!

my parent’s living room after I modified their furniture layout!

my parent’s living room after I modified their furniture layout!

Layout 1 : LONG + NARROW

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I put this layout together with my parent’s living room in mind. So many people are quick to place their furniture against a wall or in the corner of a room, but that’s not always the best arrangement. In a room like this, floating a sofa in the middle of the room with two chairs and a round coffee table actually made the room feel larger. They previously had a sectional pushed into a corner, which resulted in a ton of unused space. By bringing the furniture out, it makes the room feel more welcoming. When putting furniture in the middle of a room, you definitely want to make sure you ground it with an appropriately sized area rug.

Layout 2 : CORNER FIREPLACE

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This layout isn’t based on a real room, but I know this configuration is pretty common. I think in this scenario, people get confused about how they should treat the corner fireplace (Does their TV need to be mounted above it? Do they need to angle their furniture? Etc). I would personally never advise anyone to angle their furniture toward the fireplace. I would definitely face the sofa towards it, but keep it straight. If possible, utilize the wall next to the fireplace and put a nice media console for your TV. In this particular layout, the room is pretty big and there was empty space between the couch and the entry to the room. I’ve seen a ton of spaces where this area would be completely open and open to the kitchen. In that case, I would put a dining table here. But if it were more of a closed off space, I think a chaise would be a great use of space! You could create a cozy reading nook type space by placing a bookcase across from it. This also could be a fun area to use a faux cowhide rug. The irregular shape of them is perfect in a spot like this.

Layout 3 : NARROW WITH LARGE WINDOWS

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This layout should look familiar because it’s mine! When we first walked through our home (before buying), the previous owners had their couch back against the stairs with their TV on the same wall that we have it. I’m not sure if that was how they always had it, or if they had already started moving out… but it made NO sense. There was way too much space between the sofa and the TV and the room was not being utilized in the best way. Not to mention that to walk through to the dining room, you would have to walk directly in front of someone watching TV (traffic flow is SUPER important). I knew right away that we’d have to put our sectional with part of it going against the window. I was able to create the feel of an entry “hallway” by putting a long, skinny console table behind our sofa. Since we don’t have room for an end table, the console also comes in handy for placing drinks and food. By angling my beloved peacock chaise toward the sofa, I was able to define the area even more and make it that much more cozy! Round/ oval coffee tables are great for smaller or awkwardly shaped rooms because it’s easier to walk around them.

Layout 4 & 5 : NARROW WITH FRENCH DOORS & FIREPLACE

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This is actually a layout that someone messaged me on Instagram about. They’re moving into a new place that has the PRETTIEST living room - complete with a fireplace, two sets of french doors, and a gorgeous bay window! However, all of these elements has also created some serious confusion about the furniture placement. The room is only 11 feet wide, so making sure to leave enough space for traffic flow is definitely a challenge. Another thing to keep in mind with this room is that the french doors open into the room- so leaving enough space to keep those functional is also important. For a homeowner here, I would definitely recommend looking into the possibility of turning these into pocket doors.
For my first layout idea, I would do either a two seat sofa or a small three seat option going across the room with two chairs across from it. A console table behind the sofa would fill some of the empty space and would be a great spot for a table lamp & a couple of stools hidden underneath for extra seating. A tall bookshelf on the left side of the fireplace would balance out the height of the window on the other side.
My second idea is the same basic layout as the first, but with a small chaise sofa. I also angled the chairs and put an ottoman in front of one. Instead of a console table, I put a small bench in front of the bay window. This would be a great spot to put some gorgeous throw pillows! The two light orange circles to the left of the fireplace is supposed to represent an arching floor lamp. I always love how these types of lamps help to define an area. A narrow console table might work on the wall across from the fireplace, but that is something I’d definitely wait to get until after the sofa and chairs are there. The last thing you want to do in a small space is try and pack in too much furniture and create obstructions in the flow of traffic.

my living room

my living room

Hopefully these different layout guides have helped you think about spaces a little differently! And if I didn’t address an issue you’re having - please feel free to reach out to me! I always love helping whenever I can! I also created a “quick tips” sheet that you can PIN and reference later if needed!

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