Room Arrangements for Awkward Spaces | Midwest Living

Room Arrangements for Awkward Spaces

Using smart floor planning to tame spaces in your home that seem too narrow, too boxy, too cramped or just plain awkward.


+ enlarge
+ enlarge

Too Square

The Problems

All walls are created equal in the square room, which means there's no narrow space that naturally pulls seating pieces together. The temptation is to scatter furniture helter-skelter, filling every corner with seating. The result looks fragmented and unformed; worse, the arrangement doesn't work well when it's time to talk.

The Solutions

Create a smaller square for conversation within the larger dimensions of the room. Instead of starting out by the walls, start in the center of the room and work outward with your major pieces of furniture. Ground the grouping with an area rug, and fill it out with adequate lighting. For details, scroll down below the plan.

1. Lay down an area rug first, to define your conversation space. 2. Don't point all your seating pieces at a single focal point, such as the fireplace, to the detriment of another practical view, such as the TV. An L-shape seating arrangement accommodates warming up to the fire and catching the game on the tube. 3. Don't leave your arrangement open-ended. Station a chair, ottoman, and end table in the corner, facing into the grouping. 4. Place an end table between the sofa and love seat, with a lamp that illuminates both; and include a sofa table behind the sofa with another lamp for lighting the far end of the sofa. 5. The well-furnished room needs attention in the corners, even though these don't participate in the main conversation grouping. Place two chairs between a small, shared side table in the vacant corner of the room. This provides a quiet spot for private conversation, even when the TV is on. 6. A narrow bookcase, sideboard, or console table fills a corner with display space without getting in the way of traffic.

See Midwest Living's tips for decorating small living rooms


Comments (1)

dkdabillo1 wrote:
We have an awkward L shape livingroom that I am confused by how to arrange it. When you walk in the front door, you are immediately faced with a built in curio type cabinet, but that is a supporting wall, so it has to stay. Turn slightly to the left is the main room, on the left a huge picture window that takes up the entire wall. Then at the corner there is about a 6' empty wall berofe an 8' wide marble fireplace, then another 6' space. on the next wall, aprox. 6' before a wide doorway to kitchen, after the doorway begins the leg of the L, an area aprox. 20x20. We have a buffet and piano in there now, but it looks awkward. For furniture we have a couch, loveseat and recliner as well as 1 lamp table and a coffee table. We recently moved the 50" TV to the wall before the kitchen as it was hard for people on one side of room to see it. Any suggestions?

Add Your Comment