My mother’s house has a living room. It is a long rectangle of a room with furniture jammed up against the walls and basically a bowling alley down the middle of the room.
You know what it’s used for?
Storing people’s coats when they have their annual holiday party.
There’s a piano in there. There’s a computer desk in there. There’s an old hutch that once was in the “sunroom” and two odd chairs.
It’s the weirdest room!
I have a living room in my house, too.
Well. I should explain.
When we bought our house there was a dining room to the left of the front door as you walk in and a living room to the left, very similar to my mother’s long, rectangle living room, actually.
It also had furniture shoved up against the walls when we first saw it at the Open House. Except this house had like five couches placed against the walls all around the room.
It was also the weirdest room!
I’ve since changed the whole house around and the dining room is now a living room (but it’s not long and narrow anymore, it’s boxy and cozy) and the dining room is in the family room and the original family room is now two rooms. A comfy family room and a perfectly tiny office for me.
So I don’t have to contend with the long rectangle bowling alley room anymore.
I’m trying so hard to not use the old “Is your sofa under arrest? Then why is it up against the wall?” joke that all home decor people from the 90’s used, but it’s exactly what makes those long rectangle rooms weird!
I don’t have to contend with the long narrow living room dilemma, but I know there are tons of people that still do.
This is how I would tackle it if I still had it. Try it and see if you can start using that room for more than just storing other people’s coats for 5-6 hours for one night every December.
If you’ve got a long narrow, room, you have no choice but to break it into some zones. Unless you actually want a bowling alley in your house, in which case, what are you doing here? Get back on Pinterest and find a DIY bowling alley post.
Think about your living room. Imagine the perfect best case scenario. How do you imagine yourself using your living room?
Here. I’ll go first (I’m pretending I still have a long narrow living room).
In the morning I walk through the living room on my way to the kitchen and notice how the sun is streaming in the window right onto the cozy chair that is one of a pair that sits a few feet in front of the front window. There’s a table between the chairs so it’s the perfect spot to sit and sip my coffee while I wait for the house to wake up.
Later that morning, I come in from the mailbox with the bills and bring it to my desk that sits in the back third of the living room. It floats in the room, and faces that set of chairs at the front of the room so that I have a view of the room and the window when I sit and do my household paperwork.
There’s a desk lamp so I can sit quietly with good lighting and not disturb anyone who might be in the room watching tv.
The TV is in the middle third of the room, over the fireplace. Opposite it is a comfy couch. It is shoved up against the wall, but there’s a chunky coffee table in front of it and a cozy rug on the floor beneath.
The family sits on that couch and watches tv at night. You can sit in one of the chairs at the windows and have a great view of the TV, too and there’s a comfy ottoman there so whoever doesn’t get a “couch” spot, still has a great spot.
If one of us isn’t really into TV that night, we can still be together as a family while the no TV watcher reads a book in one of those chairs.
Can you picture that long narrow living room in your mind?
Can you do that with your own long narrow living room? I think you can.
The more you think about how you intend to LIVE in the rooms of your home, the easier it is to decide what you need for them.