A living room should be perfection, right? We’re talking about the gathering place, where you’ll catch the big game, unwrap gifts, nap on Sunday afternoons and Netflix & Chill®.

But not all living rooms are easy to arrange and decorate. Are you wondering how to arrange furniture in an awkward living room? Maybe you live in a tight apartment in the city, which is awesome — but challenging. Or maybe you live in an older home that features unique spaces and angles. Or maybe you downsized to a smaller house … And now you’re furniture-bought-for-a-larger-home just isn’t working.

No matter what your situation, there are always solutions to be discovered. Here’s a look at ideas you can try when wondering how to arrange furniture in an awkward living room.

You may not think that all of the scenarios below are necessarily “awkward.” But these all represent arranging and decorating challenges I’ve faced in the past. So take to heart the ones that are relevant to you, and skip over the rest.



Ah, columns. So necessary, but also such a pain. But don’t let your columns force you into fits. The key here is to keep your column from feeling lonely. That is, make sure it’s not standing all by itself.

Instead, use your column as an anchor for a longer piece of furniture, a couch or a long table or even a cube bookcase (with beautiful coffee table books and pictures inside). The column will look and feel like a part of the furniture.

If you have two columns, even better. Try to find a longer piece of furniture that fits perfectly in between the two. If you can accomplish that, your columns will create a window effect into your living room.


Angled Walls

Yikes, these are such a pain. Apartments often have strange corners and angles, and many homes feature angled fireplaces, too. There are four different ways to address the angle:

  1. Minimize the Angle: Always decide what the focal point of your living room will be. It may be the television, it may be a large window, and it may even be an angled fireplace. You can minimize an angle by building off a different focal point. Perhaps squaring your furniture around the television or large window will prevent the angle from being a distraction.
  2. Leverage the Angle: You can also make the angle your focal point. Do this by squaring your furniture to the angled fireplace or even to an angled wall.
  3. Embellish the Angle: Add a television or nice piece of art to the angle, either above the mantle for a fireplace or a wall-mount HDTV for just a wall. You’ll find that embellishing the angle enhances the impact of the leverage approach.
  4. Ignore the Angle: Some apartments include long walls and weird angles, and you can often just ignore the angle. Do so by using a long couch to break off a portion of the living room, which will make the angle feel like it’s in another room altogether. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s one that will work in some apartment settings.


Small Footprints

OK, so you’ve moved from a house with a large living room into a house with a small living room. You may have to get rid of some items to make this work. But, once you do, you can definitely make a small living room feel comfortable and spacious.

Any living room should include furniture that’s proportional to the space. That is, in a small living room, you can’t fill it with overstuffed sofas and chairs. Keep that in mind as you’re reading my recommendations below.

OK, so, if you’re starting from scratch, I would recommend using a love seat instead of a sofa. This will save you valuable space and free up more room for other items. I know: It’s hard to take a nap on a love seat. Well, I’m sorry, that’s one sacrifice that you can make when you’re working with a small living room. In addition to the love seat, see if you can find a pair of comfortable armchairs. It’s often hard to find small armchairs that are also comfortable, but put in the time and effort to get the right stuff. Trust me when I tell you: Comfortable and small arm chairs are out there, if you spend enough time looking. Click on the picture to see a great (and comfortable) option that won’t take up too much space.

You can also invest in nicer dining or breakfast room chairs that you can bring into the living room if and when needed. Add mirrors and/or wallpaper to give a small living room some depth, and try to find furniture that doubles as storage — perhaps a cocktail ottoman that opens.

Let me just say that a storage ottoman is such a clutch addition to your living room. The cocktail ottoman option you see here is large and comfortable, ready for you to put your feet up on it. But it’s also spacious. Tuck a throw blanket inside, or store toys for kids — if you have them. Find a solid storage ottoman, and you’ll notice that your small living starts to expand.


Excessive Windows and Doors

Some living rooms simple have too many features — the walls are so crowded with windows, doors and fireplaces that it’s nearly impossible to place furniture along them.

If this is your situation, it’s time to focus on the center of your space. Invest in a nice area rug and coffee table, and flank both sides of the rug with sofas. Or, use one sofa and a pair of chairs to complement (with a small table between the chairs). You’ll have a lovely seating area and one that doesn’t compete with the doors, windows, fireplaces, etc.


Long and Narrows

If you have a long and narrow living room, you need to use your pieces to split it into chunks. Start with the end of the living room that has the focal point — a window, a fireplace, a television, built-ins, etc. Place a sofa perpendicular to a wall to essentially cordon off a smaller living room. Behind the sofa, place a table or cube bookcase to strengthen the line you’ve created.

It’s so tempting to look at a long-and-narrow living room and try to think of ways to fill the entire space. The key here is to think of a long-and-narrow living room as two spaces. Use the sofa and table (or bookcase) to divide the living room into two spaces, and you’ll have a much easier time arranging and decorating.


High Ceilings

This is your change to go big with your furniture. You always want your pieces to feel proportional to the size of the room, so you’re going to need to find taller, larger pieces — or else the room’s ratio will feel “off.”

Start with a comfortable seating area that includes overstuffed chairs and sofas. Fill the air space with décor that delivers height, like a tower bookcase or an arc lamp.

Is your high-ceiling living room also long? If so, create a small seating area at one end and then add a large dining room table at the other. This helps combine the two things that people love to do in a home — visit and eat.


Final Thoughts on How to Arrange Furniture in an Awkward Living Room

The hard part with any awkward living room is getting your existing pieces to work. So many times awkward spaces demand unique solutions. Start by looking at what you have that does work. And then identify just a few additional pieces that will make the whole room work.

I’m sure there are awkward living room types that I haven’t covered. If so, let us know in the comments section below, or you can always get in touch through our contact page.