When it comes to the home, there are no rules to size and shape. Period buildings are often modernised leaving large alcoves, sloping ceilings or knocked-through fireplaces, and even new builds will house unusual room shapes to maximise the room's footprint from the space available.
Forget about stressing over the element of your room that makes it difficult to decorate. Embrace it, we say! We show you how to work with even the most awkward of shapes, to create a living room that anyone can kick back and relax in.
A narrow room can often leave its residents stumped for furniture ideas. Long and thin spaces are notoriously difficult to plan and decorate, being far too easy to turn into a corridor-like space.
- Aim to keep base colours pale as this will accentuate sunlight and open up a room.
- Make sure to paint all four walls in a uniform shade to draw attention away from the room shape.
- Avoid creating too much clutter at the room ends but don’t feel the need to keep them clear. By hanging pictures or a shelf on the narrow wall, you’ll draw the eye upward and create a sense of space.
- Sofas and furniture tend to look better when backing on to the longest surface. Try to invest in sleek, slimline designs that blend into the walls.
- Soften a narrow room’s angular look with a circular glass table, and add a large high-pile rug in a warm shade to add depth.
A regular feature in Victorian terraced homes is a front door that leads into a large living and/or dining space, and this can be a tricky one to work with. Maintaining privacy is key to getting this space right, yet your comfort and lifestyle doesn’t have to suffer.
- Paint walls in a dark shade to create a comforting and cocooning space. Dark colours mean that less focus is on you and your belongings, as you will blend into the background (as opposed to stark white or pale backdrops). Deep navy, charcoal, soft black or chocolate work well.
- Position your sofa so that it creates a corridor. Place it in a way that a focused living area is to its front, whilst behind the space behind effectively becomes a hallway to lead people into your home.
- Zone your living area with an oversized rug. Opt for a statement print, lower pile design to emphasise your space.
- If your dining table and chairs are in the same room, save space by investing in multi-use chairs. A statement design can be accessorised with cushions and placed adjacent to your sofa for the majority of the time, but moved around an extending or table that has been moved from against the wall when you have company.
A compact space
Small living rooms can feel like the hardest work of the bunch, with many people following safer design rules and feeling stuck in an interior rut.
- Add big character to a small space by making your essential items work the hardest. Flaunt intricate details and interesting design in your choice of lighting, cushions and vases, and invest in stunning filament light bulbs to make the little things count.
- Make it easy to have company, without having to sacrifice on everyday space by opting for clever pieces of furniture like nests of tables and collapsible chairs that can be stored under a sofa.
- Make your furniture multi-task. A low storage unit can be made into additional seating by simply adding comfy pillows and throws on top.
- Add some fun to a neutral colour palette by introducing an occasional pop of contrasting colour with statement pieces.
- Think outside of the box. If space is really limited and there is only one part of your room that can house your sofa, pull up a stylish table for meals or work, and push it against the wall when it’s time to get snug.
If your home has a large fireplace, then you’ll be familiar with an awkward alcove. They’re actually a brilliant focal point to a room, so if you’re unable to create custom shelving due to lack of space, depth or would rather do something different, read on.
- Place oversized, framed artwork in the centre of each alcove to create a grand statement that will command attention.
- Place side tables in each alcove for extra storage and add hanging planters, pictures or a single shelf in the upper third space above for a stylish look that utilises all your space.
- Avoid the matchy-matchy look by placing a tall bookcase in the right alcove, and a large oversized plant or armchair and standing light in the other.
- Add striking wallpaper in each alcove for a quirky look.
Low or sloping ceilings
Another trait of a period buildings is low and sloping ceilings but these can be embraced to add some serious character to your home. Be wary of trying to fit in standard height products and leaving gaps which will shorten your space.
- Paint your walls and ceilings in one colour to create the illusion of height and open up your room.
- Stick to blinds rather than curtains, to emphasise light.
- Rather than try to follow the shape of a sloping ceiling, find one height in the upper third and use this to add straight shelving or a row of framed pictures. It will create a sense of structure and counteract curved shapes.
- Keep your designs simple, light friendly and textural. Glass, metal and gloss are great reflectors.
- Stay away from oversized, but don’t be scared to experiment. Keep statements simpler and look for interest with table lights or cushions.
Open plan living with multiple passing points
If you have people constantly walking through your open plan space and it’s constantly being used for multiple purposes, zoning each area is absolutely key in order to get some relaxation time.
- Use wall paint to create a new area. A neutral base tone can look great with a mint blue or soft peach wall reading corner.
- Rugs are your best friend. A large, low pile design placed underneath a coffee table and sofa will instantly create a focused TV or living area.
- Use shelving and storage to separate. A large storage unit or multiple tall bookcases can act as room dividers.
*Prices correct at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
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