When you're clicking through images of gorgeous rooms to gather inspiration for your home, does it sometimes seem as though the ideas will work only in large or pleasingly proportioned rooms? The truth is, when a room is well designed, we don’t notice when it’s awkwardly shaped. Here, three interior designers share their tips for dealing with a common type of awkward space — a long, narrow room.

Part 1


Maximize space with style. It is suggested making a feature of details that will maximize the feeling of space in a narrow room. Space-saving solutions such as small shelves instead of bedside tables, and hanging pendant lights instead of bulky bedside lights, can help make the most of the available space, and also assist by creating an interesting focal point.


Focus on lighting. In a long, thin living area, it is recommends putting seating areas near the main natural light source. “This will influence how you design the rest of the space and encourages a loose placement of other furniture. Position armchairs away from the wall, as this tricks the eye into believing the space is much wider.


Section it off. Break a long room into sections by cleverly placing furniture. Console tables are really useful when placed at the back of a sofa. And if possible, get some floor-mounted sockets, so lamps can be put on them to bring in subtle lighting and create a soft divide.” She also advises looking at the size of your furniture. You can buy slimmer sofas and other scaled-down pieces that will fit well in the space.


Take the textural route. Black suggests introducing plenty of texture into a thin room. Create layers and warmth that will allow your senses to be met with an arrangement of smooth, rough and shiny surfaces, instead of lonely corners. Use mirrors too, as these will help the space to feel wider. In a bedroom, Greenhalgh advises considering the position of the bed with care, as it will probably be the focal point. Placing a bed at the end of a narrow space, as seen in this room, plays up the room’s shape in a stylish way.


Open up. In a narrow bedroom, choose colors that make the space feel wider and brighter. It is important to be mindful of the space as a whole, ensuring one end doesn’t get neglected or feel darker than the other. Don’t be tempted to simply position your bed, desk and other furniture all down one wall, as you will only add emphasis to the long, narrow shape of the room. Expert also suggests using warm, light grays, off-whites and whites. These shades instantly create a brighter, more open space.


Distract the eye. Use neutral window treatments, as drawing attention to the boundaries at either end of the room only emphasizes its shape. Use pattern, texture and color on occasional chairs, cushions, lampshades and art and also carefully positioned wallpaper, all of which take the focus off the shape of the room and direct it on to the more interesting objects.


Find your focal point. One of the difficulties in decorating a narrow room is deciding where the focus of the space should be. If you are working with a builder, ask to create subtle room dividers. “Full-length narrow columns break up the room, giving a natural finishing point when using different wallpapers and paint colors.


Don’t be afraid of the dark. If the room is dark due to lack of windows. Go with it and embrace a dark color palette to make the space cozy, rather than trying to fight it.


Go round. Choosing accessories in shapes that go against the linear nature of a long room — such as circular forms — is another trick to visually widen a space. Avoid stripes, as these will only enhance the long, thin feel.


Avoid the “corridor effect.” Choose items that can be positioned to break up the feeling of a long, thin room, such as small coffee tables, side tables or armchairs. Break up the corridor effect by positioning pieces of furniture in clusters, instead of in a row. This tricks the eye into seeing a wider space. For example, pick different seating options and arrange them together, instead of having just one long sofa against the long wall,” she says. And don’t be afraid to use bold furnishings, fixtures and fittings, Black advises, noting that they will add visual interest.


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