Good Questions: Narrow Living Room...How to Decorate?

Good Questions: Narrow Living Room...How to Decorate?

Maxwell Ryan
Mar 5, 2007

Hello AT,

Our new apartment has a 30 foot long living room that does not get good light at all. We love dark wood furniture and already own a wonderful dark coffee table (the 'Congo' from Crate and Barrel) but really have no idea what to do with the rest of the room! Rectangle rug or round rug? Carpet tiles (we have a 11 month old and two cats) or shaggy area rug?...

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Is dark wood too much for a poorly lit room? We are allowed to paint and I'd love some thoughts about how to make the room look a bit lighter with paint. I love bold florals in rugs but am afraid of going overboard. Help please!!

Thanks, Clarissa

Dear Clarissa,

Don't worry. Your apartment looks lovely, and the living room area, though long, looks like it will make a very good living room. Here's what we would do:

1. If you landlord will allow it, refinish the floor (to shine it up) and stain it a darker brown to match your furniture.

2. Paint your main room a nice, warm, off-white, but give the long wall a rich warm accent color that will ultimately run behind your sofa. We see the track lights on the ceiling, and these will be great for lighting up that color and bouncing it into the room.

3. Orient your living room with sofa along long wall facing media stand and TV on other wall, with coffee table in center and two chair on the TV side facing back at the sofa.

4. Place a side table on either side of the sofa with a nice table lamp.

5. Rug? Yes! If the floor stay the same, go darker with the rug and if the floor go darker, go lighter with the rug (large rectangle). This will provide contrast and "pop" to all your pieces. Bold Florals? Go for it, but test it first to make sure you really like it, but placing a sample in the room.

6. Finally, make sure you have enough light down there. Three points for each room is the general rule, and you will have more with the track on the ceiling. Two lamps on either side of the sofa, and one over by an armchair or on the media stand.

Anyone else?

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