The Best Decorating Tips for Long or Narrow Rooms and Hallways

updated Oct 14, 2022
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(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

Does your home feature a long, narrow living room, kitchen, hallway, bedroom or some other space? There are some decorating tricks and tips that can really help balance out a long and narrow space and make your room feel more visually balanced (and more comfortable to be in). Try one or more of these tips today.

Long, narrow furniture

It’s not that you always have to match the shape or style of room you have when you’re looking for furniture. But long and/or narrow rooms in particular benefit from furniture that matches the space’s characteristics thanks to size constrictions but also just visually. Long low benches, sofas that aren’t too chunky and other small tables that have more length than width fit really well into long, narrow spaces.

Colors and pattern on the far end

If the fact that your room is very long is getting on your nerves, use warm, dark colors and busy patterns on the wall at the very far end of your room. This will help that wall feel like it’s closer than it is, lessening the feel that your room is very long. Anything over-sized like art or accessories will help trick the eye into thinking the far away wall is closer than it actually is, too.


When you don’t have a lot of width to play around with in a room, you might be tempted to place all your visually heavy furniture on one side. And in fact (especially if you’re working on the tip below), that might be your only real option for arranging furniture. But a narrow room can feel lopsided very quickly, so even if you’re placing most of your furniture on one side due to space limitations, try to make the room feel and look visually balanced by incorporating design elements on the other side to even out the look.

→ Designer Secrets to Great Rooms: It’s All About Balance

Pay attention to the traffic flow

When there’s not a lot of room to begin with, be sure to watch your traffic flow through the space carefully. Don’t let furniture stick out into the walkway. And make the walkway very obvious. Consider foregoing “expected” furniture like a coffee table if it’ll help getting around the room easier. Or go for multiple small tables and objects that can be moved around to improve the flow based on how the room is being used.

→ Learning to Go With the Flow (While Making Your Room a Nicer Place To Be)

Wall-mount when you don’t have room for furniture

Don’t forget that wall-mounting things like shelves and tables can help cut down on using floor space, which can make a narrow, small room more roomy.

Proper lighting

This is especially important if you’re applying the elements above to a hallway; you want to really properly light a narrow room or hallway not just so that it’s safe to travel through, but so that it doesn’t feel like a spooky space without clearly definable edges or boundaries. Lighting all the dark corners will actually make the space feel more cozy (and less like an never-ending hall of shadows).