Awkward Living Room Layout? Try These 16 Clever and Stylish Solutions

Kaitlyn Pacheco
Written by Kaitlyn Pacheco
Updated March 30, 2022
woman sitting on living room floor
Photo: Goodboy Picture Company / E+ / Getty Images

Work your way around nooks, niches, and quirky corners

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A living room is the heart of the home. It’s where you relax and unwind after a long day, spend quality time with the family, entertain guests, and so much more. So when facing an awkward living room layout in your new home, what should you do? 

Sometimes houses have architectural quirks, such as narrow floor plans and oddly shaped nooks, that can make it challenging to arrange furniture the way you want. Fortunately, no matter the peculiar layout of the space, there’s always a creative design solution for it. 

The trick to arranging furniture in an awkward living room is to embrace those structural deviations and allow them to inspire unique style and decor options. Read on to explore various scenarios of unconventional layouts along with our top tips and ideas to work with them.

1. L-Shaped Living/Dining Room

bright living room with gray sectional
Photo: KatarzynBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

The L shape is a fairly common room configuration in many homes, but it can still be a challenge figuring out the furniture placement. Depending on the areas’ sizes, you may be confused as to which portion is for the living room and which is the dining room. 

Solution: Use the Wider Area for Living Space

Usually the portion of the L shape closest to the kitchen is designated for the dining room. However, sometimes the kitchen entrance may open to both. In this scenario, you’ll want to use space with more width as your living room area, which provides more room for furniture arrangement.

As for furniture options, an L-shaped sectional is ideal for this type of layout. It can help fill the space and create a barrier between the living and dining space, like in the example below.

L-Shaped Living/Dining Room Floor Plan Graphic

2. Studio Apartment Living Room

studio apartment with messy bed
Photo: urbazon / E+ / Getty Images

As one large room without interior walls, studio apartments have no distinct areas that designate sleeping from living and dining. Despite the shortage of square feet, you can work with what you have. The upside of a studio layout is that you’ll see every corner of the apartment and can map out ideas.

Solution: Use a Partition

open dining area with room divider
Photo: KatarzynBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

If you tend to have guests over, a partition can create privacy in a small space and help define a new area. You can take the DIY approach by hanging curtains, adding a portable folding screen, or using a standalone bookshelf to double as a room divider and storage solution.

3. Angled Fireplace

modern living area with concrete fireplace
Photo: Tom Merton / OJO Images / Getty Images

Though an increasingly popular fireplace idea, the angled design can sometimes look awkward, depending on the size of a living room. Since angled fireplaces often have odd adjacent walls, you may struggle with arranging furniture around it.

Solution: Create a Separate Focal Point

The corner fireplace doesn’t have to serve as the main focal point, opening up the room for endless options of different layouts. Instead, you can place the television on an adjacent wall as the second focal point, arranging the furniture toward both to create a cozy seating area.

Living Room with Angled Fireplace Floor Plan Graphic

4. Living Room With No Entryway

While some homes open to a foyer or narrow entryway before entering the living room, others do not. Instead, they may immediately open to the common area. This can make it difficult to streamline your entry and exit routine, including placement for coats and keys.  

Solution: Use Furniture to Define an Entryway

living room entryway with couch and plant
Photo: FollowTheFlow / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Furniture pieces, such as a slender console table along the back of a sofa, can create an entry passageway and provide some storage space. The console table can be designated for placing small items—keys, wallet, cell phone, etc.— and the empty space beneath for a shoe rack or decorative storage basket.

5. Under-Stair Space in Living Room

sitting nook under the stairs
Photo: PC Photography / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Does your home have empty space beneath the staircase? Instead of neglecting the area, you can transform this triangular crawl space into something more exciting than a typical storage closet.  

Solution: Create a Cozy Nook

If it’s wide enough, you may be able to convert the space for a comfy daybed. Install a wall lamp and a few storage shelves, and you’ll have a cozy reading nook to relax and kick back with your favorite book.

6. Open Concept Layout

open living room concept
Photo: ExperienceInteriors / E+ / Getty Images

An open concept plan is where the living room space melts into the next, making it hard to pick and place furniture just right. Sectioned-off rooms have walls to help define where furniture goes, but not this layout. The benefit, however, is that you can see the entire home and it looks more spacious.

Solution: Define the Zones

mother and daughter playing guitar
Photo: xavierarnau / E+ / Getty Images

Zones will establish the function of the space and help with choosing furniture and decor. Would you like a small play corner for the kids? Do you have a piano? Using these ideas as indicators, you’ll want to use furniture to establish those zones and traffic flow. You can also angle the seating and use area rugs as visual markers of each zone. 

7. Split-Level Living Space

upstairs of split level home
Photo: rudigobbo / E+ / Getty Images

A split-level home has staggered floor levels between different areas, such as the living room being a step or two lower than the dining room. Uniquely maintaining the open plan concept, it creates separate functional areas with visual appeal. 

The split-level design also helps conceal geometric flaws of rooms. On the contrary, a split-level living and dining space can look unusual. They’re not two-story or single-story, but in between, and can look cluttered if not properly styled.

Solution: Design a Cohesive Look

simple living room with black accents
Photo: FollowTheFlow / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

With a cohesive design, you can clearly define the functional areas: one for entertainment and lounging, and the other for undisturbed meals. To achieve this, choose a focal point for each area and build from there. A local interior decorator can help, such as with choosing the best backsplash or statement piece.

8. Round-Shaped Living Room

With such a unique shape, a round room can be a bit complex to design. Unlike general flat walls, round-shaped living rooms have no angles, and the curved walls can make it almost impossible to place furniture against them. 

Solution: Use Curved Furniture and Accents

A round rug or table can serve as the centerpieces of your seating area, allowing you to arrange couches and armchairs around it. Also, consider floating the furniture toward the middle of the room. This will create a walkway along the curved walls and give the appearance of more space, such as in the example below.

Circular living room floor plan graphic

9. Living Room Columns

living room with columns
Photo: alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

If your living room has load-bearing columns, also known as pillars, they’re most likely there for structural support and can’t be removed. Columns can add dramatic appeal and create an instant statement for your living area. While some are built in a convenient location, others may be a nuisance in the middle of the room since they block space.

Solution: Make the Columns Functional

Fortunately, columns can serve as visual dividers for a space. They can separate the entryway from the living room or indicate room transitions in an open concept living space. You can even decorate the columns to enhance their aesthetic appeal, such as with plants and wall art.

10. Recessed Wall in Living Room

More often than not, you’ll find a recessed wall in the living room that is designated for mounting a television or placing an entertainment center. This can pose a problem if the wall recess isn’t large enough for what you have or is in a random spot of the room that doesn’t work well with a seating arrangement.

Solution: Custom Storage Area

custom living room shelves
Photo: Aleksandra Zlatkovic / E+ / Getty Images

Instead of a TV, use that niche or alcove as a custom storage space. You can hire a local contractor to install wall shelves and use them for placing photos, books, baskets, and more.

11. Slanted Walls

living room with slanted walls
Photo: Wicki58 / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Unlike flat ceilings, A-framed homes and those with vaulted ceilings have slopes, often resulting in slanted walls in the living room.

Solution: Work With the Slope

Since one portion of the wall is low, low-seated sofas and chairs along it will ensure no one hits their head. To create visual balance of the wall space, you can install custom storage solutions, like bookshelves along the slanted walls and even add a desk for a dedicated workspace. 

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12. Awkward Corners

 simple corner decor
Photo: FilippoBacci / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Do you have odd corners and edges in the living room that are aesthetically unpleasing? Sometimes uneven wall lengths create these, making it hard to fit anything in or around them.  

Solution: Conceal Corners With Decor

minimal living room with vaulted ceilings
Photo: djedzura / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Instead of neglecting the odd corner, soften the look with a tall, refreshing houseplant. Plants help fill empty spaces and revitalize the room, especially if you’re a fan of maximalist decor.

13. Vaulted Ceilings

minimal living room with vaulted ceilings
Photo: djedzura / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Since vaulted ceilings extend into the roof space, they can make a room appear more grand and spacious. The advantages of vaulted ceilings are that their height allows for more natural light, and they typically have exposed beams that add rustic style. The downside is that higher ceilings can also work against you, since the extra vertical space can throw off the look of a room.

Solution: Take Advantage of Vertical Space

Complement the height by placing artwork above eye level and installing larger, longer light fixtures. You can also find a skylight installer near you to add embedded windows as a luxurious aesthetic touch. 

14. Tiny Living Room Space

small living room with gray furniture
Photo: in4mal / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Unless you live alone and rarely have guests over, a small living room usually doesn’t have enough wall space or room to comfortably sit and walk around.

Solution: Downsize the Furniture

small living room with green walls
Photo: in4mal / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Using tiny house inspiration, you can embrace the small space by downsizing. Since large, bulky furniture in a small space can look overcrowded, opt for loveseats, chairs, and smaller sofas. Low-height loveseats and other furniture with thin legs also help the room appear more spacious. 

Remember, there are no rules that enforce a designated area as your living room. Maybe you’ve recently converted your garage into a living space. You can reserve that for your living room and repurpose the smaller room into a den or multipurpose area.

15. Living Room With Multiple Entryways

sunny living room with multiple entries
Photo: HRAUN / E+ / Getty Images

A living room with two or more entryways may constrain the wall area typically used for placing furniture. In this case, you’ll have to be careful not to obstruct the entrances with seating positions. 

Solution: Float the Furniture to the Center

open living space with blue kitchen
Photo: lechatnoir / E+ / Getty Images

Since you can’t place furniture along the walls, centering them will create space around it and help determine the flow of traffic. You can also define the space with area rugs to physically form walkways and make the seating areas appear more intimate.

16. Rectangle Living Room Layout

While long and narrow spaces are common, the layout can be challenging to arrange furniture around. Even with an elongated seating area, a rectangular living room, also known as a great room, can still have a lot of leftover space.

Solution: Arrange Separate Seating Areas

The upside to having extended floor space is extra room for an additional seating area. For example, you can designate one side of the living room for the main lounging and TV area using a couch and loveseat, while the other side serves as a decorative area with two accent chairs and a small side table. 

When creating separate seating areas, give each one a focal wall to define the zone. For example, you can have the decorative seating area facing the fireplace or a statement artwork.

Rectangle Living Room Floor Plan

Awkward living room layouts can be tricky, but with careful thought and planning, you’ll discover the best arrangement for your space. Thankfully, you can also find an interior designer near you to help analyze and develop solutions for you.

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