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How to decorate a big living room: Large and long living room ideas

Not every property is blessed with generous amounts of room, but those that are carry their own unique set of challenges when it comes to deciding upon the right décor. This is especially true if your home has a large or long living room.

In a small living room, the aim is to make the limited space feel as big as possible. However, with a roomier interior, the opposite is true: you need to strike the balance just right, so it doesn't feel too empty or cavernous. And, to get this just right, it can require some careful planning.

In this guide, we're going to share some large and long living room ideas to make sure you can make the most of your spacious living room. We'll cover:

• What type of furniture to choose
Layout tips
How to decorate
Lighting ideas

Choosing the right furniture for a large of long living room

Your choice of furniture for your large or long living room is incredibly important, as it will play a big part in how your space works on the whole. Below, you'll find some essential tips for making sure your pieces are suitable for a roomy living room.

Go for bigger, taller furniture

The first thing to consider when choosing furniture for a bigger living room is the fact that, with extra floorspace, you'll have the freedom to choose large items of furniture. With your additional square footage, oversized pieces won't look too dominant or cramped, so you will have more options when it comes to picking out big, bold, and beautiful designs.

However, before you begin looking for that perfect king-size furniture, you need to remember that you still need to work to scale. Not every item needs to be the biggest available, and, in most cases, it's better to have a few key pieces of oversized furniture to make an impact, rather than a room full of them. Even a very spacious living room can begin to feel too busy eventually. Plus, you still need to make sure you have ample space between your furniture to avoid an overcrowded look.

Does your living room have high ceilings? If so, you should consider investing in taller furniture where possible so that the scale of your décor doesn't become unbalanced vertically. For instance, if you only had low cabinets and sofas throughout, a high ceiling would dwarf your furniture. That's why it's important to add some elevated pieces to keep things level. High back sofas and chairs, floor-to-ceiling cabinets, and tall bookcases can all make great additions to a lofty living room.

Know what styles of sofas and chairs will work

Your sofa is likely to be one of the key visual anchors of your spacious living room, which means that, among all the other items of smaller furniture, it's going to dominate and bring a sense of gravity. On a grander stage, your oversized sofa will draw the eye even more than usual, so it's important that any design you choose works well under scrutiny. Read on to discover some great large or long living room sofa ideas for your home.

One option is to pick a style that reflects the overall aesthetic that you're trying to achieve with your living room. For example, if you're going for a sleeker, contemporary air, modern sofas and chairs, with clean, simple lines are the best choice. Alternatively, if you wish to create a softer, more timeless décor, opting for traditional sofas and chairs will be a better match. Choosing a complementary style to your intended look will ensure it is effortlessly carried over your larger living room.

Another option is to make a real statement with your sofa and go for a look that simply stands out from the rest of your space. The Chesterfield sofa is great choice for this: it's a design that has a rich heritage but is versatile enough to work with a wide range of interiors. It can also be styled in almost any way imaginable, whether you need a gray, blue, or, red Chesterfield, or even one upholstered in velvet or 'Harris Tweed'. This highly individual choice works best when you are planning a muted or neutral décor that won't be at odds with your sofa.

Get the right size and shape of sofa

Once you've settled on a style for your sofa, you'll need to decide upon an appropriate size for your living room. You need to think about a few factors before you go ahead and order your sofa:

How will the sofa scale with your room? You need to ensure that you buy a sofa that's the appropriate size for your room — not too small to get lost and not too big to dominate. It shouldn't take up the entire length of a wall and you should ensure there's at least 50cm space on either side. Take a look at our sofa measuring guide to find out how to size up.

How many people may need to sit on the sofa at once? Think about how many people live in your house and whether you often have guests over — will there be enough space for everyone? If you need a lot of room, you may prefer to pair a three- or four-seater sofa with loveseats or extra two-seater sofas, rather than armchairs.

What shape is your living room? Consider the shape of your living room, especially if you have an unusual shape or lots of awkward nooks. You may wish to consider a custom made sofa that's made to measure and will fit your living room precisely. A sectional sofa can often work better in a lengthy but narrow living room, where both the long and short wall length can be utilized to maximize space.

What will its purpose be? Consider whether your sofa is going to be for a specific purpose. For instance, if you're creating a reading nook away from your main sitting area, a loveseat or a high-back chair might work better.

Will it fit when delivered? Thinking about whether your sofa will fit into your home easily on delivery is often an afterthought, but it can also be a decisive factor in your sofa choice, even if you have a very large room. Read our sofa measuring guide to find out how you can make sure your new furniture will fit.

Try working in some furniture pairs

When you're trying to stylishly fill the floorspace in your large or long living room, an idea that many designers employ is doubling up on matching furniture pieces to create a symmetrical effect. Doing so not only gives you a neat, clean look, but it can also be an effective way to extend a unified décor across a larger space when your pieces reflect each other's appearance.

This concept tends to work really well with seating areas, where you can pick two matching coffee tables, sofas, or ottomans that sit together in groups. There are a few ways you could arrange this, such as opting for two identical sofas to sit opposite one another, filling mid-space with two tables rather than one, or, if your living room is large enough, creating two mirrored but separate seating areas.

Round shapes work well in long rooms

If you've got a long but narrow living room, you need to try and avoid what many designers call "the bowling alley effect", where your living room feels more like an in-between room, such as a corridor. This can be intensified by including too many pieces with straight lines — often used in modern furniture design — that end up making the space feel longer and narrower than it actually is.

One way you can counter this is by incorporating a few rounded pieces to balance out the elongating effect. If you have a sofa with straight lines, try pairing it with a rounded coffee table or a footstool to take the edge off. You can even add curvy light fixtures, lamps, or side tables to break things up.

Alternatively, if you have a few straight-edged accessorizing pieces in mind already, then you may wish to consider a sofa with softer, rounded lines, such as those pieces in Chesterfield collection.

Use built-in cabinets as a feature or to fill awkward spots

Built-in cabinetry is a luxury that typically can't be afforded in smaller sitting rooms as they tend to hedge in the boundaries to create a claustrophobic effect. However, in a larger space, these cabinets come into their own, giving you the option to fill some of your living room with useful storage options for hiding clutter and building a more composed look.

One way of integrating these cabinets is to install them along the length of a feature wall so they become part of the focus themselves. This works especially well if this is also to be your media wall, as they can provide a home for your TV or other entertainment options. They are also useful when you're trying to fill awkward spots, particularly if you get some custom cabinets designed and built to fit perfectly into the space available.

Think about your large or long living room layout

Compared to dealing with the limitations of a small living room, it can be easy to think that arranging your large or long living room is simply a case of choosing the pieces you want, then choosing any furniture placement. However, this simply isn't true, as finding the right balance and focus for your space can be a challenge to get right without the right know how.

Follow our tips below to get some large or long living room layout design ideas for your home.

Decide on focal points

Every single living room needs a focal point, but, whether it's the TV, a fireplace, or you've set the room in a conversational style, it's completely up to you. However, with a large or long living room, you might not actually need to choose just one and could end up having multiple focuses.

For instance, you might have a grand fireplace or a large TV that makes up your main focal point, but you may also have space to create extra zones in your living room that are set up in an informal, chatty style or you could create a reading spot dominated by a statement occasional or high-back chair.

We will cover ways that you can create these zones and why they're a good idea in the next section, but it's important that you identify your focal points early on, as these will be the centerpieces that you model the rest of your living room around. Once you have these in mind, you'll be able to plan a layout clearly and with more confidence.

Create zones within your living room

One of the best ways to arrange a large or long living room is to adopt an open plan approach by creating zones within the room. By dividing the space into different functional areas, you can transform a big space into something much more manageable. It will also help you to fill the room visually, giving the eye more to take in and avoiding that empty feeling you want to avoid with your décor.

When you have identified the focal points in your living room, you can begin to plan how your zones will take shape and function. For example, your main zone will likely be arranged around your main focal point, such as a fireplace or TV, so you should set up the area to match its purpose, whether that's conversation or enjoying media. This means that you will need to choose your furniture and layout with a function in mind.

You can then populate the other areas of your room with one or more secondary zones. If you have a window with a view, consider adapting that area with a desk for writing or study. Or, should you have space in a corner, add a bookcase and comfy chair to create a reading nook, or a record player and a vinyl cabinet for a listening station. You can also create zones themed around other functions, such as games, dining, and crafts and hobbies, to name just a few.

While you need to pick your furniture to match each zone's purpose, you also need to consider how you will visually define the boundaries between the areas. There are a few ways you can divide your room up, ranging from physical barriers to more subtle indicators:

Architectural features: Adding architectural features, like ceiling beams, half walls, and pillars, can physically split up a large living room without compartmentalizing it. Whether this is the solution for you can depend on your preference for permanent dividers, as well as costs and other practicalities.

Semi-permanent features: Semi-permanent dividers, such as built-in cabinetry and floor-to-ceiling bookcases, can be installed to offer a barrier that doesn't involve altering the structure of your home. These will still be a fixed presence, however, with little flexibility.

Furniture dividers: Another option is to arrange your furniture so that it implies there's a boundary. Extending a sectional sofa out into the room can square off an area, while simply placing a regular sofa with its back to a space can divide things up. Other furniture ideas can include screens, low tables and cabinets, large lamps, plants, or even a chaise lounge.

Visual cues: Not all boundaries need to be physical, and a subtle change in décor can often create the impression of separated areas. A change in wallpaper or paint, soft furnishings or even an area rug can be enough to break things up.

Carefully manage your space planning

Something you'll need to consider when planning the layout of your living room is how you manage the space between your furniture. You need to make sure you're not leaving gaps that are too large or leaving too many pieces hugging the wall of your room, but, on the other hand, you also should take care not to create a plan that's too cramped.

When you're determining the layout of your furniture, it’s important to remember that, even though you have a large or long living room and there's a temptation to spread things out, you should maintain the usual distances between each piece. As a general rule, allow for approximately a 30-inch gap for furniture that you need to walk around, then a 20-inch gap for other pieces. If you stick to these guidelines, none of your items should seem to be adrift in your room.

You should also look to avoid pushing too many of your pieces up against your walls, which can be tempting with much more wall space to play with. Leaving the center of a large room sparse will make it feel more cavernous, which is not the effect you're going for. By following our advice and creating balanced zones around focal points, you should be able to avoid this. Don't be scared of all that wall space, either, as this can be filled with artwork, bookcases, cabinets, or incorporated into one of the secondary zones in your living room.

Use furniture to emphasize width in long spaces

If you have a long but narrow living room, there are a couple of other spacing tricks you can use to avoid that dreaded "bowling alley" look. Firstly, it can help to arrange a long piece of furniture, especially a sofa, perpendicular to the length of your room, which can visually push out your walls and make the space seem wider. Secondly, when you're creating a walkway, aim for an "S" shaped path by alternating where you position your furniture. This should avoid there being a straight route through that can make your room feel like a corridor.

How to decorate a large or long living room

Decorating your large or long living room is another stage that requires some forward planning if you want to strike the right balance between appearing too spacious and too busy. Read through our large and long living room ideas in this section to find out how to do just that.

Use color and texture effectively

Color can play a huge role in how your living room is perceived, particularly in how spacious it feels, so it's key that you know how different shades will alter the ambiance. By making the right choices, it's possible to draw attention to your large living room's best features while making sure the space feels nicely put together and balanced.

Remember that more intense and darker colors can make surfaces appear as if they are advancing inwards, while lighter and neutral colors have more of a distancing effect. You can use strong hues on your walls, floor, and ceiling to create a more enclosed, cozy feel in a very open room. This works particularly well if you have a high ceiling, as you can paint it a few shades darker than your walls to make it feel lower. It's still possible to use light and neutral colors — just be sure to pair them with furniture and accessories in deeper tones to add visual weight.

In a similar way to darker colors, textured surfaces can be used to add more depth and bring a space closer together, which makes them an ideal choice for your living room. While glossy, polished finishes create a sense of spaciousness and continuity (and should not be overused), you can use textures, like raw brickwork, exposed floorboards, and embossed wallpaper, to make your living room feel cozier and less bare.

Incorporate repeating fabrics, colors, and patterns

In a larger or longer living room, it's easier for your decorative flourishes to seem lost or isolated compared to smaller spaces. One way to ensure the look of your living room appears more put together is by using repeated fabrics, colors, and patterns across its whole span. This should go some way to building a reoccurring theme that will help to visually unify your décor.

These repetitions can range in scope: from ensuring that all your sofas and chairs are upholstered in the same leather or fabric to picking similar shades for your soft furnishings, like throw pillows or wool throws. By sticking to a similar choice of designs and palette, you can make sure that your desired look is echoed throughout your living room.

Boost the level of accessories

As your living room is one of the most prominent areas of your home, it's only natural that you want to inject a lot of your personality into it. The good news is that, with a larger living room, you have much more space, which means more freedom to include a wider range of accessories.

With ample room, you can really express yourself with those extras. For instance, instead of just adding one plant to a corner, group a selection of varying sizes to bring more variety and visual flair to your room. Or, instead of including just one lamp on a side table, find space to include a matching one to add symmetry and build the sense of a unified décor. Remember, large living rooms need more mass — both volume and quantity — than smaller rooms, so you need to fill that space.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that it's possible to over-accessorize long but narrow living rooms, especially if you're adding things along the sides of the room. That's not to say you can't add a few items, but make sure they don't have the effect of dressing up the walls too much and creating a cluttered effect that visually tapers the room.

Amplify your artwork and ornaments

In your large or long living room, it's likely that you have a lot more wall or shelf space that needs to be filled, which gives you plenty of room to include your favorite artwork and ornaments. While you're naturally going to need a greater quantity of pieces, it's also a good idea to amplify the look and feel of the artwork to really draw the eye and dominate that blank canvas.

Bright colors, vibrant patterns, and larger canvases are the order of the day here. And, if you have the option of choosing larger sizes for prints or anything else, be sure to select a bigger option to fill more of that empty wall space. Also, as we've mentioned, repetition comes in really handy when decorating large rooms, so don't hesitate to display a series of artworks or just complementing pieces to extend the theme across your décor.

Use soft furnishings to build coziness and prevent echo

When you're trying to make your large or long living room a little bit more intimate, try adding a lot of soft furnishings, which are a great way of making things feel cozier and softening distant edges in your space. By adding these extra layers, you will also prevent sound from echoing in your living room, something that can be an issue with bigger, more open rooms.

There are plenty of ways that you can work soft furnishings into your living room. Hanging drapes will dress up your windows while giving you total light control when you want to limit that airy feel in your living room. Sofas and chairs can be accessorized with throws and throw pillows, while adding area rugs can add boundaries and warm up chilly flooring.

You can also choose items to suit your room's style and function: for instance, if you are creating a zone for playing games, an informal but stylish bean bag would really look the part and match the more relaxed vibe you're trying to create.

Large living room lighting ideas

Making sure your living room is properly lit can be a challenge if you have a lot of extra floorspace. Below you'll find some great large or long living room lighting ideas.

Ensure there's adequate lighting to avoid dark corners

While a smaller living room can be illuminated with just a central fixture and one or two lamps in the corners, it's probably going to take a little bit more than this to adequately light up your spacious living room. Thankfully, by planning your lighting properly and checking that you have enough in key areas, you can ensure that even the furthest reaches of your space are not left in the dark.

As a general rule, you should be aiming for around 10–20 lumens per square foot in your living room, which should provide comfortable light. To calculate how much extra light you need to add, look at the lumens listed on the bulbs that will be fitted in your main light, add up the total they will output, then divide this number by the square footage of your room. This will give you the lumens being outputted per square foot. Be sure to consult an electrician if you aren't sure.

With this figure, you can get an idea if your main light fixture going to provide enough illumination. However, remember that not every spot in your room will be getting the same level of light, especially corners and nooks away from your main fixtures. At this point, you may consider a second main light for the space, but you could also cover them with some well-placed side lights, lamps, or spotlights.

It's also worth remembering that if you've created any functional zones that require more intensive light — for instance, a reading nook — then you may need to have a dedicated light in this area. You may also wish to provide more light near one of your living room's focal points, such as a fireplace or display cabinet, if you want to highlight it.

Choose the right sized chandelier or statement light

When it comes to choosing a main light fixture for your large or long living room, you'll need to pick a style that's befitting of a bigger space. One option many people choose is to install a chandelier (or more than one, if necessary) or an oversized statement light that creates a grand impression. Both choices are among the best type of fixture to visually fill a very spacious living room.

If you’re interested in adding a chandelier or statement fixture, there are a couple of things to think about to ensure that you select one that's the right size for your living room.

Firstly, like your furniture, your chandelier or light needs to scale to the size of your space, which means that you're likely to need a larger fixture to match your sizeable living room. There's a general rule that you can follow to get the right size: take the two dimensions of your floorspace (in feet) and add them together to get the width of the fixture (inches) that will scale with your room — for example, dimensions of 20 x 20 feet would require a width of around 40 inches.

Also, you need to think about the height it's going to hang at and, if it's not in the middle of the room, where on your ceiling it will hang from. You should hang your light so there's a minimum of 7 feet above the ground, which should ensure it's high enough to look good, illuminate your space, and provide ample clearance. Additionally, you should ensure the fixture is hanging at least four feet from the nearest wall.

We hope that this guide has given you plenty of large and long living room ideas, as well as sharing some practical advice for your own project. You'll find much more advice in our interior design hub, as well as our sofa buying guides.

At Sofas by Saxon, we specialize in creating custom, handmade furniture for living rooms, including sofas, chairs, sectional sofas, sleeper sofas, and footstools. We make all of our furniture by hand in our UK workshop so, if you need a particular size or have a certain style in mind, we can definitely help to create the ideal pieces for your living room through our custom furniture serviceget in touch with our team to find out more. Then, take a look at our international delivery FAQ to find out how we can deliver your new furniture straight to you in the US.