Do you have an odd shaped room that you don’t know how to decorate? I have one of those rooms…it happens to be my apartment living room. Making an awkward shaped living room work doesn’t have to be that challenging though. You just have to remember to make a conversation area and not try to line up the furniture along the walls. I had a great response to my Making a Small Kitchen Work post that I thought it would be fun to share with you guys how I dealt with my weird shaped living room.
In my apartment, I have two design problems to deal with. First, there is an awkward corner in the main living area to the left of the windows. Instead of the corner being a typical 90 degree angle, its more like a 45 degree angle. The corner to the right of the window is >90 degrees, probably more like 135 degrees. But, please don’t hold me to those numbers, my worst grade in high school was in geometry!
The second element I had to work around is two large columns in the room. They eat up so much space and when I first moved in I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do to make them work.
In case you’re confused, here’s a floor plan of the room I sketched to give you an idea of what I’m talking about…
First up, I tackled the odd corner and figured out how I was going to decorate that space. I knew I wanted to square off the room and make a conversation area around a coffee table. The cable outlet was on the same wall as the awkward corner and was the only wall large enough for our big TV so the TV had to go there. I had a really cool stick screen leftover from my home staging days which was perfect to use in the corner to add a little height and soften the angle. I even put an uplight in it so at night it’s really pretty!
Knowing that I had to keep the TV on that wall, left me really no option but to put the sofa centered under the big picture window. You might wonder why I didn’t put the sofa facing the TV… well the wall opposite the TV is less than 4 feet and having the sofa’s back to that wall just looked plain ol’ stupid (and would have stuck out too far into the room). So I worked around the sofa under the window with my seating arrangement, which was my first choice anyways. I like the way the window frames the largest piece of furniture in this room. It’s a nice focal point. A coffee table and two chairs opposite the sofa were added as well as another chair to the side. This formed my conversation area. I used a large rug to pull all the pieces together which makes a comfortable grouping. I put a bar cabinet that I had on the small wall. It works well there and stores our wine.
Next I needed to figure out what to do with the columns. I thought perhaps some sort of a credenza or buffet between the columns would work. It could double for some much needed storage and still allow for some decorative display. It would also create a “hallway” behind it and make use of wasted space as well. I searched high and low but could not find something I liked that was the correct size for the space. I was so frustrated! Quite by accident I ended up just using an Ikea bookcase on it’s side. I had built the bookcase for closet storage and set it in there to give me an idea of what something would look like in that space. You know what? I kind of liked it! It worked well enough that I decided to leave it there and give up my search for the perfect piece… and save me some money!
Having the bookcase there allowed me to display some family photos and a few more decorative items that would otherwise just be stored in a box. It also works well because there’s no back on the bookcase which allows the light to shine through and not close in the space. Of course I would love to have something that fit exactly and looked more built in but this is just a rental for the year and I’m all about making things work and look nice, even if it’s only temporary. I even saved a couple Ikea hacks on my Pinterest board which I would love to do this bookcase. Unfortunately, all our tools are crated up in storage for the year, so for now, I’m out of luck.
Like I said, the easiest way to make this room work was to square off the seating area and not let the odd angle dictate where to put the furniture. I’ve found throughout my years as a home stager that so many people think they have to use the entire space, or line up their furniture along the walls. Not true! Pull your furniture away from the walls, ground your seating arrangements with a nice rug and the area will instantly feel more comfortable and cozy. And, don’t forget it’s okay to separate a space into two sections as I did here with one section for the seating area, the other for the display/walkway.
Don’t be afraid to move things around, with a little bit of trial and error you’ll be on your way to making an awkward shaped living room work!