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Our living rooms become the hearts of our homes, where family and friends spend time together. This means that we need to create a living room layout that is welcoming and conducive to conversations. This is difficult when your living room has an unusual shape, with odd corners, slanted walls, nooks, and crannies.
It can even be challenging to arrange furniture in a small living room that is not too weirdly shaped.
Fortunately, our experts can provide you with several awkward living room layout ideas by showing you how arranging furniture in certain ways and playing with decor and colors can create the perfect stylish living room layout.
What Is An 'Awkward' Living Room? Is It As Bad As It Sounds?
A couple of things can make a living room seem awkward.
A small living room or a long, narrow room can feel awkward, as you have limited space for your sofas, coffee table, shelves, and additional chairs.
A room with unconventional architecture or awkward shapes, such as an alcove or diagonal walls, can also feel tough to design and difficult to arrange furniture, even if the living space is fairly large.
Having an awkward living room is not necessarily a bad thing! It can still offers plenty of creative opportunities to design a cozy space that you can share with your friends and family.
Awkward Living Room Tips And Tricks
Living room arrangements can be changed from the conventional style to suit an awkward living room. Getting creative with your furniture arrangement means you can still create a cozy conversation area, even in a small or strangely designed room.
Read on to see some of the top tips and tricks for making the most out of your awkward living room — whethere you're trying to squeeze in some additional seating areas or watch to create your ideal place to watch tv, we have some tips for you.
1. Choose Furniture that Can Be Moved Easily
Furniture pieces that can be moved around easily will work best in an awkward living room.
Consider smaller pieces, like armchairs and ottomans, or a smaller sofa (check out some of the best sectional sofas that can work in any room). These pieces are more versatile and can be moved around to suit the space. It's also worth exploring modular furniture (especially sofas), as these pieces can change and adapt over time — so if you need extra seating, you can just add a new piece to your sofa.
You should also get creative with the furniture pieces you include. You may think a coffee table is essential in your living room, but how about rather using an end table instead?
Ottomans can also be used as extra storage if you don't have space for shelves, and if you place a board or tray on it, it functions perfectly well as a coffee table.
Small furniture in an awkward living room can also squish into odd corners and alcoves, leaving more space available on the floor or center of the room.
2. Pull Couch Away from the Wall
If your living room has plenty of weirdly-angled walls or not much wall space at all - then the best thing you can do is to arrange furniture away from the walls, especially the sofa.
By placing the couch in front of the television, window, or bookshelf, and not against the wall, you will create a cozier room with an intimate seating area, plus you then free up the wall, which can be used for shelves or other storage.
Make sure there is enough space behind the sofa to walk and add an end table next to the couch for a functional living room layout.
3. Choose the Right Sofa
Regarding an awkward living room layout, the sofa is everything. Sofas are often the largest items in the room, and choosing the right sofa is crucial to the entire vibe of the space.
A sectional sofa is best if you have an elongated, narrow living room. An L-shaped sectional will work great if you have the room and want a create the perfect spot to kick back and read a good book or watch tv.
For a large room, you can consider a bulkier sofa (such as a pit sofa) and place it in the center of the room with two armchairs for a great conversation space.
Before you commit to an interior design plan, play around with ideas and different styles of sofas to find one that works best in your awkward living room.
4. Simplify Layout
An awkward living room most likely has a lot of visual interest, even without any furniture in the room. From interesting alcoves to fascinating slanted walls, the architecture and design of an awkward living room speak for themselves.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is embrace the quirks of a room.
That means, when it comes to interior design, a good option is to keep it simple. You do not want to overcomplicate the room by filling your living space with furniture and artwork. Keep the room's function in mind, and decorate and furnish accordingly — sometimes less is defitinely more and a minimalist approach to interior design can make it feel like you have more room.
When it comes to vertical space, keep artwork sparse and at eye level, keep shelves and bookcases free from clutter, and only place furniture that serves a purpose like a sofa, coffee table, end tables, shelves, and chairs.
5. Zone Off Areas
If you have a studio apartment or an open floor plan, arranging furniture can be challenging. You ideally want to design separate areas for your kitchen, living room, and dining room.
The easiest way to do this is to create different zones, and this is achieveable even if the room has an odd shape.
You can use area rugs to define spaces and then incorporate furniture to define further the zone, such as a dining table to signify the dining space, a sofa with its back to the dining table, and extra chairs across from the sofa to create your living space.
Within a large living room area, you can also zone off separate areas, such as an area dedicated to watching television, a reading nook, and an area for chatting with friends. Again, area rugs are great for delineating zones, and you can also use a room divider or bookshelf further to break up the living room into different functions.
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6. Design a Unique Focal Point
To help guide the eyes across the room (or perhaps distract from the awkwardness of the room), create a unique focal point in your living room.
You can create an accent wall by painting a single wall a different color and decorating it with photos, artwork, or greenery. If you are not bold enough to paint the entire wall, you can make use of the vertical space by hanging a simple statement piece of art on a wall — for some inspiration, check out our guide on how to decorate above your sofa.
Rather than hiding the awkwardness of your living room, embrace it and use it to your advantage. An alcove can be transformed into a bright reading nook, or light fixtures can be used to draw attention to arches or other unique features.
If you have a corner fireplace in your room, make the most of it by arranging furniture around it to make it the centerpiece of the living room.
7. Use Accents
Some living rooms may have unique accents already built in such as a unique shape or strange architecture (think funky trims and patterns on the ceiling).
Instead of trying to hide these accents or get rid of them, make them a part of your living room vibe! Paint accents a bright color to make them pop, and arrange your furniture in such a way to show off these unique aspects of your living area.
An exposed brick wall or weirdly-colored fireplace tile can be incorporated into your overall color story to create the perfect, cohesive (and slightly funky) living room layout and style.
8. Avoid Doorway Obstructions
The room's flow is very important when it comes to a living room. Living rooms are often centrally located in a home, with plenty of foot traffic into and through the room. Because of this, you need to consider the floor space and furniture arrangement when you think about the room's flow.
The easiest way to allow for a smooth flow is to avoid doorways completely. Even in a small living room, you may be tempted to move a sofa or chair closer to the doorway to allow for more space in the room itself, but this will make the room even more awkward to move through!
The best option is to pick smaller furniture pieces and arrange them in such a way that it is still easy to maneuver around and through the room without your path being obstructed. Smaller items can also be placed in corners or any strange nooks, helping the flow of traffic through the room.
9. Consider a Circular Layout
You want your living room layout to be cozy and comfortable, and one way to do that in an awkward space is to make a circular layout with your furniture.
If your living room is large enough, you can avoid awkward walls by placing furniture in the center of the room and a round coffee table to create the perfect circular space for intimate conversations.
Creating a circular shape is easy with minimal furniture and smaller items, which can be placed to create a round shape. If you do not have enough space for a circular layout, consider a semi-circle instead.
You Can Make an Awkward Living Room Work
Having an awkward living room does not have to be a conundrum! You can still fit plenty of functional furniture and decor items in even the smallest, oddly shaped room.
By choosing the right sofa, arranging furniture in the best way to suit the space, and creating a focal point, you can let your hidden interior designer flourish and create the perfect living room, regardless of size or shape.
How Do You Arrange Furniture in an Awkward Living Room with a TV?
The TV does not necessarily have to be the focal point in your living room. Here are some ways to arrange furniture in an awkward living room with a TV:
In smaller living rooms, it makes sense to have the sofa facing the TV. But, you can pull the sofa away from the wall to free up some wall space.
In a large living room, you can create a separate, dedicated area for watching series and movies and then zone the room using a room divider or other furniture pieces to create a sitting area for entertaining and chatting with guests.
Create a semi-circle with your furniture facing the TV for an area conducive to entertaining guests and great for movie nights.
Should You Put a Sofa in Front of a Window?
If you have a window wall, there is no reason why you should not put a sofa in front of the window. Of course, you will have to consider the shape and functionality of your entire living room. Along with the possibility of the sun fading your sofa fabric over time.
A low-profile sofa works well in front of a window as it still allows plenty of light to enter the room and can add that extra cozy element to your stylish room, but you may want to consider how the sofa works against this wall. Is there perhaps a better wall to place it against? Is it functional in the spot by the window?
There is no rule; it is about figuring out what works in your unique space.
Is it Okay to Put a Sofa Against the Wall with Curtains?
Placing a sofa against a wall with curtains can cause issues of being able to open and close the curtains, and the sofa moving each time a person sits on the sofa isn't firmly placed on a rug.
While putting a sofa against a wall with curtains is okay, make sure to leave a couple of inches behind the sofa to allow the curtains to be open and closed, and secure the sofa feet with anti-slip pads to prevent movement. Another option would be to install blinds rather than use curtains as these will be less of an obstruction behind the sofa.
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.