How To


Last week I met with a client who has a long, rectangular sitting room that she doesn’t know what to do with. This is not the first time that I’ve been asked to help a client with a room like this. So often these long rooms have multiple entrances, fireplaces and windows which can make furniture planning a nightmare. Throw in the need for a large TV and it can drive most people bonkers! We have recently completed a project at Cotswolds home where we designed a rectangle living room to create a comfortable and relaxing space. Make sure you have a look at our portfolio for pictures of this project for inspiration! 

I have drawn up some layouts here, all for the same room which show the various ways that the space can be utilised. Scroll down to see our top tips for how to create a layout that makes the most of your space. 


Rectangular Room Floor Plan


  1. ZONES. Section off the space into different zones –  create smaller areas perfect for little reading nooks, drinks areas or work spaces. Studio McGee’s designs show this beautifully, check out this post on creating your perfect floor plan
  2. SOFA TABLES. If you are going to place a sofa in the centre of the room, put a narrow console or sofa table behind it to ensure that the space behind the sofa doesn’t feel forgotten about. Pop some tall, but narrow, table lamps on here to add height to the scheme as well as some softer, lower level lighting. Rectangular Room Layout
  3. SEASONAL SHUFFLE. If you don’t mind a bit of a furniture shuffle, why not have two layouts – one for summer and one for winter? Focus the furniture around the fireplace in the winter and in the summer, make sure you have easy access to the garden.
  4. PAIRS. Don’t be afraid to have two coffee tables or footstools rather than one gigantic one, they will be more flexible as well as being in proportion with the shape of the room.Rectangular Living Room
  5. RUGS. If you have divided the space into two zones, ground each of them with a matching rug to create cohesion. We’ve written a blog post about top interior design mistakes, including how to choose the right size rug so have a read of that for our tips to make your rug work. 
    Long Sitting Room
  6. SMALLER PIECES. Add more smaller, interesting pieces of furniture around the room rather than just filling it with overwhelmingly large and chunky pieces.
  7. ALTERNATIVE SEATING. A large ottoman is not only great for resting your legs on – use a couple of large trays for displaying coffee table books, objects and drinks. Alternatively, it can be a great additional perch for children when you have a house full!
    Suzy Hoodless Long Sitting RoomImage credits [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]

So there you have it! Hopefully this has helped you if you have been struggling with your rectangular sitting room layout. If you have any questions or comments, please pop them in the comments box below – I’d love to hear from you! Whilst you’re here, why not take a look through our portfolio to see more of our work? We’ve worked on some exciting projects from mid-century modern new builds in Chipping Norton to quayside apartments in Gloucestershire.

  1. Teresa says:

    I love this look! I made the mistake of thinking 4 chairs, no sofa. Now I still have a large room and not enough seating for conversation. Even if I purchase a sofa, I’m still stuck with 4 large, matching chairs. Ugh…the decorating dilemma!

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Teresa, thanks for your comment – I’m pleased you like the blog post! Rectangular rooms are so tricky aren’t they – could you move 2 of the chairs into another room, or to one end of the sitting room if its long enough? Lauren x

  2. Sonia says:

    Hi Lauren,

    I love this look and the tips have come in really handy – thank you! We have a dilemma at the moment as we have a rectangular living room but the door is in the centre of one of the long walls. We can’t think how to make the best use of space, whilst also ensuring all four of us have enough couch and arm chair space to watch the TV! Any advice or suggestions?
    Thanks, Sonia X

  3. gloria says:

    I have a rectangular room that was once 2 rooms but we have taken the middle wall out which leaves us with 2 chimney breasts on the inside long wall and 2 doors 1 in the long wall in the middle and 1 at the end of the same wall which is facing the chimney breast wall we have a window at each end of the room on the short walls .We really do not have any ideas as how to make the room look nice not clutted

  4. Faith says:

    This article was so helpful! I like the seasonal shuffle idea, my living room is aNightmare because of where the doors are placed and the radiators.

  5. Sabrina Queen says:

    I have a large open rectangular kitchen, dining, living room combo. There are no dividing walls and 3 Windows and 1 door in the dining, living room. All clutter converges in this area. HELP!

  6. Alicia Wicker says:

    This is definitely helpful, but our rectangular living room is only 18′ x 12′ and the rooms shown look almost twice that size. I have French doors opposite end of the fireplace wall and then a wall of windows and an arched doorway to dining room… and I am just not sure when furniture shopping if I should get a larger sofa and one chair or smaller sofa and two chairs or a sectional, if I can find one that is small (75″ in or less on one side and maybe 88-92″ on other side. Any ideas would be helpful!

  7. Danielle says:

    I have a long rectangular living room with the fireplace on one of the shorter walls. We have thought about putting the tv over the fire place, but it seems so far away. How far is to far to mount a tv over a fireplace? Thanks!

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Danielle, it depends on how big the TV is really but I probably wouldn’t put it above the fireplace – perhaps you could put it to one side of it in some built in shelves. We could take a look at this for you as part of the E-Design service if you’d like. Drop an email to if you’d like to know more! X

  8. Danielle Jablonowski says:

    Hi Lauren,
    I have been searching and searching for ideas on this same room. There are a few things that complicate things. First we have a sliding patio door in the middle of one wall, fireplace on another and the third wall isn’t completely flat. There is a wall built out to hide the furnace! Please help with any suggestions!

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