Decorating Dilemmas: Melinda’s Large Rectangular Living Room

Helping Melinda decorate her family room and entryway

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Dear How to Decorate,

Help me with my long, narrow room! The north wall is 13ft 8in, and the east wall is 18 ft. Then, the west wall is 21 1/2 ft, and the south wall is 14 ft. We have 9 ft ceilings.

I’d like to get rid of the bookcase and put in a different storage system. I would also like to add coffee tables and paint an accent wall. This is our entry way, family room, and living room. I would like to make this an efficient space!

Please help!






Dear Melinda,

Help is here for your large rectangular room! This space provides some excellent options for an efficient furniture arrangement.

In order to get the most use of your room, we would like to see you flip your television viewing to the opposite wall. The Toulouse Tall and Low Bookcase will provide the adjustable surfaces needed for your entertainment and display needs perfectly. It’s open back and sides will keep the feeling open with a good flow maximizing the width and height of the room. We would also like to recommend raising the drapery rods closer to the ceiling. By setting the rod 4 inches down from the ceiling, your room will look much taller!

As you also use this space as an entryway, let’s start there. We would like to see you separate your entry with a 2×3 size walk off matt, like our Granada Rug in Gold. We suggest a Baxter Metal Bench underneath your window which will give you a convenient place to sit to take off boots and shoes and for storing scarves. You could also mount the Suzanne Kasler Wall Hooks to the right of the front window with the Sabrina Coat Rack. This will help create a designated entryway, dividing the living room into two functions.


Moving into the living area, let’s pull the space together by placing a lush and practical Lewis Hand Hooked Rug in the center of the room. You can use your existing dark sofa and loveseat, but if you’re looking to replace them, we suggest the Davenport Apartment Sofa and Davenport Loveseat in our Twill Butter fabric. We’ve included the Morgan End Table as a table to flank the sofa, and as far occasional chairs, we think a new pair of Cortina Chairs in our Desert Chenille fabric will round out your seating space. Of course in between a pair of chairs, you always need an accent table like our Allen Side Table for placing drinks!

Since this is a family room where you’ll be watching TV, we prefer an upholstered ottoman to a coffee table. Try our Clervaux Tufted Ottoman which is upholstered in a pebble linen. It’s a fantastic surface for magazines, fits a tray for snacks and drinks, and will still have plenty of room to put your feet up. For extra seating when guests come over, a pair of Cube Ottomans upholstered in our Queens Velvet Persimmon will look great!

Lighting is so important in a living room. We always prefer to use a pair of lamps because they create symmetry and order in a space. Our Leona Lamp in Coral would look fantastic with the color scheme, as well as a Mercury Glass Round Urn Accent Lamp for a little shine. For an elevated level of lighting, we recommend the Stella Wall Sconce flanking the front windows and for over the trestle table on the opposite side of the room.

For a dynamic focal point at the far end of the room, consider painting an accent wall in Benjamin Moore’s Mayflower Red, which will pick up the russet colors in the Lewis Rug.

Because a family room requires multiple uses, we have placed the Tatum Trestle Table centered on the far wall with the Allen Counter Stools with Back Rest to be used as a game table, homework station, or work space. We’ve placed the Toulouse Medium Bookcase in the corner for extra storage which we always find helpful in a busy family room. Light this area with a Cartagena Wall Sconce.

All of these recommendations will make your space efficient, beautiful, and ultimately functional for all of the needs of your family!

Enjoy your newly redesigned living room.

The How to Decorate Team

Helping Melinda decorate her family room and entryway

Do you have a decorating dilemma? Send us your own questions here.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    November 10, 2020

    I have a room. Size is 20ft wide and 14 ft deep. I bout a couch that the length is 101” and 45” deep and a love seat that is 72” length and 45” deep. Also a buffet 65”
    Long and 20” I’m depth. And ATV stand that is 65” long and 25” deep. I want to put a recliner in. It that to much?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      January 22, 2021

      Try laying out your room in our Room Planner. That will show you how everything will fit.
      Happy Decorating!

  2. Reply

    Ashlie Kell

    September 10, 2020


    I moved into a very small house with a long awkward living room. would you help with layout suggestions? Please and thank you!