How Our Interior Designers Tackled 6 Awkward Room Layouts To Achieve Better *Flow*

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on May 3, 2022

An awkward room layout is the design curveball to end all design curveballs — and we say this as industry professionals. It takes a keen eye and an open mind to create a space that feels free-flowing and natural when there’s a massive slanted wall or an awkward column in the middle of the room.

But, fear not — we’ve had loads of practice waging war against the dreaded awkward room layout, from living spaces and dining rooms to bedrooms, bathrooms, and offices. With a few designer tricks, you can turn your long, narrow living room into an intimate conversation room (without losing your mind).

Ahead, we share how our expert Havenly designers employed life-saving layout hacks to transform these real-life client spaces:

1. The Guest Room Slash WFH Office

Awkward living room layout ideas

When a small guest bedroom needs to have dual-functionality, sometimes you have to break a few design rules. We always recommend centering the bed in the room (and so does a Feng Shui expert), but here, placing the bed in the corner makes space for a vitally important WFH setup. While the owner did have to sacrifice a second night stand, the desk and comfy chair add a sense of balance.

2. The Open-Concept Apartment

Awkward living room layout ideas

To make the most of minimal square footage in an open-concept apartment, start by creating distinct “rooms” with area rugs and furniture. And don’t shy away from a layered furniture moment — go ahead and layer tall bookcases or shelving behind a sofa. Not only does it add much-needed storage, the arches provide a sense of architectural interest while the height helps draw the eye upward to create the illusion of a larger space.

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3. The Awkward Center Column

Awkward living room layout ideas

Designing around an awkward (but pretty) column is a design challenge for the ages. Rather than leaning furniture against said column, avoid it entirely and create a separate conversation area with a spacious sectional. Keep the walkways open and let the column breathe, instead of trying to camouflage it with furniture.

4. The Tiny Studio Apartment

Awkward living room layout ideas

Leave it to a studio space to present 10-plus design challenges in a 300-square-foot room. Here, we created some much-needed visual separation with wallpaper, artwork, and bold upholstery. Remember: furniture doesn’t have to line the walls — float a small sofa or loveseat in the middle to create the illusion of separate rooms. Finally, a strategically-placed plant behind the sofa creates a gentle break between the two spaces. 

5. The Long, Narrow Living Room

Awkward living room layout ideas

Many older homes have awkward, narrow living room layouts that require a bit of creativity. Instead of trying to make the space work in a traditional sense, we separated the above living room into two spaces: a lounge area and a dining area. That way, every square inch of the space is utilized and you’ve nearly tripled your seating. 

6. The Home Office Slash Living Room

Awkward living room layout ideas

Home offices are popping up everywhere in our post-pandemic world, and even living rooms aren’t immune. Here, we went with a low-profile desk behind a floating sofa in place of a standard console table, while the symmetrical bookshelves on either side of the credenza add some much-needed visual balance. Genius (if we do say so ourselves)!

Want expert advice on your actual space, straight from an interior designer? Check out our design packages to work with a design pro one-on-one.

Words by Kelsey Clark