Dealing with a Quirky Living Room

Ever since we moved into our circa 1875 house sixteen years ago, I’ve struggled with the living room. It’s somewhat long and narrow and has a lot of doorways in it. It’s stuck in the center of the floor plan so you really have to think about traffic patterns in this room.

Living Room

The living room is joined to the family room on the left, with a door to the laundry room on the right. To get from any room to the staircase, you have to walk through the living room.


So I’ve tried to designate the traffic pattern with furniture placement. And that’s a challenge because wall space is limit.


There’s no way a couch will fit in this long narrow room. So I’ve settled on comfy chairs and a love seat.


To pull all the pieces together, I’ve added a script bamboo floor mat. You’ve probably seen this same style floor mat in my dining room. I love them!


I decided I don’t really like a curtain on this window.
I prefer to let the sun shine in without obstruction.



When hubby leaves his guitar out … it becomes a prop for photos.


I have several cigar boxes laying around. Some I’ve altered and some are plain.


I picked up this basket about a week ago and added some textured balls.


Puddy likes to position himself in the photos whenever he can.


And so this is one end of my funky, oblong living room in the middle of the house.
Stay tuned to see the other end, which is even more challenging when it comes to furniture placement.

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  1. I love your decorating style and that script mat.

    I have a square living room with no solid walls – doorways, windows, fireplace – and it makes decorating a challenge. I would love a sofa facing the fireplace, but nothing would fit.

    I’m waiting to see the other end.

  2. Love the patina on the stair treads. Lovely quirkiness too.
    Puddy is gorgeous!

  3. My living room is long and narrow, too, so I’m very interested to see how you’ve solved this decorating challenge. I love what you’ve done with this side; it looks like such a cozy place in which to curl up and read or have an intimate conversation.

  4. I love your beautiful, old home! Thanks for coming by and leaving such a kind comment on my mixing bowl collection.

  5. Jennifer,
    Oh I love this room and those stairs and window with natural light so beautiful. I think you have done a great job with what you have to work with. I love it. It is comfy and inviting and so so pretty.

  6. Jennifer, I luv this room. So cozy. I want to just plop in that chair by the staircase…
    Cheers, Gee

  7. It looks so comfortable. I would want to stop and read a book or rest awhile.

  8. Your home is lovely!

  9. I find the placement of rooms very unique. It adds to the charm of your home. 🙂

  10. Lovely so far! Very cozy!

    I have the same dilemma in my 1890 home. My living room is square with 3 single doors on 3 walls and 1 double French doorway plus double windows and a weird former chimney from another room. I need some ideas.

    Can’t wait to see the rest of you lovely room!

  11. The room is gorgeous. Love all your touches and the blue and white. x

  12. hello Jennifer … Looks lovely and I think you have met your challenge with the odd shaped room. I love the floor mats and need one for my front porch. Where can I find them?
    Audrey Z.
    Timeless Treasures

  13. While I understand that to you they are a challenge, from here the quirks are adorable. (but then you’ve worked hard to make them so, obviously. It worked!) That staircase always gets me. I am fascinated by it. All your touches are so sweet and come together so perfectly. What a warm and wonderful home. You’ve handled its quirks with amazing style.

  14. Your living room looks like a wonderful, bright place to curl up with a book.

  15. I think it is just lovely the way you have it all arranged, but can’t wait to see the other end to get a feel of the traffic flow:)

  16. Jennifer,

    Thanks for dropping by and visiting! I adore the colors and decor of your home. The guitar makes a great prop! Your room is light and airy! Now off to look at the rest of your charming home!

  17. I think you’ve addressed the issues very well, Jennifer, for the challenges this room presents to you. I think you need to use furniture that you think fits, so if that means no sofa and a loveseat instead, who’s to say it’s wrong. Love the touch of your hubby’s guitar propped there by the stairs. I have my old {old} one here that my son plays around on when he visits. It is propped in a corner in our guest room.

  18. I love your home and the way you decorate everything is so lovely. I think the chair and loveseat is perfect. I use a loveseat too and it works great for me. Gotta do what you gotta do. Beautiful room. Hugs, Marty

  19. Oh my goodness…I am IN LOVE with your home…so peaceful. Love the stack of boxes…great details!!

  20. It’s so pretty. I love the colors and the character of the stairs and the bead-board. The coziness and the interesting angles is reminiscent of a home library or reading nook. I also look forward to the other side.

  21. Our family room is big but provides many of the same challenges that yours does. Those challenges have prevented me from purchasing a new couch for fear it won’t work right.


  22. You home is beautiful!

  23. What a beautiful room Jennifer! LOVE the color on your walls too! Puddy is so cute!

  24. Jennifer, Your decor is so soft and inviting. I love the blue wall and the stenciled rug. Puddy….is the perfect addition. Have a delightful weekend. Bonnie

  25. I have rooms like that and our house is brand new! I cannot wait to see what’s on the other end! It’s beautiful!



  26. I love how serene the room seems to be. It sends good vibes, no matter how hard it was for you to deal with this living-room. I love the picture of Puddy!

  27. It’s a beautiful room with lots of charm.

  28. I can see how it would be a challenge, I don’t like rooms that are not much more than pass-throughs. I like my rooms to be destination rooms instead, but that would be in a perfect world or house as the case in point.
    You do have a really attractive style, so that everything looks beautiful.
    Hugs, Cindy

  29. Hey! You’ve solved the problem with your living room very well: it looks so cozy! And I love all the nice accessories … but puddy is very decorative! I am glad that I found your blog. I love him! Best wishes,

  30. I can see how furniture arrangement would be hard to figure out in your living room, but you definitely got it! 🙂

  31. It’s beautiful! I love the big, comfy looking chairs. I use my husband’s guitar for photo props, too 🙂 And I’m loving that mat!! Ah – I want one like it!

  32. Jennifer, I just LOVE this room, especially all the light coming in from the window on the stairs! And Puddy is as cute as can be! Love your home!

  33. I think you’ve done a great job arranging furniture in a difficult space. It definitely can be challenging, but you created a cozy little seating area at that end of the room.
    Mary Alice

  34. I think you’ve done a great job with this awkwardly shaped room. I love that staircase with the window as it has so much character. I guess I’m wondering where the front door is. Perhaps I’ll find out in the next post. 🙂 Beautiful!

  35. I can see how that room can be a challenge for you, Jennifer! But you placed the furniture just beautifully! With the light shining in that window, it’s such a bright, happy room! 🙂

    xoxo laurie

  36. In spite of the “awkward” space you decorated it very warm and cosy. Great job! have a googd sunday, Pascale

  37. your blog is so wonderful

  38. Even your funky spaces look wonderful! You always inspire Jennifer.

  39. You’ve done a wonderful job – it looks absolutely delightful, cozy, and welcoming!

  40. What have you for a wonderful blog! Nice that we found each other! Love, Carmen

  41. I can so relate to this. The house we just moved from was built in 1914 and talk about an awkward living room to arrange. I think I rearranged the room every 6 months for the first 5 years we lived there, at least. Nothing like the charm of an old house though, yours is beautiful!


  42. Wow, your style is impeccable.

  43. It’s all beautiful! and I love your handsome Puddy. My girls are rockin’ the www today too!

  44. Love your style and your ability to decorate awkward spaces and make it look so special. Love Puddy too!:)


  45. Love what you’ve done! So encouraging as I have an awkward space too…it can be done! Now following you!

  46. I always say “work with what ya got!” You have done an excellent job with an awkward space. I LOVE those cigar boxes!

    Jenna @

  47. What ever you’re doing – keep doing it because it all looks wonderful! Your home is so inviting and cozy – but (and I am soooo not a cat person), the cutest photo on this post has to be that CAT! What a character!!!

    Thanks for sharing,

  48. I love the floor mat!

  49. Love the staircase, did you guys change the finish yourselfs? I know what it is like to have to work with traffic patterns. I sometimes feel like my house is one long bowling alley! This side of the room looks great, so bright and airy, and I will stay tuned for the other side.

    New follower.

  50. I recently discovered your blog, and I love your style. While it is obvious that you know the history of your home better than I do, I wonder if your living room was originally built with the intention of being a foyer. The fact that homes of that day often had large foyers combined with the front door and stairs being in your living room with access to all the other rooms in the house including a living/family area made me think of it. My friend has a historic home, and her huge foyer has several of the characteristics of your living room (although she also has a grand staircase.) Regardless of its actual intention, I think it works well as a lovely reading area, and I think you have done a wonderful job arranging the space.

  51. I have just discovered your blog too! Firstly, I must say you have fabulous taste – have you ever done an interior decorator course? Secondly, your cat on the stairs is gorgeous – that photo would look lovely in a frame!!! Thirdly, I love the seating area against the stairs – it’s like a little reading nook – sooo cosy!!! Fourthly, the colours you have chosen are terrific, what a fabulous base for presenting all the little bits and pieces you have collected. I could keep going on here but won’t bore you!!! Well done, I’m subscribing to keep up with all your “doings”!!! 🙂

  52. Congratulation, your blog is very nice, and full of ideas!!! Bianca

  53. Janice Coates says:

    Where did you find the script rugs? I love those!!

    I also have a very long narrow living room with a lot of windows, doors & a fireplace! Makes it very hard to place your furniture!



  54. I love your decorating style. Since you have a family room, you could also just use the living room as an entry. Put a old farm table in the center with some wonderful farm flowers and perhaps a lovely wingback chair for mail sorting etc. It would look beautiful and you would have your entry. Love your house by the way. So jealous.

  55. Your home is very welcoming and airy…so comfy cozy. I love your uses of stools but in place of a stool maybe a small wooden step ladder,of course painted white with the treads perhaps the blue that you have used on the walls and one of my fav’s farmhouse wire baskets..maybe in the kitchen holding fruits or tomatoes..and lets not forget the napkin draped in the basket before the contents..Ya know many many years ago,possibly 15 years an episode of Decorating Cents,which was one of my all time fav’s because they used such a small amount of $$ they did a Country Christmas that was just fabulous. They use an old sled for a Christmas tree Stand and used Burlap to make the bows out of..I fell in love and did it that year for Christmas. Every year I do something different,everyone came in to ld me how disappointed they were in my choices that year..then suddenly the sled idea became very popular and the uses of burlap went crazy., Then those who were so disappointed in my choices,chose sleds and burlap..even a few did the burlap curtains..I am glad I did it my way because it was sure nice to sit back smile..Keep up the great work and thank you for the time you give us..You do make a difference!

  56. love your pics!!! angie from germany

  57. Hi Jennifer. I just found your beautiful blog and am now a follower. I love what you’ve done with your living room; so charming. I’d love it if you’d share it at my monthly blog party Every Room In The House. This month we’re partying in The Living Room, and your living room would be such an inspiration.

  58. Absolutely gorgeous! Can you please tell me what (blue) paint color your living room is? Thank you very much!!

  59. I know you’ve told us somewhere before, but where did you purchase the bamboo mat? Looking for one for my sunroom. Thanks!

  60. maricela says:

    I absolutely love the color of your living room. It is exactly what I am looking for. Can you please send me the color name?

  61. Rosemary Jarrett says:

    Love the sofa cover. Where did you get and what’s the name of color? THANKS1

  62. Love your house and everything that you ‘ve done with it so far. Your doing a magnificent job! Your layouts are great and it all looks so comfy and inviting. I’m a very, very big fan of old houses and yours is just fantastic! Keep up the great work!!

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