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Flooring, color and furniture arrangement can separate zones of a lengthy room

July 08, 2013

Hardwood FloorsLong rectangular rooms can be a challenge to decorate, but there are a host of solutions that designers have discovered to create an illusion that evens out the shape of the space. Playing up the room's best features, like the wood floors in Anderson's Cimarron collection and a well-coordinated color scheme, are among the tricks of the trade.

"If you have a long room, you can give it a balanced look by painting one of the walls at the long end a much darker shade of whatever color you choose for the room," wrote designer Kathy Burns-Millyard on "It will bring that one wall closer in, and make the space seem more uniform in shape."

If painting an accent wall isn't to homeowners' liking, but they're big fans of bringing the outdoors inside, they may arrange wall displays of house plants on one end of their narrow rooms. Doing this will have the same effect as painting the wall a darker shade and adds texture to the room design as well.

Regulate traffic
According to, arranging a good flow of foot traffic in a narrow room should be done by keeping the traveling on one side of the space. Having people walk between pieces of furniture is awkward for both the walkers and the home design. Creating natural travel ways between groupings of furniture keeps people on an indoor path that doesn't disrupt conversation or activity areas.

An L-shaped sofa, for instance, forces the eye to seek a way around the sofa and any related pieces such as a coffee table, ottoman or side chair.

Separate activities
One good thing about a lengthy space is that it lends itself to different "zones." While kids play in one area, their parents can stretch out to relax on the sofa elsewhere in the room. Using small rugs to break up activity areas, while leaving some hardwood flooring exposed, is an effective way to separate the zones.

Facing a sofa toward the relaxation spot and away from more active areas makes the separation more pronounced and adds to the coziness of the relaxation zone it designates.

Differentiating sections of a room can also be accomplished by using partial dividers that allow one to see the whole space from end to end. The open design atmosphere is enhanced when shelves have no backing, for instance, to allow the room to be seen beyond the items on display.