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Make a long, narrow space into an inviting home design for different activities

March 05, 2014

Plank Hardwood FloorsCreating a room design for a long rectangular space can be a vexing problem for home decorators. But creating different activity areas while tying them together with features like the wood floors in Anderson's Bryson Plank collection is one way to even out the shape of the room. Using wall colors for the same purpose is another alternative.

In a long room, a balanced look can be achieved by painting one of the walls at the long end a much darker shade of the room's main color. Doing that will create the impression that the darker wall is closer and make the space seem more uniform in shape.

For homeowners who like to bring the outdoors inside for their decor, a series of shelves displaying house plants will create the same focus as a darker accent color on a far wall. The same effect can be created with a book-lined wall or floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with collectibles. These approaches will also add texture to the home design.

If colors are kept in proportions that are nearly equal between walls, draperies and upholstery, there's less chance that one color will dominate the room. Accessories in bright colors can be used to complement furnishings, or darker colors may be chosen for area rugs to anchor the room without overpowering the overall space.

Plan seating first
One good thing about a lengthy space is that it lends itself to different activity areas. It helps to plan out seating areas first and arrange other pieces around sofas and chairs. Then while kids play in one designated zone, their parents can stretch out to relax on the sofa elsewhere in the room.

Using small rugs to break up the sections, while leaving some flooring exposed between them, is an effective way to separate the zones. To make a relaxation zone more cozy, it helps to face a sofa away from more active areas and make the separation as a "getaway" spot more pronounced.

According to, the awkwardness of walking between pieces of furniture in a narrow room can be eliminated by creating space for foot traffic only on one side of the room. 

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, which allows the room to be seen beyond the items on display.