What To Do with an Awkward Living Room

What to do with an awkward living room? A few months ago I wrote about long and narrow living rooms which has turned into one of my most read blog posts. That post focused on living rooms where the fireplace is on the center of the long outside wall of the room with two doorways leading in that are not centered and the challenges of creating a floorpan centered around the fireplace.  A few weeks ago, reader Kathy asked what to do when the fireplace is on one of the narrow end walls. So – here are my thoughts for an awkward living room layout.

In this example, the living room is approximately 11FT x 24FT L. There are still two off center entry doors – one from the front door entry and the other from a back hall.

 Awkward living room fireplace on end dollhouse view


In this scenario below, I’ve included a TV set opposite the fireplace, tucked in behind the rear door. On the plus side – there are two focal points that are easily viewed – the fireplace and the TV set. On the negative side – when entering from the front door of the house (left hand door below) the room is essentially blocked by the backs of the barrel chairs. Not very welcoming.Awkward living room two entrances


Awkward living room perspective fireplace at one end

Moving one of the barrel chairs to the other side of the sofa would make entering the room easier and more welcoming – but does block the fireplace somewhat. (Pro-Tip: Swivel chairs are a huge bonus in these situations.) In reality – the clients whose house I based on this floor plan on (showcased here) never actually use their official front door of their house. Guests all come in a side door and nearly 100% of the time enter the living room through the rear door of that space. So keeping the front entry door closed at all times and effectively blocking it isn’t a terrible idea with the awkward living room space.

Awkward living room moving chair


Here is another floor plan idea. In this case, I rotated everything 90 degrees and am putting the tv above the fireplace. (Personally, I don’t love tv’s in more formal living room spaces but most do like them so here it is!).Given the height of the tv, the sofa is pushed back so the angle isn’t so bad. The room is centered but it blocks the rear entry door. In this scenario, the front entry door would have to be the primary point of entry.

Awkward Living room tv over fireplace dollhouse


Awkward Living room tv over fireplace from fireplace

Pesonally, I don’t think this is as effective a solution for this space but I’d love to hear your thoughts?

Awkward Living room

 Awkward Living room tv over fireplace straight


Linda Merrill Awkward Living Room Layout Design Service


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10 thoughts on “What To Do with an Awkward Living Room”

  1. Hi Linda,

    Your post is helpful but my layout is slightly different than your example. If you have the fireplace on the left small wall, I have an entry way into the kitchen instead of a window. The windows are flipped on the opposite side and where the bay window i, that is where my front door is. What would you recommend so that the flow is not interrupted by people walking in front of the tv between the two windows and the couch on the opposite wall?

  2. Living room has fireplace centered on long wall. On both sides of the fireplace there are openings to our dining room. From our front door, you turn slightly left and essentially walk into the living room (the staircase is directly in front of you from the front door). If you are at the front door, the front of the house wall has an off center window. The wall opposite the fireplace has an opening in the center that leads to a hallway; it also has a couple weird corners so it’s not easy to put anything up against it. It is sort of like a hallway. If you follow along this wall to the end it will lead to one more opening which takes you into the kitchen. My idea is to split the living room into 3 parts with the center being a ‘floating’ seating area but I’m not sure about the walls at each end. I want to include some sort of flat space that we can use for displaying things or my kids can color, we also need storage for games and lastly a space for our keyboard/piano. It’s 23 x 13.

  3. As always, Linda, you give practical solutions to frequent pain points that many of us have in our homes. Thanks for demonstrating the options so well!

  4. Hi Linda! Your post could not have been more timely. We are moving (today!) into a home with a long and narrow living room (13×22), with the added complication of having a wood stove in a corner. The floor plan is that the room has one entrance, an archway into a hall at the left end; a picture window on the long front wall; another window on the short wall opposite the archway; and the stove in the upper right corner, between the long back wall and the short right side wall. Any thoughts you have about how to work with this space (especially the stove!) would be much appreciated! Thank you so much —

    • Hi Carolyn – congrats on your new home! That does sound like a challenge! I’ll be continuing this “awkward living room” series as it seems to be a universal challenge!


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