Arranging your living area floor plan

Household 6 min read

Floor plans can be a challenge, especially for apartments and smaller homes. Under ideal circumstances you’ve got all the room you need to create the space you envision. More often, though, unless you’re planning a renovation, you’ve got to work with the space that you’ve got, and that can include working around some very interesting architectural choices. From oddly shaped rooms and random alcoves, to living rooms with galley kitchens and columns that drop straight into the center of the room, there’s no end to the number of curveballs a unique floor plan can throw at you. But there’s opportunity there too. Sometimes our most creative moments can come as we’re finding the right way to deal with an unexpected issue and often the success of your design can hang on the ability to come up with creative and unique solutions to equally unique floor plans. As important as it is, this can be one of the trickier aspects of design, so we’ve gathered a few examples of how great design can light up rooms of all shapes and sizes.

Shape your furniture to fit your space

New York City apartments are a treasure trove of strange and unusual layouts. Take this apartment for example: a long, narrow space with a short galley kitchen that also serves as a living room and dining room, and that leads to a shorter, yet somewhat wider bedroom area. The solution? Custom furniture. Rather than spend time trying to fit enough furniture into the space to create the needed rooms, this renter simply had the furniture custom built. Though perhaps oddly shaped for any other home, the two L-shaped benches seen here are absolutely perfect for this home. The small divide between the two sections creates a distinction between the living and dining areas and the shape provides ample seating while allowing plenty of room for movement. Combine that with a gorgeous art wall and a frankly brilliant use of pattern and color with the cushions and dark walls, and this ordinarily challenging space becomes a how-to for creative decorating with style.

Photo Credit: Genevieve Garruppo

Get creative with storage

From the main room of this apartment, the bedroom is reached through French doors. The room within is benefited by only having to be a bedroom (as opposed to a living room, dining room, and kitchen), but it’s geometrically shaped, creating a number of odd angles for furniture placement and a distinct lack of closet space. This homeowner’s solution was a custom storage piece that attaches directly to the side of the bed. In addition to holding jewelry, art, and other accessories, the unit offers a stylish centerpiece to the room while creating a divide that offers a sense of privacy. If it seems like all of the customization in this home might be cost prohibitive, the entire project was done with just a couple hundred dollars worth of plywood.

Photo Credit: Genevieve Garruppo

Personal space

Storage was definitely addressed with the custom piece in this bedroom, but an area for the bed also needed to be carved out. The homeowner got creative, making use of the storage piece to create a personal retreat. Forming a wall that separates the dressing area from the bedroom, a colorful and relaxing area for rest and relaxation has been carved out to maximize space in the room.

Photo Credit: Genevieve Garruppo (

Go with the flow

Not only is this high-rise apartment long and narrow, it’s also surrounded by windows which run along the length of two sides of the room. The first step this homeowner took was to orient the furniture to go with the length of the room, accentuating its layout rather than trying to use furniture to divide it into smaller spaces like a living and dining room, or setting up smaller pieces that would have visually curtailed its length. Instead of custom pieces, this homeowner found furniture that offered the desired scale and layered them into the design. Notice how the coffee table, chaise lounge, and large wall art are all centered on each other, showcasing the length of the room.

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline (

Windows, windows, everywhere

Walls give you an opportunity to make statements with color, hang wall art, and enjoy additional storage. But when most of your walls are windows, you have to get creative. This homeowner took advantage of one of the room’s large windows, finding space for decorating opportunities. Because every flat surface in a home is an opportunity for design, the architecture here becomes a place for displaying art books and beloved tchotchkes. All little touches that give the home more flavor and character.

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline (


Studio styling

When you have a small floor plan, every space counts. In this studio living room, a console table becomes a perfect place for organization. Books sit atop, while below, a shoe collection is on display. Unique floor plans call for unique solutions just like this.

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline (

Divide and conquer

Homes with an industrial aesthetic are known for leaving the possibilities—and the spaces—wide open. To create the rooms that they needed, these Washington, D.C., homeowners made a lot of smart decisions, especially with regard to their use of rugs. Rugs are an excellent tool to use in open-plan spaces to create definition and separation between rooms. Here, three distinct rooms are visible. The living room dominates the space with the large sofa and area rug. Behind it, the homeowners created an office space, complete with its own cowhide rug. Finally, a dining area was also fit into the space.

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline (

Place furniture strategically

Up a small flight of steps from the living room is a mini-loft which serves as this home’s bedroom. The space is wide but short. There is no door to separate it from the rest of the home and the short wall that defines one side of the room is open to the main room at the top. The homeowners chose to line their bed up with the wall in order to provide some privacy from the stairwell. To characterize the space they layered patterns from the rug to the bed linens, with a pop of bright color coming from the bright-orange blanket. The wall also became a place for bedroom storage which adds a welcome dash of green to the neutral color palette.

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline (

Maximize every corner

In a loft space, which is open plan with very few nooks, you have to maximize every part of the space. Here, a corner in the makeshift bedroom also doubles as a gallery wall where small art pieces help to define the space. A large, wall-length mirror adds functionality and visually extends the space. Add in a stylish chair, a simple, yet fetching side table, and a few accessories and just like that a floor-plan-challenged area can become the place you most want to be at the end of a long day.

Photo Credit: Patrick Cline (

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