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How to: Overcome Common Living Room Design Dilemmas

Not all living rooms are created equally. Some are quirky and charming, others are huge and open. Unless it boasts perfectly symmetrical dimensions and a size that’s just right and scaled to your exact specifications, you’re likely going to encounter some design challenges. Need to figure out one of these common living room dilemmas? We’ve got you covered with living room ideas designed to help you style any room to your own personal level of perfection. 

Arranging Amid Awkward Shaping

There’s a lot to love about unconventional dimensions, but it can make furnishing and design tricky. On one hand, you’ve got all the quirky charm you need. On the other, you’ve got one major dilemma: How are you going to situate everything? Luckily, this common challenge can be solved relatively easily.


  • Create a focal point: Pick a focal point. What that point is depends on your aesthetic and how you use your living room. For example, your focal point could be your big screen television and entertainment center. Or, it could be your gorgeous fireplace or another eye-catching feature. If the focal point involves objects, place them before you do anything else. If it highlights an architectural detail, make sure you keep the area free of any other furnishings that could block it.
  • Consider features and proportions: Take a good look at the proportions of the room to start figuring out what should go where. Start with your largest piece of furniture, which should be placed in the largest part of the room or along the longest wall. Continue arranging the furniture according to size, decreasing as you go.
  • Highlight architectural details: Add mirrors to small or oddly-shaped spaces within the room to add symmetry and make them look larger. Arrange furniture to spotlight architectural details like built-in storage or decorative nooks. 
  • Be a rule breaker: The first rule of living room design? There are no strict rules. Ultimately, you want a space that functions well for you while allowing the room’s character to shine.

Styling Small Spaces

Small spaces can either be cozy or cluttered. It’s all in what you do with the space you have. Either way, tiny rooms can be difficult to set up comfortably. With a few tips and tricks, you can create a living room that makes you want to spend as much time as possible enjoying it. 


  • Let the light in: Let as much natural light in as possible to give your living room open, airy appeal. Bonus tip: Hang those curtains high to give rooms with low ceilings the illusion of height.
  • Add a large mirror: Mirrors create the illusion of more space. Prop it on the mantle, lean it against a wall, hang it — however and wherever you choose to incorporate mirrors, prepare to be wowed by the effect.
  • Play with color: Adding stripes visually expands the space while bright, bold high-gloss paint choices add a luxe appeal that draws people into the space. Want to stay light and bright? You can’t go wrong with all white. 
  • Make a splash: It can be tempting to play it small in tight quarters, but adding one large piece, like an oversized rug or a luxe chandelier can add serious drama. At the same time, when arranging your furniture, keeping it close together adds coziness and intimacy.

Overcoming Oversized Living Rooms

Small living rooms aren’t the only ones that can be tricky to furnish, proving that the grass isn’t always greener. It can be difficult to maintain balance and comfort in oversized spaces. It can also be all too easy for it to lack character or end up looking unfocused and cluttered. One easy way to remedy that is to create multiple focal points using area rugs and seating arrangements to clearly define each one within the room. Need some more ideas?


  • Fill in the blanks: Add potted plants, floor lamps and tall statues for height and interest in otherwise empty corners.
  • Use paint wisely: Paint the walls using two tones to trick the eye into making the ceiling appear lower, adding warmth and coziness to the room.
  • Furniture 101: Arrange furniture away from the walls to create welcoming seating arrangements toward the center of the room. Use those empty walls to add benches for extra seating, gallery walls for showcasing your favorite pieces or oversized artwork to make a splash.
  • Scale up: Add softness to the space by swapping your coffee table for an oversized ottoman. Scale your furniture up to suit the square footage. For example, you might skip the sofa in favor of a large sectional. 
  • Define zones: Adding a luxe lounge, daybed or console table can work wonders for visual separation. Alternatively, you can create rooms within the room using decorative screens, bookcases or curtains hung from the ceiling to fashion an office nook or intimate conversation area with a little added privacy.

Weathering Wall Space Woes

Having lots of windows and doorways is a relatively common living room dilemma. Although it presents its own design challenges, it also gives you unique opportunities to play up some of those features for your own benefit. For example, when possible, create window seats to amp up your seating and add charm to window areas. 

The key to making it all work cohesively is to arrange your furniture away from the walls, using the center of the room as the focal point. This naturally creates a good traffic flow and helps draw the eye into the room. Let the coffee table provide an anchor for the furniture placement. Use the wall space you do have to showcase your favorite selection of artwork. 

Conquering Confusion and Clutter

Small spaces look more cramped and larger ones look messy. Clutter is no one’s friend. A lack of ample storage is one of the more common design challenges, but it’s not the only one that could be contributing to your living room’s untidy appearance. Too much decor and furniture that’s not arranged optimally can create visual confusion. Thankfully, you can cut the clutter with living room ideas that leave your room looking collected and curated.


  • Scale furniture to fit the space. If you’re working with a large room, oversized pieces fit neatly. But don’t try to cram that oversized sectional into your tiny living room. 
  • Have a center point. Arrange the room around a central axis to keep the furniture arrangement look clean and tidy
  • Use multifunctional furniture. Add pieces like storage ottomans, which can pull double duty as furniture and organizational pieces.
  • Free up your shelves. Don’t think of open shelving as storage to avoid the temptation of overfilling it. If you need to use it as such, consider incorporating baskets and sleek boxes on the shelves to prevent things from getting jumbled.


No matter the living room dilemma, CORT Furniture Rental can help. Our large inventory is well stocked with furniture of all sizes, along with artwork, plants and more — all picked to help you outfit your living room in a style you’ll love.