how to dress a long rectangular room of a small house!

jennranMarch 19, 2011


My husband and I are about to purchase our first home. We are looking at a house that has a living and dining area connected (one big room). It is very rectangular. I think it has potential but I don't know what to do with it. There is a fireplace on the wall where the dining room is supposed to be. I feel like if I put a table there is will block the fire place. The people living in it right now have staged it to look like a formal living area facing the fire place then a den with a t.v. further down the room. I want something different. Any suggestions??

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I know this has been discussed on the Decorating Forum, so you might do a search there too.

Those long rooms are hard, and having the fireplace in the dining room is a problem too. Will you be using the fireplace? If not, just block it and don't worry about it.

Also, by blocking, do you mean furniture is up against it, or the table will block the view of the fireplace from the living room?

It would help a lot to see a diagram or pictures. The biggest problem I know of with long rooms is what to do with a long wall.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 1:18AM
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Go here to see a picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of room

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:45AM
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Where is the seller's dining area?

I can show you what it will look like to have a dining table in that space though. I struggle with this room myself though it's not as long as yours. If I have a better picture, I can't find it.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:06AM
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Jennran, I think the first thing you need to do is figure out how you want to use this space.

Do you want a dining area in this room? Do you need a dining area in this room, i.e. is there anywhere else to put a table in the house?

What else will you use this room for? Will it be the main TV watching area, or is there a separate family room? Do yo have kids and will they be using this room and if so, what for? Will this room be used to entertain guests? Will it be used by you and your DH at night, to chat and unwind?

Until you know what you want to do in the room, it will be difficult for you to work out how to arrange it.

That said, you can put the dining area anywhere you want to. My apartment is part of a large old house that was split up into 5 units. I have less than half the original living room as my living room and all of the original dining room as a dining room. Which is all well and good, but the living room is much, much smaller than the dining room. And you enter directly into the living room.

So I'm in the process of switching the living and dining rooms. (Or I will be as soon as I find a dining table I like.) When I'm done, you will enter into a combination foyer/dining room, with a round dining table in the center of the room. The dining room will be a living room, with seating for at least 5 people. Right now, my living room seats 2 comfortably and 2 more perched on hard wood chairs.

It's about making the space you have work for you.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 11:01AM
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I like the idea of a fireplace in the dining room, how wonderful that would be for holiday dinners.

But I would divide that long space up by using the couch as a room divider, with the back of the couch towards the dining room area.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 1:50PM
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My DH's cape up in MA has a 34 foot long x 13 foot wide family room which was previously used as formal dining at the far end. I removed that dining table, since it took up a LOT of space, and there was another smaller dining room just off the kitchen.

The fireplace has a raised hearth, and the firebox is not sunk into the wall, it protrudes into the family room. So this makes the space even narrower. Fortunately, it is almost in the middle of the outside wall, but not quite.

What we did was to use a long sectional. Just one chaise as part of the sectional, and this whole sectional is centered on the fireplace. Instead of ONE coffee table, we have two square glass top tables which can be moved independently. There is a low chair rail around the room, and also molding in the areas above that, which creates sort of picture frames, and in those frames I've hung large classic old travel posters framed, and in between the molding frames, I've mounted swing arm wall lamps which plug into outlets turned on by a wall switch. We still have a round drop leaf table at the end close to the kitchen, but no further eating spots are in the room.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 4:47PM
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In our remodel, the door which was just beyond the 3rd wall lamp was taken out so we could create the master suite. The dining table seating 10 was down there, used only for major holidays. Was not earning its keep, as far as I'm concerned, so out it came. At this time, my two large parrot cages are down there along with a writing table.

Here it is with the Bellawood flooring piled in the empty corner left by the big dining table, all the 20 yr old drapes taken down, and me beginning to paint.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 6:05PM
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As much as it is lovely to think of holiday parties in front of a fireplace, you'll get more use out of it in front of/near sofas or chairs.

Mocassinlanding, I LOVE how you used the long wall to have differentiated spaces for each piece of art....beautiful!!!!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:32AM
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Thank you, Ivyelle! I've had a lot of fun redoing that 1948 cape up in MA. It looks better now that the painting is all done, the flooring put down, the ceiling/floor sheer curtains made and hung.

I think the molding creating frames along the wall tends to break up the length. The "frames" are not centered on the fireplace, so I could not make anything symmetrical. In finding things to hang in the frames, I thought long and hard for something that was the right proportions without being formal or boring. Old travel posters looked pretty good to me. Plus, that piece of ironwork.

Oh yes, the wall beneath the chair rail is now painted Behr's MELTED CHOCOLATE, which always makes me hungry for a hot fudge sundae. hmmmmmmmm.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 6:37PM
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