So what do we do with a room that is long and narrow? The first trick is to fool the eye by painting the short walls dark and the long walls light. The darkened walls will seem to come into the room a bit, making them appear closer and therefore making the room look a bit more in proper proportion.
Next, place a bold print on one or both of those short walls to grab them and pull them in just a bit more. This could be done with either furniture upholstery or a large picture on the wall. Are you an artist? If so, paint a mural on one of those short walls.
Furniture placement will also help alleviate the awkwardness and gangliness of the room’s shape. Don’t put a long sofa on the long wall no matter how well it fits. That will only elongate the appearance of that wall. Instead, float furniture away from the short walls and make that furniture a solid piece, such as a love seat or an oversized chair, depending on what fits.
Along the long wall, place two smaller chairs. This will break up the length of that wall making it appear shorter.
A square or round cocktail table will help make the room less rectangular. Other round items will enhance this idea, such as round end tables, round accessories on the cocktail table, round shaped lamps.
Keep bringing the sides of the room in by adding plants that sit away from those end walls. The focus again will be on the foliage instead of the elongation of the room.
Bring greater lighting in to the center of the room rather than at the ends or the sides. The darker the ends are, the less obvious will be their distance.
If lighting is necessary at the ends of the room, small can lights that sit on the floor and illuminate upwards will do well. Place these lights on the floor in the corners of the room. This lighting will help to open the room at the corners.
On that cocktail table, place interesting objects such as a fabulous orchid or attention-getting books or some other eye-catching item. The idea here is to bring the focus to the center of the room and hopefully ignore its awkwardly long shape.
Mirrors in this room might or might not help. It depends on what the mirror will be reflecting. If it reflects too much business, its only purpose will be to confuse the issue and not really open the room.
An area rug in the center, round, square or odd shaped, will help the look as well as bring the focus into the center.
Odd shaped rooms can be very interesting if decorated with a bit of flair and creativity.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.”