Art, rugs, plants help strike balance in ‘bowling alley’ living room

This living room looks long and narrow. A few style tricks will help draw the eye to the sides of the room.

I recently moved into a new place and bought two open-style sofas for the living room to create a cosy but formal look. Now the room looks like a bowling alley. What can I do to fix this?
Tamara McCarthur,
Toronto

Creating a symmetrical look with furnishings is an easy way to add a formal touch to any room. In your case, the positioning of the two couches guide the eye directly to the plain windows at the end of the room, creating the bowling alley effect.

With no options of rearranging the sofas, try to find ways to divert the eye from going all the way to the end of the room. You can do this by adding a few interesting and useful accessories that  make the eye go from side to side rather than to the end of the room.

Here are a few suggestions:

Layered rugs not only look cool but can allow you to use a favourite too-small rug by laying a larger one underneath.

A large horizontal striped 8-by-10-foot rug will help draw the eye across the room and make it look wider than it is. Now the room will have a size-appropriate rug while still incorporating your cool but smallish hide rug.

One heavy wall of coloured art will quickly draw the eye to one side of the room rather than immediately to the end of the room. I suggest hanging the large print to the left of the room, then adding many small art pieces opposite to keep both walls filled. Other red accents, such as glass vases, candles and throws, will help add a bit more colour into the room.

Place something airy in the corner to round out the room. A whimsical tall plant, étagère or art easel will help. When you fill in the corners of a room you’ll then help shorten the space into a better proportion.

Consider an art easel holding a tiny, bright-coloured painting or becoming the stand for a plasma television… different, interesting and unique!

A not too heavy looking display or serving table in front of the window to display flowers, framed photos or use for serving when guests visit will anchor the end of the room by saying ‘look at me first.’

The one you have looks a bit dark, heavy and plain. Painting it in a pale grey finish and topping it with glass will give it an airy look.

Got a design dilemma? Email your question and a photo to: home@metronews.ca. For daily design advice, follow @KarlLohnes on Twitter.



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