Say goodbye to the formal living room

One of the trends we’re seeing in new home building is the disappearance of the formal living room. Gone are the days of entertaining guests in a prim and proper atmosphere, serving tea on uncomfortable couches and engaging in stuffy conversation. Nowadays, everyone tends to gather in the kitchen/open family room space to chat informally while snacking on hors d’ouerves and watching the big game or celebrating a birthday. It might be time to say goodbye to the formal living room.

If your home has a formal living room space the conundrum is what to do with this often underused space. Here are some ideas for transforming your formal living room into a more functional space that meets your family’s needs and entertaining style:

  • Homework station/office space. Add a desk or two and use this room for quiet study, and to organize everyone’s homework/paperwork. Park the family computer at a desk and you’ll find the kids drawn into the room like moths to a flame.
{Turn your living room into a spacious office. From Duo Ventures.}

{Turn your living room into a spacious office. From Duo Ventures.}

  • Bar. Many ‘70s era homes all featured wet bars in their living rooms. Why not bring this trend back? You probably entertain your friends at your kitchen island and offer them a beer. Install a bar, and a pub table, and you’ve got an instant entertaining space, away from the kitchen.
  • Library. Get a wall of bookshelves and you’ll finally have somewhere to store all the books you’ve been meaning to read. Add a pedestal table and some big, comfy chairs around it and you’ll have a spot for reading, or for quiet activities like a card game or a family puzzle project on a rainy day.
{A library in the living room is a great use of space for reading or conversation. From Architectural Digest.}

{A library in the living room is a great use of space for reading or conversation. From Architectural Digest.}

  • Music room. Invest in that piano you’ve been wanting and buy a pair of wingback chairs for listeners to relax in. Who knows, maybe your kids will be inspired to pick up another instrument and now you’ll finally have room for that trombone.
{Music anyone? A piano and drums in your living room turn it into an often-used music room! From Apartment Therapy.}

{Music anyone? A piano and drums in your living room turn it into an often-used music room! From Apartment Therapy.}

Whatever you do, don’t let your formal living room space go unused. Think about what type of room you and your family need and create it in your living room. Think outside the room so that your home will meet your needs — not the intentions of the builder.

April Pardoe