Reimagine Your Formal Living Room

{The following is my June/July 2016 Her Decor column with HerMind Magazine:}

Do you use all of every room in your house? Or, are any rooms designated by the builder for a function you don’t necessarily need – and as a result are rarely used? Formal living rooms, dining rooms and guest rooms often sit empty. What a shame!

Why not reconsider how you use rooms and design them to work for your lifestyle? For example, your formal living room is never used; ask yourself what you’d most like to have space to do in your home and then consider using your living room for that.

Here are some ideas for transforming an underused room into a more functional space for your lifestyle:

Add a desk or two and use the room for quiet study, computer space and for organizing everyone’s homework/paperwork. Attractive storage will help the room look its best when guests arrive.

Many ‘70s-era living rooms featured wet bars. Why not bring this trend back? You probably entertain your friends at your kitchen island. Install a bar and a pub table and you’ve got an instant entertaining space, away from the kitchen.

Install a wall of bookshelves and you’ll finally have one place for all those books. Add a pedestal table surrounded by comfy chairs, and you’ll have a spot for reading or for rainy day card games or puzzles. The spot could be perfect for your book club or a wine tasting.

Invest in that piano you’ve been wanting and buy a pair of wingback chairs for listeners to relax in. Make space for your family’s musical instruments, stands and music books. If you have a record collection this is a great room to display and play those.

Whatever you do, don’t let rooms in your home go unused. Think outside the room so that your home will meet your needs – not the intentions of the builder.