R.I.P. formal living room

| Thursday, November 18th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

The formal living room is becoming as popular as Christmas music in October. More and more of my clients are telling me they prefer homes without a formal living room because they feel they just don’t get used enough and are a waste of space. And coming from someone who has one, I can completely agree.
Some builders have wised up and replaced the formal living room with an oversized living room or “great room.” This usually comes in the form of a kitchen that flows nicely into a very large gathering room. This seems to suit most people’s lifestyles better. I’m not saying there aren’t those of you out there who use that formal living room for entertaining or for a quiet sitting area but I think 4 out of 5 of my last clients have said they’d prefer not to have one (I sound a little like a toothpaste commercial…the kind that says 9 out of 10 dentists prefer Colgate). However, many homes still have formal living rooms so what are you gonna do? Well, here’s what I’ve seen people do with them:

  1. game room (I personally have a pool table in mine)
  2. homework room or library
  3. kids toy room
  4. video game room
  5. craft room

Now the key with changing it into one of the above is to do it tastefully (except don’t use mine as an example if you’ve ever been to my house). Normally this is one of the first rooms you see as you enter the house so there’s a fine line between making this more of a creative room and keeping it from being an eyesore. If you make it a toy room or craft room, please go buy shelves and cute cubbies so that when people do come over you have a quick and easy way to hide all those army guys, littlest pet shop toys or scrapbooking tools. If you make it a video game room, do your best to hide all the cords and wires and clean up the cans of Red Bull from the late night gaming sessions. A library or homework room is a little easier to keep simple and might even make you look like one of those intellectual families.

Bottom line: if you have to settle on a home with a formal living room, at least there are other ways to utilize that space.

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2 Comments

  1. Sheila says:

    It’s about time we’ve all wised up and realized the living room is a waste. But, if I had to have one I’d have one like yours — with a pool-table. Hands-down the most creative living room I’ve seen to date.

    Remember the “conversation corner?” The special place within the special living room to gather with friends for a more intimate chat. My parents still have this semi-cool black table in their “conversation corner.” I may just crack a Red Bull and chill in the “conversation corner” sometime during my visit next week.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Cara In the House!

  2. Dan Holmen says:

    Very disappointed that home CrossFit gym didn’t make the list! Better reinforce the floor though. Otherwise I think a home pub is the way to go.

    The formal dining room seems like a good room to repurpose too.

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