So many of us have living rooms that are going unused. They’re styled to be magazine-ready scenes that look lovely, where we sit, perched precariously on uncomfortable furniture while we host a book club or a Christmas party a few times a year, and it’s the room we definitely don’t let our children go into.
Here’s the thing, though: Formal living rooms, or grand salons, first came to be in the 1600s, and, while they’ve had a good run, they’re just not necessary for most of us. Modern home plans are phasing out the formal living room in favor of open living areas with extra flex spaces being styled as home offices or playrooms, and older homes are being redesigned to follow suit. It’s time to say good-bye to the formal, unused living room, and repurpose your space into an area that works for you and your family.
Not sure where to get started? No worries, here are some ideas to inspire you to turn your unused living room into your favorite part of the house!
What Room Do You Want?
The first thing I want you to do is ask yourself, “When I move to a different house, I want it to have a room specifically for…” and fill in the blank. Maybe you want a workout space, a home office, library, or an area you can devote to homeschooling.
Next, ask yourself, “What’s stopping me from turning my living room into my dream room?” The majority of responses will be, “The living room is the first place people see when they walk in my home, I don’t want it to look bad!” That’s totally understandable, but I want to assure you that with the right decor, furnishing, and storage solutions, any room can look amazing! Even a workout room or a playroom.
An Adult Family Room
If you have a formal living room, you probably have a family room, too. This is where the kids’ toys, the comfy but broken-in furniture, and maybe even a bean bag chair dwell. Not really an adult sanctuary, is it?
Instead of unwinding with a glass of wine at the end of a long day in the same room as all your kids’ toys, turn your formal living room into a place you can relax at the end of the day! You can blend your favorite design style with comfort and functionality easily. I love the modern, rustic elegance when combining this sleek Oda Sectional Sofa and Mario Cocktail Table that provides effortless storage when you add a few charming baskets to the bottom shelf.
If you have a fireplace, install a slim cabinet over it for your television and flank bookshelves on each side so you can curl up and watch a show or read! No fireplace? Not a problem – a pretty hutch does double duty as television and media storage along with being decorative, too!
Home Office That Works
According to a recent Global Workplace Analytics study, approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is able to telecommute, while 25 percent of the workforce works remotely frequently. With the trend shifting toward remote work, the home office is more desirable than ever.
Even if you just need a place to pay bills, do paperwork, and file important documents, a home office can make that a pleasant, efficient chore, unlike trying to do it at the kitchen island where you’re interrupted and coffee gets spilled on the insurance statements.
Converting your living room to a home office is easier than you think! With many living rooms offering large windows, you can position your desk and chair in front of it to enjoy the sunlight while you work. Keeping paperwork neat and tidy in file boxes stored in an attractive hutch, and if you to host a meeting at home, a sophisticated sofa, like this Grover sofa, makes an inviting place for visitors.
A Central Hub for Homeschooling
Whether you are a full-time homeschooling family or you just want a central location where your kids can do their homework in a distraction-free zone, converting your unused living room into a homework/homeschool hub is a great use of your space if you have children. Even better, you can do it without making it look like a classroom.
The key to a lovely, organized school space is storage. Wall space is often plentiful in a formal living room, so use it! A wall unit of built-in cubes and shelving for books and stylish baskets makes it so simple to keep your materials organized, while adding beauty to your home. Built-in shelving can also be placed under windows to store larger items, while bright, soft pillows and cushions can be placed on top to create cozy reading areas.
What about when they need to get work done? Instead of desks, select a large dining table such as the Sean dining table so you can teach lessons and let everyone stretch out to do their work. However, if you’d prefer everyone had their individual spaces, try using small side tables!
A Spa-Like Home Gym
The hardest conversion is taking a formal living room and repurposing it into a workout room. While having a space to work out would be great, no one wants their main focal point of a room to be a treadmill! Think of it more like this: by creating a lovely, energizing space, you’re more likely to want to spend time in there, meaning you’ll be more likely to work out. That’s always a good thing, right?
First, paint the room a cool, energizing shade, such as pale, watery blue, soft lilac, or a bright gray-white, like Benjamin Moore’s Paper White. And, like any other room, storage is necessary for small items like a rolled up yoga mat or small dumbbells, while a large, closet or wardrobe-style storage set-up would be great for a folding treadmill.
Furnish your home workout space with a few lush, green plants to purify the air and a soft, natural rug with a non-slip surface underneath. While you can absolutely add a small sofa or chairs, make sure that you have space to move when you do your workout!
No matter if you want to keep your formal living room and update it, or you want to repurpose it into a room you’ve been dreaming of, Interior Designs by Tiffany has what you need! Shop the wide selection of furnishings and pick your favorite pieces, or if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, I can provide interior design services! Contact me today to learn more, and subscribe to my newsletter for more helpful tips and the latest sales information!