Unleash your creativity and transform your formal living room into a practical, inviting space with our expert tips. Learn how to make a formal living room more usable today!

The formal living room space provides us with the perfect area for entertaining guests and spending holidays with our family. Therefore, most of us go beyond budget to make the formal living room stylish and comfortable.

But how often do we use it? With only a few holidays over the year, we hardly get our money’s worth. For the rest of the time, our beautiful family room simply sits there and collects dust.

How to make a formal living room more usable? Urban living space is usually limited, and everyone needs a few tricks to optimize every inch they have. A formal living room, the same as a den or an office, is less of a bargain than we think and is often considered a poor use of our space.

How to make a formal living room more usable

The good news is you can easily turn the formal family room into a functional space. Better yet, you won’t need the fortune to do that.

In this guide, we’ve gathered some of the best tips and methods for repurposing formal living space.

Check them out.

Why are formal living rooms so popular?

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Formal living rooms are used for family and guest gatherings and celebrations. They are usually very elegant with well-chosen furniture and electronics, and they are very comfortable.

Living rooms turned into a bit of a relic during the 20th century, but their popularity has decreased significantly over time. Most homes, however, come with a large formal setting by default. If this is your case, it is time to consider some better ideas and not waste space.

Here are some awesome suggestions for you and your family:

A personalized family room

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The easiest way to begin is to dedicate a part of your living room to your family. Turn it into a personalized area where everyone gathers in the evening to watch TV and discuss the events of the day. This place can be all about comfort and coziness, unlike the actual living room which is elegant and formal.

Techie families can even consider creating their movie theater or music room, or even a personalized gaming space. A hobby room is never a bad idea!

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If you are even more creative, gather your favorite accessories and souvenirs, and display them in the room. This is the perfect place to arrange favorite family photos or travel memorabilia. Bring in a cute coffee table and turn it into a focal point. Your kids will enjoy spending time there!

A home office

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With most of us working from home, dedicated office space makes perfect sense for any home. Luckily for us, a formal living room provides pretty much everything we need for a perfect working station.

In case you have an open entryway, you may need to add doors. Instead of undergoing renovation, think of simple and removable panels you can reuse in the future.

1-23-1 How to Make a Formal Living Room More UsableImage source: Ellen Weiss Design

In some cases, the formal living room won’t be as large and spacious as you need it to be. Therefore, consider replacing the furniture with small and practical pieces. You can get a desk with extra storage space or a small cabinet for your books and files.

A functional home office also needs proper lighting fixtures. Dining space, on the other hand, usually comes with recessed lighting. We recommend you consider accent lighting and make full use of the available natural light.

Grab a comfy chair and off you go – the office will look perfect!

A private library

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Thanks to an unused family room, homeowners with a passion for reading can finally display all their books. All they would need is a couple of bookshelves, a standalone lamp, and a comfortable chair to relax in the evening. If they have more space, they can even get wall-to-ceiling shelves and display large book collections.

This idea will work even better for students or readers with academic pursuits. They will have their private getaway and not get disturbed by anyone. This could also work well for those who need to study for college or other types of academic or intellectual pursuits.

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The tiny nook will become even cozier with an indoor bench and throw cushions, or even an inviting plant. Go the extra mile and get some custom-built shelves to give the room character. Soon enough, it will turn into your favorite room.

A music room

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Professional musicians can repurpose a formal living room into a performance area. What would be better to practice their songs and entertain their guests? As expensive as musical instruments are, they deserve a room of their own. The only consideration here would be whether the room’s location works for this purpose

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The music room needs to be soundproofed and enclosed, so that other family members or neighbors don’t complain about it. Exposed bricks, for instance, are excellent for noise insulation, and they also give the room a fun note.

A playroom for the kids

Sometimes, the kitchen and family room are simply not large enough for all of your kids’ toys. You can easily turn the adjacent dining room into a children’s playroom, and make sure they can pursue their hobbies.

There are all sorts of creative ideas you can consider, depending on the space you have. Bring in a small homeworking station or some aft for a craft room, or even turn the entire room into an indoor jungle. This is the hotspot for trampolining, video games, or even a mini basketball court. Your kids will adore it.

Remember to add storage space with shelves and cabinets, to accommodate all the books and toys. You can even set up a small tent with sleeping bags for some indoor camping experience.

The ultimate game room

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Are you into playing video games? If so, you will certainly be excited about a private game room where nobody will interrupt you. Use the space to your advantage, and display all those awesome game collections you are proud of. Remember to bring in the game console and some comfortable furniture.

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Video games, however, are not all there is to it. If you like hosting guests in a non-traditional way, use the space for a pool table, a ping pong table, foosball, or anything else that comes to your mind.

If sport is more than a hobby to you, let your medal or trophy be the focal point of the room. There is no better place for it.

A cool home bar area

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With several generations living under the same roof, it gets challenging to entertain guests. To suit everyone’s needs, you can turn at least part of the formal living room into a home bar.

Begin with a wine rack or a stocked bar cart, and plan the space accordingly. You will need a couple of bar stools and a top, ideally accompanied by sophisticated area lighting. To enhance the style, consider hanging fun posters or an elegant mirror. Repainting the walls is also an option to underline the function of the space.

A larger dining room

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You can also use up the space to create a homier atmosphere for your guests. Your guests will have enough space to gather and chat, and the ambiance will be beyond pleased.

This is a great idea if you often invite people over for a meal. Opt for a laid-back, custom table and casual seating, such as indoor benches on both sides. Enhance the room with a music system or a TV on the wall, and this will be the place to be for the next football match.

An additional bedroom

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How about that cozy guest bedroom you always wanted? This trick may require some more time or even renovating skills, but it is worth it.

The guest bedroom will be spacious and easily accessible, and you can even rent it upon need. Install a closable door, bring in all the essentials, and you will be all set to go! If there are further technical aspects to consider, bring in an experienced contractor.

A home theater

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If you like watching movies, you’re no foreigner to the dream of having a movie room at home. For example, you can bring in the flatscreen TV and the coziest sofa you can find, and enjoy an occasional movie night with the family. Or, you can go all-in for the cinema experience!

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Let the creative juices flow and create an impressive movie room. Replace the flatscreen with a projector and an actual pulldown screen. Instead of a sofa, purchase a few single-seaters and arrange them around a cute center table for the snacks and the drinks. Last but not least, grab a few posters from your favorite movies and decorate the boring white walls. Your guest will be impressed.

A hobby room

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Would you rather get a craft room? Then this is exactly the thing your formal living room needs!

Artsy and creative people need space that will inspire them for new projects, be that painting, sewing, knitting, or even simply writing. They will finally have enough space for their craft table, and some extra storage for the projects they’ve already completed.

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Best of all – they will have a private nook where everything is where it belongs, and where no one will interrupt them.

If this sounds like something you would benefit from, move the furniture around as you need it, and make sure the lighting is appropriate. The craft room won’t cost that much, and it may be the place where you create the perfect masterpiece.

A living space that can be repurposed into a guest room

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We don’t always have as much space as we need, so why not give the formal living room a dual role? It can be an entertaining area for the family and a bedroom for overnight guests.

All you would need is a Murphy bed you can open upon need, and perhaps a small closet for the guests to accommodate their belongings. This tip will also help you if you don’t have a dedicated home office or a play zone for the kids.

A home gym

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How about keeping up with your fitness goals at home? Turn the formal living room into an exercise room, and you will be way more motivated to stay in shape.

1-20-1 How to Make a Formal Living Room More UsableImage source: Contemporary Home Gym

Going to the gym can be exhausting, so bring your equipment home and make training fun. Be it that you need strength training machines or a couple of weights, the experience will be great! If you are a Yoga or a Pilates fan, fill the space up with mats, throw cushions, and scented candles. A private meditation corner at your very home is just priceless!

Final thoughts

Now that you know how to make a formal living room more usable, all you need to do is to get creative. You can turn the formal living space into literally any multi-tasking environment. It will be the perfect place to purchase your hobbies and passions.

Interior design ideas like those we discussed rejuvenate the living space and add value to your home. A repurposed formal living room will be a delight for the entire family, and a possibility to entertain guests on a whole new level.

If you liked this article about how to make a formal living room more usable, you should check out this article on arranging a narrow living room.

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