Living in the Northeast we tend towards the “traditional” when it comes to our homes. One of the most traditional spaces you’ll find is the “formal” Living Room, usually located close to the Front Door. This area is where so much of our home life happens … or not.
There are tons of ideas of how to use this space to fit your lifestyle whether it’s lounging, storing, playing, entertaining or re-purposing because you have other space you use more frequently. No matter what the case, you should create a space that you love spending time in, but will also resonate with buyers down the road.
Depending on your home layout, your living room can serve many functions. If you have a separate family room, the living room is often a formal sitting area or parlor used for reading, relaxing and entertaining guests. If it’s the only living space you have, it’s also used for watching TV, playing games and spending time with family and friends. Regardless of its purpose, any good space has comfortable seating, a coffee table and a focal point such as a fireplace, entertainment center or picture window offering a view of the outside world.
If your living room is your primary gathering area it will most likely serve several purposes. Here are some things to think about – it’s important to incorporate plenty of storage to accommodate all of your “goodies”. Options range from built-in bookshelves and cabinets to freestanding, decorative pieces. Don’t be afraid to have some fun and infuse the space with your personality through color, rugs, artwork, curtains & lighting. Just keep in mind that when it’s time to sell, neutral works best so colorful accessories may be the way to go instead of flashy paint colors.
If the majority of your time is spent in a separate Family Room the question of how to use the “formal” living room often arises. Here are some of the most popular ideas:
* Move your Dining Room into your Living Room. If you entertain large groups of people, this will allow you to open your table a little more and often times take advantage of a fireplace or pretty view, while enjoying friends and family over a holiday or celebratory meal. If that leaves you with a smaller, unused Dining Room – you can turn that into a cozy office or library.
An at-home office, especially if you are one of the many people who now telecommute. Since this space is usually separate from the rest of the house it can offer some peace & quiet and make for ideal working conditions. The addition of French doors can give it a feeling of privacy.
Along the same lines as an office, a library or reading area is a popular choice. This would be easy to set up, especially if you already have furniture. You can arrange it as cozy reading groups and then if you need the room for company, shift the furniture back for entertaining.
Other ideas include a gym, a separate playroom for younger children, a billiard or game room, craft room, music room, theatre room, adult “lounge” with a bar set up – let your imagination run wild.
Any of these options are good at suggesting alternatives for potential buyers. This will help them envision the increased options for the use of this space and not struggle with the thought of paying for a room they’ll never really use.
However you decide to utilize this space, here are some tricks to get the most out of it:
Decorate with mirrors, strategically placed to make a small room feel larger and to help reflect light and add ambiance.
Draw the eye upward to show off the room’s vertical dimension as well as the horizontal. Floor-to-ceiling drapes, special moldings or a grouping of small to midsize artwork, invite the eye to roam beyond the eye-level horizontal space
Use neutral colors on floors, walls and ceilings. Soft hues tend to illuminate a room by reflecting light and will add instant sophistication plus create a calming environment.