Decorating Your Living Room Vs Your Family Room
Finding the definitive difference between a living room and a family room has often confused people because both spaces are where people gather to relax, socialise and entertain. The purpose, placement and layout of each room is usually a formal living room and a casual family room, with both inter-connecting in various ways.
Décor and furniture in both a living room and a family room may be similar in function but typically differ in style and of course, the use of the room. Since both rooms cater for gathering, seating areas usually consist of a couch or sofa and armchairs. Furnishings in a family room focus on comfort and usually are more relaxed and casual. These rooms are more likely to have recliners and easy chairs and plush, comfortable sofas. Meanwhile, in formal living rooms, the furnishings tend to be much more stylish and sophisticated, and more often than not have a more formal look and feel.
Follow our easy guide on how to decorate each room with style and comfort.
Where is the room located?
Location is key to maximising the space you have within your home. While there is no rule regarding where your family room or living room should be located, once you take into consideration the space you have to work with, you will understand what works and doesn’t work. Having the family room adjacent or connected to the kitchen is perfect for day-to-day living, whereas a room that's near the front entry and that connects to a formal dining area is often intended as a formal living room.
How do you use it most often?
Houses and apartments that cannot accommodate having a family room as well as a living room could create dual living spaces, mounting a TV within the view of both rooms. This setup is ideal if the rooms are not utilised regularly. A family room tends to be where the TV is setup and is usually where informal gatherings for kids or adults occur. While the formal living room has long been thought of as a more formal, grown-up space for adult get-togethers and socializing.
How did you lay out the seating?
Almost all family rooms have seating arrangements designed to provide you a relaxed weekend movie night or to accommodate your kids. A comfortable sectional sofa will fit your family room perfectly. For this room, you really want to create an inviting space where your family feels at home. In the formal living room, the seating arrangement might include a reading chair by your favourite window, 3-or 2-seater sofas arranged to encourage conversation or flexible bench ottomans for cocktails and conversing.
What is the overall aesthetic?
While both rooms each have a different use, décor should tie into the theme of the rest of the house. The formal living room generally becomes a home for older or more tailored pieces of furniture such as family heirlooms, or antiques. The formal living room is a more mature setting, so designs of this room should feel more polished with refined silhouettes, sophisticated fabrics and finishes, and unique art or décor elements. While the family lounge room should feature kid and pet friendly fabrics and soft furnishings. The ultimate goal for a family room is comfort. Plush sofas, and soft stain-resistant carpets are essential in family rooms for homes with little ones.