How to turn your formal living room from a barely used room to a chic, family-friendly and guest-worthy room that you’ll love to use.

Most homes include a formal living room. However, it may not surprise you that many people I know either have this space in their home decorated with extra furniture they’ve collected or leftover furniture from their mothers, aunts and grandmothers.

If you live in the northeast, then it’s a high probability that you are living in a colonial. All colonials include a formal living room. These homes were built in a time where cocktail parties and holiday get together’s took place in these large rooms. The rest of the year these spaces remained empty (often times with plastic covering the “good” furniture).
Here are 10 tips for making the most of your formal living room:

1. Take out all of the hand-me-down furniture and start with a blank slate. Get rid of the things that make you not love this room. A great excuse to update your style!

2. Update the fireplace or mantle. Many times this can be accomplished as inexpensively as painting some brick or re-decorating your mantle.

3. Change out window treatments. Go with something simple. A white linen curtain panel or a woven wood roman shade will make the room look finished.

4. Paint! Paint! Paint! Try all white or go with dramatic navy blue. Maybe even try a grasscloth!

5. Place comfortable and on-trend stylish furniture in the room. Go with 2 sofas or even a smart sectional.

6. Use fun artwork on the walls.

7. Include built-ins in white to brighten up and give the room more interest and texture.

8. Lighting! It’s so important to place the “jewelry” on the room. Go for a dramatic center ceiling fixture in the room and don’t forget beautiful table lamps – they make all the difference in the world.

9. Put in a rug. For something fun, try a Moroccan inspired rug. Their textures and patterns create interest in the room.

10. TV!!! I don’t know why we are programmed to not have a TV in this room, but in my experience, if there isn’t a TV, the room doesn’t get used. Don’t put the same giant TV that you would have in your family room. Instead, keep it smaller and possibly tucked into a built in, but put one in because now you, your family and your guests will be more likely to actually USE this room.

Stay Inspired.

Heather Ryder