When planning your next home renovation, many people wonder if they should turn a large space – like a living room – into a family room. If you want to do that, or work out some other arrangement, you might find this guide useful. We’ll look at what the two different rooms were historically used for, how they are different today and where they are likely to fit into modern family life. While the living room and family room are still used in conjunction with each other in homes all over the world, they have changed dramatically over the last century.
There are a few popular designs for living room layouts but only a couple that we see regularly in the family room. Let’s compare the two styles and discuss which one is best for your home.
What is the Difference Between a Living Room and a Family Room?
What you have to remember, before we dive in to the differences between the two rooms, is that there is no right or wrong way to use or decorate a space. Ultimately, it should suit your household and fit your needs, that’s the most important part.
- Family rooms are often known as media rooms since they usually contain TVs, gaming consoles, and computers
- Living rooms, on the flip side, tend to center around conversing with others
In brief, the difference between a living room vs. a family room is slight but crucial as it changes its usability. Here are some key elements you should know about!
Key Living Room Elements
Living room layouts are usually more formal given that these spaces are made for entertaining and impressing guests. They usually come with many seating options, like pairs of accent chairs, stools, and couches – best for socializing.
Living rooms typically contain more luxurious furnishings, like a grand sofa or bespoke artwork. You can add exquisite artworks or accessories on top of a luxury sideboard or table, with oversized curtains and opulent seating.
Front or Center of House
Living rooms commonly sit near the front or center of a home, especially in big spaces. Typically, it’s a room to entertain guests and talk, which is why these rooms normally aim to impress. On the other hand, many contemporary homeowners opt for a relaxed, casual feeling (especially where limited space is a factor).
Choose a living room if you…
- Have a large home with multiple shared spaces
- Enjoy hosting guests and formal parties
- Would like separate social areas for different purposes (i.e. a relaxed family room for daily use and a formal living room for special occasions)
- Favor a luxe yet comfy space where adults can retreat for cocktails, reading, and (potentially) some child-free time
- Want to show off sophisticated pieces of furniture and décor in one space
Key Family Room Elements
Coziness & Comfort
Normally, family rooms are more relaxed and casual spaces, being used mainly for family entertainment, like watching TV. Although you can turn this space into an attractive one, the focus should be on comfort above all else. Include sentimental and comforting touches, such as family photos or throw blankets.
Flexible, Casual Layout
A spacious, open floor is perfect for a family room, and modular sofas are a must when decorating this space, allowing flexibility in layout and use. Furniture with deep seats, like L-shaped sofas, is a favorite in family rooms as it encourages relaxation.
Deeper in the House
Family rooms, unlike living rooms, are usually located towards the back of the house. It may also be closer to kitchens or outdoor areas, perfect for the family needs.
Choose a family room if you…
- Prioritize spending time with family, playing games, and having fun
- Want a warm and casual space to retreat to regularly
- Need a place where everyone in the household has easy access to media devices
- Prefer durable, fuss-free furniture that can convert to suit different sized groups or even serve as extra bedding
- Have a disused room, deeper into the home – especially one next to the kitchen or a backyard area
Living Room vs Family Room Inspiration
So, family vs. living room, which is the right fit for your household? Let’s look at some prime examples to understand your ideal type.
Nordic-Inspired Formal Living Room
Eclectic Mid-Century Modern Family Room
Elegant & Inviting Living Room
Fun & Games Family Room
Chic Cocktail Lounge Living Room
Tranquil Loft Family Room
We hope you liked our picks for Living Room vs Family Room: Which is Right for Your Home? Feel free to pin all the images to your favorite Pinterest board or to print it and use in your mood board. Don’t forget to explore our Pinterest boards for more Living Room Ideas. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the best tips in your email box.