How to Design Living and Family Rooms

Living rooms and family rooms have often been confused for being the same, but the truth is they're quite different. Their decor and purpose differ greatly, and there's a good reason for that. Family rooms are less formal than living rooms. They're a place for relaxing alone or with the family, whereas living rooms are more geared towards guests and dining.

Here are some of the main similarities and differences when it comes to living and dining rooms.

Make it inviting

Whether it's a living or family room it is vital that the room gives off a warm and inviting vibe. Consider a soft light or neutral color palette with plenty of warm lighting and soft furnishings.

Get fired up

In both living and dining rooms, you don't always need to opt for a TV as a centerpiece. A homey, inviting alternative is a fireplace. This can really make a room feel cozy and atmospheric. Instead of staring at the TV, gather around the fireplace with all the family.

Watch this

A wall-mounted TV is more common in a family room than in a more formal living room. It creates an exciting focal point that the whole family, young or old, can enjoy.

Open plan

Living rooms can really flourish in an open-plan layout. Joining the sitting area with a space like the kitchen can create a fantastic sense of flow in the space, seamlessly linking those two areas of the home.

To the skies

High ceilings work everywhere, but they're especially effective in a living room. They help to bring in more light and create a spacious interior. When entertaining guests, there's a real sense of class imbibed by high ceilings that's hard to beat.

Embrace elegance

Both family and living rooms can really suit an elegant vibe. To achieve this, you can include features like arched windows and doorways. Especially when paired with refined elements like fireplaces and family heirlooms.

Open it up

Living rooms can really benefit when they're open to light and windows. With a light and airy living room you can really feel connected with the outside world which is great for mental health and improving the aesthetic. So if you can, big windows and glass doors all the way!

Display art

Looking for a way of adding flair and character to a family or living room? By using wall art, you can introduce interesting focal points that add a touch of intrigue and give you the chance to display your own unique tastes.


Living and family rooms also differ in their level of formality. For example, a living room is an area to entertain guests, close friends, and relatives. It's comfortable but somewhat formal.

The family room is more informal and is a more multipurpose, everyday space. It's a space for kids, recreation, it can even be a home office when needed. It's the space for relaxing in front of the TV.

Bay Windows

Bay windows are a hallmark of both family and living rooms and if you have the opportunity to incorporate one of these into your design, you should!


One of the key differences between living and family rooms is in their location. The living room is usually the biggest room in the house and is located near the front of the home.

The family room however, is usually connected to the kitchen. It also becomes a thoroughfare to the garden as it usually features a door to the garden, courtyard, or terrace.

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