Is the Formal Living Room a Thing of the Past?

Is the Formal Living Room a Thing of the Past?

The formal living room, once the centerpiece of the American home, has been dwindling in size for several years. Now it’s being eliminated in many new home plans. Most new houses still have large rooms with deep seating and media, but they’re called great rooms rather than living rooms. And unlike their more formal predecessors, they’re usually open to the kitchen, the better to accommodate casual family activities. As a private, set-off area, the living room is losing its form.

In today’s homes, the kitchen is king. We no longer hide it; we open other rooms up to it. People work so much away from home, that when they are home, they want to relax. They’re still entertaining, but it’s less formal than it once was. Now, when you have company, everybody wants to stand in the kitchen near the center island. Today’s open floor plans help to foster togetherness for time-strapped families. When families are together, they want to be together, not separated in different rooms.

All that said, the living room still has its devotees. Some buyers will enter a model and ask, ‘where is the living room?” Though they tend to be more mature, and often they’ve accumulated a lot of beautiful living room furniture and need a place to put it. But even people who insist on having a living room are satisfied with much less space than in the past. Today’s living rooms are about as small as they can get- just big enough to hold a sofa, a chair and a coffee table. They’re not the big showcase they used to be.

What do you think-  is the living room dead? And how have you reinvented it in your home?

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design (Gold National Award Winner)