Family Room vs Living Room

Whether you use the terms interchangeably or make a strict distinction between them, there really is a difference between a family room and a living room. Learn more about Pulte custom home designs, and how you can differentiate between rooms by style, function, and purpose.


Family Room vs. Living Room Guide

In some parts of the country a living room is also known as a parlor or sitting room. A family room may be better known as a den, rec room, media room, or even a rumpus room.  Whatever terminology you choose, it's important to differentiate between these two types of living spaces in order to maximize your family's enjoyment of your home.


Living Room Basics

A living room is generally used as a more formal area of the home. Here you might greet visitors, entertain, or otherwise spend time socializing. For most homeowners, a television is taboo in the living room, though others may choose to include a television if it’s well-concealed behind cabinetry.


Furnishings for the living room will generally be a bit more formal and a bit more upscale while accessories will tend toward the decorative rather than the personal. The living room is a spot for treasured art pieces or high-end rugs since it usually won't experience the same traffic as other areas of the house.


Family Room Basics

By contrast, the family room will generally be the ideal spot for a big screen TV along with all of the audio and visual accoutrements that accompany it, like a video gaming system and surround sound. Furniture here is more focused on comfort and easy care, especially since snacks and casual meals will happen during Movie Night or The Big Game.


Artwork and accessories here may be more casual and personal, including candid family photos or mementos of vacations and special events. The family room should also include an emphasis on storage solutions for toys, games, electronics, throw pillows, and snuggly blankets.


Floor Plan Design

The floor plan for a living room will generally favor conversation areas, either with two facing sofas or a sofa and two side chairs. In addition, you will want to include extra seating, sometimes called occasional or accent chairs, tucked away in the corners or via strategically placed ottomans. Since this will be a quieter spot than the family room, you may also want to include a reading nook or small desk area in a well-lit corner.


The family room floor plan will no doubt be oriented toward the television for viewing or video game play. You'll also want to include a roomy table for board games, jigsaw puzzles, or casual dining. If you have a bar area, ensure that you include seating there as well for snack time or buffets. If the family room opens onto an outdoor space, provide an additional drop zone for dirty sneakers or jackets.


Home Design Trends

For living rooms, a minimalist approach always looks elegant and never goes out of style. Avoid overly fussy and cluttered table tops and shelves and leave space for the eye to rest as it travels around the room. This home design idea can be used throughout the house. Remember, formality doesn’t have to be old fashioned, and an elegant room can come in many design styles.


For the family room, emphasize attractive storage and organization in order to keep the area from becoming messy. Remember, just because it's a more casual space doesn't mean you can't enjoy beautiful style in a family room. Consider a monochromatic color scheme with an emphasis on cozy textures — especially important in sometimes-chilly finished basement areas.


If you’re looking for a new construction home, you'll love the living options you find in a Pulte home. With all of the design help and insight you need, you can feel confident in the look, feel, and function of your living spaces.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Christy Murdock Edgar

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