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The odd thing about formal living rooms is that often they are not actually ever used in favor of other rooms such as a sun room. Instead the furniture remains untouched, the glass ware remains unused and the carpet remains unwalked on. This is a weird concept - to have a room in a house that is there only for decoration and also not that practical for many families. If you are renting a home with a formal living area as well as another living area, don't be afraid to decorate outside the box and make this room more for living and less for looking.

Traditional Formal Living Room Uses

Formal living rooms tend to be second living areas. They are designed to only be used on special occasions, such as having tea after a family dinner or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends. You may have a den, a downstairs living area or another main living space that is designed for play and this area is designed instead for entertaining. The good thing about formal living spaces is that often they are not used all the time and thus you can expect them to stay tidier and cleaner for longer. You might only have to dust and vacuum in there once a month if the area is hardly ever used.

The bad thing, however, is that many families that are renting do not have enough space to have a room designed for entertaining and looking only. This space can be used in several different ways. Don't be afraid to decorate your formal living room in a way that represents your life, as chaotic as it may be.

Nontraditional Living Rooms

A good option is to make your formal living room the parent's retreat. Use the main living space as the kid's space complete with the older couches, toys, bookshelves, mats and other items that are so very kid-like. Save the good furniture, the good television and some of your favorite items for the formal living space. Once the kids have gone to bed you and your partner can retreat here, read a book, watch a movie, have a glass of wine without stepping on toys that were not put away or worrying about the food that has been left on the carpet from the day. You are away from the mess in your own special area and the best thing about it is, no kids allowed!

Another option is to make the formal living room your home office. A home office is often in a spare room but if these are full then you are convert the formal living room into an office, complete with a desk, filing cabinet and other items that you need. You may even be able to work from home or have a comfortable space to do your taxes, your paperwork, your finances, without having to go through piles of laundry or kids toys just to get it. Add a bookshelf into your formal office space for a practical way to keep things looking organized and tidy.

If homes with formal living rooms remind you of Grandma's house, then you are not alone. However, you don't have to make this formal area for hosting tea parties with friends or for entertaining the high society. You can use it for every day and often more realistic things as well, such as making it into a play room, a teenage retreat or a parent's only area. Think about your specific needs when decorating and working with a formal living room and if this means ditching the floral furniture and bright shaggy carpeting for something a little more practical, then go for it!

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