living room vs family room - martha stewart

Social spaces, where people can come together while feeling at ease, are essential in any home. However, there are different kinds of entertainment and get-together spaces to consider. Today is all about the living room vs the family room. Read on to learn more about these two distinct environments and which is best for you.

What is the Difference Between a Living Room and a Family Room?

Transitional living vs family room - Meric S

Transitional living room vs family room design created by Decorilla interior designer, Meric S.

Although lounge types are similar, there is more than one difference between a living room vs. a family room. Online living room design services cater to all kinds, but the experts can agree on vital variations in design. Some are more casual, while others are ideal for entertaining. 

Family vs living room - Mariana B

Cozy theater-style family vs living room by Decorilla designer, Mariana B.

Before deciding what’s best for your home, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to use or decorate either space. Yes, there may be conventions surrounding each. But, ultimately, what counts is that the interior suits your household. 

Family vs living room - Wanda P

Classic living vs family room by Decorilla designer, Wanda P.

Finally, it’s worth noting some views in the living room versus family room discussion, specifically that:

  • 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. Familiarize yourself with the distinct features of each below.

Whether it’s a living room or a family room, our designers can help transform it into a space for your family to enjoy! Schedule a Free Interior Design Consultation to learn more today!

Key Living Room Elements

Seating is a difference between living room vs family room - Drew F

Living room showing the difference between living room vs family room by Decorilla designer, Drew F.

Structured Layout

People often use the family room and living room interchangeably. Nevertheless, living room layouts are usually more formal. These spaces are great for entertaining and impressing guests. They also come with many seating options, like pairs of accent chairs, stools, and couches – best for socializing. 

Formal living room vs family room - Farzanah K

Formal living room by Decorilla designer, Farzaneh K.

Impressive Décor

Living rooms typically contain more luxurious furnishings, like a grand sofa or bespoke artwork. Since it’s a space for sophisticated get-togethers, exquisite décor can sit safely on a sideboard or table. In the same way, oversized art and curtains puddling on the floor are welcome additions – even more so in a child and pet-free environment.  

Luxury is a difference between living room vs family room - Basma

Luxury is a difference between living room vs family room by Decorilla designer, Basma

Front or Center of House

Living rooms commonly sit near the front or center of a home, especially in big spaces. It gives guests easy access, plus the spaciousness again aims to impress. Larger abodes with various common areas embrace the formal atmosphere in at least one room. On the other hand, many contemporary homeowners opt for a relaxed, casual feeling (especially where limited space is a factor).

Classy living room vs a family room - Anna Y

Decorilla modern minimalist living room design – an exploration of the difference between a living room vs. a family room

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

Online interior design services - how it works

Key Family Room Elements

Warm family vs living room - Ilaria C

Snug family room design by Decorilla designer, Ilaria C.

Coziness & Comfort

When inspecting the difference between a living room vs a family room, the latter is generally a casual, relaxed space. Although still attractive, the furniture and décor reflect this laid-back air. A family room nearly always includes sentimental and comforting touches. Think of things like family photos and throw blankets. Furniture tends to be child and pet-friendly too.

Great family vs living room - Sonia C

Great family vs living room by Decorilla designer, Sonia C.

Flexible, Casual Layout 

A spacious, open floor plan is ideal for a family room, allowing kids to act like kids. Modular and sleeper couches are also perfect for allowing flexibility in layout and use. Additionally, furniture with deep seats, like L-shaped sofas, is a favorite in family rooms as it encourages relaxation. 

Living room versus family room elements - MKCS

Deeper in the House

As for the location of the family vs. living room, family rooms are likelier to be further towards the back of a house. They may also have direct access to kitchens or outdoor areas such as decks.

Cozy family vs living room - Angela S

Transitional family room design by Decorilla interior designer, Angela S.

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

Living room vs family room vs great room - Amy C

Modern farmhouse living room versus family room design by Decorilla designer, Amy C.

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

Nordic-inspired living vs family room interior - Seattle Staged

The formal living room above embodies sophistication but feels warm as well. Although Nordic-inspired, it’s more than cozy minimalist, thanks to luxe touches and modern furniture. When comparing it to others below, the difference between a living room vs a family room will become clear.

Eclectic Mid-Century Modern Family Room

Family vs living room - Drew F

Open-plan family room by Decorilla designer, Drew F.

If coziness and comfort are what you want, a family room trumps a living room. Despite only covering a small area, it feels spacious due to the open-plan design. The layout allows family members to be close together while in different zones. Furthermore, the textured and colorful elements make it feel warm and relaxed.

Elegant & Inviting Living Room

Elegant and a comfy living room versus family room aesthetics - Laura A

Elegant living room by Decorilla designer, Laura A.

Luxury can also indicate the room type. The sizable corner couch and coffee table combo are ideal for intimate conversations over drinks. Marble and contemporary lighting elevate the design while organic touches give it a fresh atmosphere.

Fun & Games Family Room

Impressive space as an in between living room vs family room vs den - Melina Made Interiors

As shown in this family room, some spaces include fun additions other than media devices. A pool table is perfect for family game nights or casual gatherings with friends. Those who want to watch rather than play can cozy up on the couch and still soak up the playful ambiance.

Chic Cocktail Lounge Living Room

Formal living room vs family room ideas - Lace and Grace

Above is another fantastic example of the difference between a living room and a family room. The furniture layout in this chic space again gives off a sophisticated feeling. What’s more, the creative use of the sideboard as a drinks cabinet and cocktail station is inspired! This space is also great for a quick social, before going out to an event or moving to the dining room for a dinner party. 

Tranquil Loft Family Room

Living room vs family room vs den - Laura A

Decorilla modern interior, illustrating the difference between a living room vs. a family room

This final illustration regarding the living room vs. family room is simple yet serene. The use of organic materials, the color palette, and treetop views make it a tranquil escape. It’s the ideal place for a family to put their feet up and unwind together. The deep-seated sofa and extra poufs ensure ample space to put your feet up. 

Other Types of Living Spaces to Consider

Living room vs family room - Ryley B

Living room vs family room design by Decorilla designer, Ryley B.

Living room versus family room – it can be hard to decide which room suits your household better. However, there are alternative living spaces to consider too. Explore two of these options below.

Living Room vs. Family Room vs. Den

Living room vs family room vs den

Now that we know a living room is typically for hosting guests and a family room for casual, daily use, it’s time to discuss dens. Dens are more like family rooms than living rooms as they’re laid-back, daily-use spaces meant for relaxing. They tend to be small and contain some form of entertainment, be it a bookshelf, TV, or both. Sometimes dens double as play or hobby rooms.

Living Room vs. Family Room vs. Great Room

Living room vs family room vs great room

Now, on to great rooms. They are, as the name implies, especially large. These rooms also form part of an open-plan layout, usually sharing space with a dining area and even a kitchen. It’s no surprise that great rooms are, like a family room, more relaxed and for daily use. Essentially, they’re the heart of a home and combine multiple shared spaces into one.

Need help creating a room for your family and friends to enjoy?

Decorilla helps create spaces that suit clients’ lifestyles, needs, and budgets. Whatever living space you require, our talented designers can assist. Schedule a Free Interior Design Consultation today to find your living space solution!

online interior design service

[images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28]