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A Bold + Modern Living Room Design

Modern Living Room Design Plan AFTER The Heart's Delight Stella Compiseno

Question of the day: Is the formal living room officially dead?!

When we went through the process of finding and ultimately buying a house, one of the biggest questions that was thrown around was, do we really need a living room? I’m talking about that more formal sitting space that people used to use a lot back in the day. That is, before open design plans and oversized family rooms with comfy couches and giant 4D flat screen TVS (with surround sound) reigned supreme.

Although our previous home was a fairly new(er) construction built in 1999, it did in fact have a formal living room/sitting room. It took a few years of living with the space (a.k.a. no man’s land) to recognize that it needed more of a purpose. It was only when I finished it off with dark, metallic-speckled grass cloth, rich velvet curtains, comfortable seating and task lighting — oh, and a bar cart — that people started using the space to sit, to read, to converse. You know, what it was actually intended for. Now, it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house which I will definitely miss.

You can check out the finished room below:

Modern Living Room Design The Heart's Delight Stella Comipseno

Modern Living Room Design The Hearts Delight Stella Compiseno

Where was I!?

Oh yeah, the living room.

Our new house happens to have a formal living room. A rather large one, at that. It’s the space you first walk into right off the foyer, and it flows (or WILL flow once we’re done) directly into the dining room and kitchen. My challenge is to make this large room functional, modern and family friendly. I want to trick people into staying a while – the bar cart will help!


Modern Living Room Design Floorplan BEFORE

The main change in store for this space is the removal of the walls between the foyer and the living room and the widening of the arch between the living room and dining room. I’ll be opening this room as much as possible to the rest of the house to incorporate the square footage into our daily living space.  I need to give this room a purpose — beyond collecting dust.


Modern Living Room Design Plan AFTER The Heart's Delight Stella Compiseno

Some Design Notes:

•  Once those walls separating the foyer from the living room are removed, the space looks and feels incrementally larger. Rather than squeeze through the narrow hallway towards the kitchen, you almost feel drawn into the larger living room space. The addition of the wide-plank hardwood flooring throughout the main floor helps aid in this open concept traffic flow. It eliminates the demarcation of where one room starts and the other room ends. The whole floor begins to feel like one large cohesive space… and I’m 100% down with that!

•  To further contribute to the open-floor plan, the majority of the main floor (excluding the powder room and white shiplapped FAMILY ROOM) will be painted one color. I’m leaning towards Sherwin Williams Eider White (SW 7014). It’s a bright, clean white with some cooler taupe undertones. I love the idea of bright walls, but a stark white might be too much.

•  You might notice some familiar pieces in my design plan! When planning out the furnishings and interior design of the space, I tried to incorporate as many of our existing furniture pieces as possible. Those HOUNDSTOOTH ARMCHAIRS currently reside in our family room, the FRAMELESS FLOOR MIRROR is from my master bedroom, and the LUCITE LAMPS behind the couch are from my old dining room. I adore that deep navy blue VELVET SOFA, as well as the coordinating CURTAINS and I’m so happy to have found a new home for them! All of our occasional tables, pink stools and the bar cart seen in the original living room were sold to the new owners, so that left me with some design work!

•  Currently, the living room has no lighting of any kind. Our electrician will be adding 4 recessed lights to add brightness and make the room more functional at all times of day. No one likes a dark room. I’ll be adding a corner FLOOR LAMP for some additional brightness and task lighting.

•  After all of the renovation will be completed, the main floor will only have one small central support wall left — separating the living room from the kitchen at the back of the house. Unfortunately, given the original construction of the home, it would have been nearly impossible (and ridiculously cost prohibitive $$$ KA-ching!!! $$$) to have the wall removed completely.

For reference, the kitchen fridge, wine refrigerator and pantry will be installed on the back side of that wall. I’ve been toying with the idea of making this a focal wall. If the cheese is going to stand alone, at least it’s going to be a good looking cheese! (That was a “Farmer in The Dell” reference… in case you missed it!) I’m currently waiting to see what the final framing looks like before I make this call, but I’m thinking a neutral and graphic wallpaper might make the wall a unique feature of the home (a welcoming entry/foyer space), rather than just an eyesore. I’m trying to make the best of it. Gorgeous SCHUMACHER ROMEO CARRARA wallpaper definitely helps.

(Click on the images below for product details!)

Shop The Post:

Lamp // Bench // Bar Cart // Sofa // Rug // Mirror // Paint // Coffee Table // End Table // Curtains // Console Table // Wallpaper // Armchair // Art 1 (Blue + White) // Art 2 (Black + White)

So, what do you think?

Do YOU think the concept of a formal living room is dead — simply a wasted space and opportunity?

Share all of your best ideas and feedback in the comments below!

modern family room design


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