Used to be that the living room had a standard MO: a formal space where you entertained guests. Despite its egalitarian name, it was off-limits to kids and pets. But times have changed, and the living room has other intentions — namely, doing some real living. See how some folks have reinvented their living room, and tell us how you’ve reimagined your own.
A chalkboard, a converted dresser, and an island with a generous work surface transforms this ho-hum living area into a full-fledged craft center. Turning the old sliding door into a window keeps the light and sidesteps an awkward traffic pattern that would intrude on the work space.
Liven up your living room by turning it into a playroom for your little rascals. This one has a comfy couch for quiet moments (yeah, right!), an armoire that holds toys and media, and an entire wall covered with chalkboard paint ($15-$20/gal.) to capture creative urges. Lots of room for romping and playing, too. Designer Jill Seider says the room now gets “more usage than most people’s living rooms ever do!”
Home-based businesses continue to be popular, and 1 in every 4 American homes — about 26 million — now have a room dedicated to use as a home office. Living rooms are typically located near an entryway, so converting one to an office makes especially good sense if your business has regular visitors. Just be sure you’re zoned for business.
When Felicea Rameriz decided to start a low-cost preschool in her hometown of Menifree, Calif., she trimmed overhead by using her own living room as the classroom. Kid-size furniture and colorful posters helped Rameriz transform her living space into a vibrant, friendly environment. When it comes to learning those ABCs, her kids are right at home.
7 Super-Cool Living Room IdeasRoom to Vasisthasana
Sure, that’s easy for you to say. Know what else is easy? Converting your seldom-used living room into a yoga studio. Remove the furniture, add some soothing paint colors, and you’ll have made space for your favorite poses quicker than you can say Bhujapidasana!
Image: Lisa Enzer
7 Super-Cool Living Room IdeasWelcome Home, Shopper
Got an entrepreneurial spirit but lack the retail space your dream needs? Kitty Jensen, owner of The Secret Shop, turned her living room into a display area for the vintage clothing she sells. Open by appointment only, Jensen’s popular shop is tucked into her Los Angeles apartment — giving her a good reason to love her small home.
Image: Secret Shop
7 Super-Cool Living Room IdeasA Return to Living
When a California couple bought this small, four-room bungalow in San Clemente, they knew exactly what to do with the old pool room — turn it into a living room. Vanquishing the game table, oversized lighting fixture, and dated rug, they added a comfy couch, TV, furniture, and returned the wood flooring to its original glory. Sometimes, a living room is simply a living room!