Formal Living?

I've never really understood the idea of having a formal living room.  When I was a kid, it was always the nicest room in the house, was never used and we were never allowed to go in there.  As an adult, it seems kind of pointless to have one.  However, our house has an area in front of the dining room that you would most likely call your formal living room.

I simply can't bring myself to buying furniture for a room that I will never use.  Plus, there are so many other ways that we could utilize this space.  Last year alone, we held two large dinners and ended up using the room as an extended dining room.  

Initially I came up with a couple of inspiration boards that utilized the room as a casual gathering space or a playroom, including the ones below. However, none of them really felt right, so the room sat empty-ish.

That is until this past week.  We've decided that with a new little one on the way and with the playroom converted into Little Man's room, it was best to create a space where Mav could put his recliner and big screen tv (with a new baby the likelihood of him going into the basement was very low).  It would also incorporate some storage that would enable us to hide toys well (so a makeshift playroom for the kids).

Here's what we came up with:

This room would incorporate the same color scheme as the dining room (one dark accent wall with the remaining walls a lighter color).  Granted it is currently a VERY bland design, but we were trying to figure out what kind of furniture we wanted to incorporate as the first base layer of the room.

We decided on Ikea's Ektorp loveseat in Sivik Gray and the Besta storage unit in black brown. I think that the dark colors will play well off of the dining room, and the dark brown recliner won't look too out of place (sometimes we have to work around things to find compromise :) ).

As for the floors, I plan to pick up a larger rug like we have in the family room (right now we have a 5x7 in there).  I'd also like to incorporate some more color and texture with blankets, pillows, poufs and artwork.  I'm not quite sure what it will look like yet, but we're slowly moving in this direction - after all it was sort of a spur of the moment decision to go out and start working on this room.

Here's a sort of before shot with all of the ikea boxes in the background... it. was. a. mess.  I hadn't really done much in the room because I didn't really have any inspiration or need.

We had some leftover white bookcases in there from our townhouse that hadn't really found a home yet and the couch from our old living room that was given to us by a friend.

This room was really lacking life.  First, I decided to assemble the Ektorp sofa (which I have secretly had my eye on for a while, but I've been kind of wary of purchasing an ikea sofa/loveseat).  This was the first assembly required couch we've ever bought, but assembly was surprisingly easy and quick.  This couch resembles the West Elm Heath Sofa (but at a fraction of the cost) - so pretty :).

Eventually I'd like to stain the feet a darker brown to incorporate the color of the recliner, but for now natural pine it is.  As for the tv stand/storage in the room, we went with a BESTA unit (3 pieces).  With doors on the two outer sides so we could use remotes to control the A/V items in the center.

This is where we are at now.  Somewhat empty, but we've made some progress and the room feels so much bigger with size appropriate furniture... now we just need to figure out what to do with the rest of the room.  :)


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