How do I Make a Formal Living Room?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

There are a number of ways to decorate a formal living room. In most cases, the pieces of furniture that are used in a formal living room are the same: a couch, arm chairs, a coffee table, and perhaps a side table or two. Sometimes, there will be a love seat or set of love seats in a formal living room instead of a couch, but this is one of the few variations on the standard set up. The main differences in a formal living room have to do with whether the room is decorated in a modern style or, perhaps, an older style such as Victorian or art deco.

Decorated lampshades bring character to formal living rooms.
Decorated lampshades bring character to formal living rooms.

The first step in making a formal living room is choosing both the style and the palette of colors that will be used to decorate the space. An art deco room done in greens will look much different than an art deco room done in warm shades of amber and yellow. The palette and the style will be the guiding factors when decorating the room. Once these choices have been made, it is time to start searching for the perfect furnishings for the space. For a person who is decorating in an older style, it may be necessary to do a good deal of searching through antique stores to find the right elements.

Formal living rooms often include a fireplace.
Formal living rooms often include a fireplace.

People who are creating a modern formal living room might have an easier time. This is because new furniture can be purchased in entire sets, which can quickly and completely outfit a living room. There are some furniture companies that specialize in recreating furnishings and furniture sets from bygone eras, which may be useful to people who are trying to create an antique look in a formal living room.

One of the features of a formal living room is that the fabrics and furnishings are often of higher quality and refinement than a living room that is used for more casual occasions. There are a number of people who have formal living rooms that are outfitted with their best rugs, their nicest vases, and their most expensive sitting furniture, while their family rooms or dens are decorated with more modest furnishings. One of the reasons for this is that a formal living room is often reserved for special occasions while a den might get heavy use.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: