The Living Room Rule That Shea McGee Wants You To Ditch Immediately

Every room in your home should be useful, according to Shea McGee and many other experts. But there is one room in most people's homes that doesn't get the use it's supposed to, and that's the formal living room. The formal living room often prioritizes design over function and has been traditionally used for special occasions, says Project Perfect Home. This is the room that tends to have more expensive decor and furniture, and it's a space where homeowners put in a little more design effort.

Many people have grown up with a room in their home they couldn't be in unless guests were over. But growing up with that room off limits has made this generation of homeowners fight against this idea. More people are looking to balance function and aesthetics in their homes, which means making the living room much less formal. Shea McGee tells she prefers creating formal living rooms that homeowners should feel comfortable using any time, whether there are guests or not.

Stop letting the living room go unused

Traditionally, homes have formal living rooms and family rooms. While the living room is more of a formal gathering space, the family room is much more casual. Family rooms allow people to relax individually or as a large group. These spaces are also much more kid-friendly, so the furniture is softer, and there are much more open spaces, says K. Hovnanian Homes. These are the rooms that see a lot more traffic and have a lot more use on an everyday basis.

But Shea McGee believes that living rooms shouldn't be unused 95% of the time (via The designer believes that even if you have a formal living space, it should be a room that homeowners feel comfortable using, especially when guests aren't over. If you do have a formal living space, Designthusiasm suggests using it as a place to spend the day reading or a dedicated conversation area. But choosing to use the living room is only half the battle.

Make your living room cozy

In order to make your formal living room a space that you want to spend time in, Shea McGee says it has to be cozy. To keep the space from looking too fancy, McGee says to mix and match pieces. Instead of buying a full set of furniture, choose individual pieces that coordinate with each other. You should also mix textures and materials of the furniture, McGee suggests, to prevent the pieces from feeling too matchy. Adding hints of color throughout the space can also make the space feel cozy, going against the traditional all-white formal space. A colored sofa can be a stylish centerpiece that adds a comfortable and fun feature to the room, per

Choosing pieces with rounded edges can also make the space feel softer and more comfortable. Softer shapes create a more relaxing ambiance, so opt for a round coffee table or a sofa with curved features, suggests Cate St. Hill. You can also make the space more comfortable by adding soft accent lighting with table lamps and wall sconces. If you have a large living room, arrange your furniture to create intimate spaces. Create areas to relax, read, watch TV, and have conversations with family and friends.