Ideas + Advice


8 Living Room Alternatives That Are Surprisingly Practical

What to do when you find yourself with an extra room — or extra room within a room? Avoid cluttering up the space or leaving it altogether empty by brainstorming how you can best make the area shine and function. Whether an adult child has moved out or you're freshening things up, here are eight living room alternatives that you can incorporate to fit your needs.

1. Home Office

Working from the comfort of home requires a dedicated space to be productive and concentrate. To create one out of an empty room, choose a desk and chair to match your height and arrange plants and other greenery to soften the vibe. Also: adding a couch for coffee breaks or family meetings to make the home office cozy will allow for an extra spot to stretch out and read!

2. Kids' Play Area

The whimsical positioning of furniture and cozy surfaces for snuggling make this an inviting space for adults and kids. Provide sturdy surfaces for creating masterpieces, enjoying a snack, or playing board games. In the room above, a rug absorbs footfalls and is easy on the knees for floor-time games, while baskets scattered around corral toys and blankets.

3. Home Bar

Upgrade from your typical basement bar; here, elegant wall colors, modern seating, and mood lighting bring this home bar to life. A small console or cart can house your beverages of choice, and a credenza lends extra storage and a spot to display art or wine glasses.

4. Music Room

Hanging instruments within easy reach is a great way to use a living room, while incorporating your love of music into works of art. While you're at it, go high-tech for recording sessions and video shoots with a computer station and a console to house monitors or television screens. Finally, add some comfy poufs or beanbags to a corner of the space to invite jam sessions — campfire style!

5. Games Room

Dedicate a blank space to nothing but fun. To start, choose consoles or coffee tables with storage and plenty of surface area for gameplay. Add comfy rugs and poufs for extra seating, and baskets to corral decks of cards and smaller games. Incorporate a finishing touch by hanging old board games or collages of game pieces on the wall as conversation art!

6. Home Theater

Bring on the popcorn! In a spare room, comfy reclining chairs and low ambient lighting make the movie atmosphere pop. (Just keep the rug and wall colors dark to absorb reflections!) For a true theater experience, consider adding a raised platform and a second row of reclining seats, as well as a credenza or buffet to serve as a snack bar and provide extra storage for your DVDs or Blu-rays.

7. Guest Room

Turn unused space into a welcome haven for guests or kids home from college. Try shelves stocked with favorite titles or simple games to invite relaxation and create a simple room divider. To complete the look – and bring the room together – opt for comfy textiles and task lighting!

8. Meeting Room

Less computer-y than a home office, but not as formal as Grandma's sitting room, a meeting room can serve as a cozy, tech-free spot to chat with family, friends or clients. To convert a living room into one, play with plush chairs in varying colors to draw guests in. Add an unassuming table, which lends a spot to set your coffee or display a beloved plant.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.