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How We Use Our Formal Living Room

Want to know how we use our formal living room?  Very informally.

A few years ago, I let go of the dream of adding a bonus room above our garage and decided that we need to live in the space we already have, rather than always wanting more, more, more.  You can read more about that here.  I sold everything formal about the formal living room.  Gone were the $30, “don’t touch”, pillows.  The beautiful lamps found a new home with a nice couple from Craigslist.  I went out and bought new pillows and lamps from Target, and they were cheap.  If someone kicked over a lamp, while doing cartwheels, it wouldn’t be a big deal.  Pillow fights with the pillows?  No problem.  I bought some fabric, made a few things like curtains, more pillows, and chair covers.  I even moved all of the kids’ games and instruments into the living room to encourage them to play in there more often.

I tend to find myself right there, in the corner of that couch, blogging at about 6:00 am on Saturday mornings.  My friends always ask how it’s working out for us.  Do the kids still use the space?  Does it drive me crazy to have a mess in the living room?  Would I do it all again?

Well, you can see there is usually a stable and a horse show set up in the living room.  This is my entryway, so I usually have to ask guests to step over the corral.

The pillows are never put back the way I’d like and there are often games, toys, and music taking over.

Books and controllers are always left out.

The electric guitars come out daily.  And they’re loud.  Really, really loud.

My house is not always neat and tidy, but we live here.  I love the saying, “Please excuse the mess.  The children are making memories.”  I think I need to make a sign for my house, because that’s my motto.

Would I do it all again?  In a heartbeat.  Does the mess drive me crazy?  Sometimes.  Does it make me happy to see my kids playing with their friends, right smack in the center of our home? Always.

So, here’s my advice if you have an unused formal living room.  Make it informal, and just excuse the mess.  The children are making memories.

Happy playtime!

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The Comments

  • WicketsMom
    April 3, 2012

    We have a unique floorplan in our house with two living areas. Our 'front room' has been turned into the playroom for my son, and I have a desk in there to work on as well. We moved in an old entertainment center and use it to store games, puzzles, and toys for him. Our main living space is our keeping room attached to the kitchen.

  • sharonhofmann
    April 3, 2012

    I did the same thing with our formal living room. I actually get compliments on this room often. There's a coat rack, basket for shoes, instruments, games and I'm pretty sure our dog spends her whole day in there on the sofa. It often is a mess, but the good thing is that even though it's in the front of the house, most of the mess is not immediately visible when entering the front door. It also has hardwood floors and I took out the carpet. The kids love to slide all over in their socks.

  • Char
    April 3, 2012

    YOU GO GIRL!!! My house was always a childs dream home when they were little…that means messy, nothing "off limits", and "you will find it where you left it" motto! It wasn't dirty…just kids lived there!

  • CAS
    April 4, 2012

    I think it's wonderful that you are putting all your spaces to good use. We have almost always had either a separate family room & formal living room, or a sunroom & formal living room. Our family rooms have always been kid-friendly & a "fun zone." Now that we are retired with grandchildren living close, our family room is once again the place for kid-play. I have 3 large baskets on the bottom shelf of our entertainment built-in, & that's where all the toys & games are located. It's easy for the kiddos to take them out & also easy for them to put things away!

  • Shiloh
    April 5, 2012

    I LOVE your perspective! I have a small house, so it generally looks like that all over the place. You're right, sometimes I revel in a clean tidy space, but most of the time, I'm just so thankful for the family creating the mess.

  • Kari at A Grace Full Life
    April 11, 2012

    What a great idea! I love how you USE your home and that you get to spend more time with your kids in the process. Love your blog, found you through Leanne over at OADE blog and will be following you now!

  • ~~Rhonda
    April 13, 2012

    Becca, I want to say "way to go!" for making do with unused space you already had instead of building new space. Thanks for sharing how you made it work for you. I enjoyed reading about it. ~~Rhonda