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Decorating & Furniture/Converting Two Living Areas Into One


My daughter is looking at buying a home that has two living areas -- formal and informal(w/fireplace.  Each living area is about 14'long by 11/12' wide.  It is also divided by a load bearing wall.

The informal has a tile floor and the formal has a laminate wood floor (I think that's what they call it.

As you enter from the front door, the formal area is off to your righ and has a half wall seperating the entry from the room.  As you walk continue to walk forward you walk through an open doorway into the informal area the kitchen is off to the left and the informal off to the right.  

I think this large open space will be hard to decorate.  I have suggested that the formal area become a "sitting room" with book shelves on one wall a big chair to sit in a read with great lighting and then, some other items.

She thinks she can do the same with the open area.  But, I think you will lose the "cosy" feeling that your trying to establish with a big easy chair for reading.   

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much for your time.

Don Berger

Hi Don,

Thanks for writing and for your question.  Your daughter's prospective home sounds great!  The floorplan you describe is fairly typical and the informal area adjacent to the kitchen can serve as a "great" room; casual, user-friendly and comfortable.  The "formal" area is what I would deem a living room, more suitable for furniture that is dressier and less casual in style and function -- assuming your daughter wants to do it that way.  

I like your idea of books, shelves and cozy chairs with lights for reading.  If your daughter has a passion for books and/or reading and wants to dedicate the formal room to that purpose, that's great.  Maybe add a desk, a couple of ottomans and an area rug over the laminate wood floor.

For the informal area, I'd suggest sturdy but casual furniture, tables that can take wet glasses or plates and enough seating for the entire family.  An area rug is probably best here too since tile floors can be cold and are unforgiving when you drop something on them!

Hope this helps you.

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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik


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