Family Room vs Living Room Here s the Difference

Kevin Brown

Family Room vs. Living Room: The Difference

A living room is for entertaining guests, while a family room is a space for relaxing with family or watching TV. There are differences between the two, including location, design, and purpose.

Design Difference Between Family Room and Living Room

Depending on your location, the terms family room and living room are often used interchangeably, but they have different definitions. Here are some distinctions between a family room and a living room.


Family Room vs Living Room Here s the Difference

The living room is a gathering space for entertaining guests, with a furniture layout that promotes conversation. It may include two sofas facing each other or a set of chairs facing the sofa. Modern living rooms often have a bar cart and cocktail supplies.

The family room, also known as a media room, is a multipurpose space where family members can watch TV, play games, or engage in activities like board games. These rooms are kid-friendly and typically contain common items such as toys, pet beds, and computers.


Family Room vs Living Room Here s the Difference

The living room, used less than the family room, often contains higher-end furnishings. Originally, living rooms had formal or white furniture, but now they can have any style, although it’s usually more expensive than what’s in a family room.

Family rooms prioritize comfort, and the furnishings show that. It’s common to see oversized sofas, recliners, and durable tables, while most family rooms also have a TV.

Family Room vs Living Room Here s the Difference

Most formal living rooms are in the front of the home, while family rooms are in the back, basement, or a loft/room. Open-concept homes are better suited for family rooms since the design encourages everyday use of shared living/kitchen spaces.

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When it comes to size, it’s important to consider the intended purpose and the available space. Family rooms are typically larger than formal living rooms, as they are meant to accommodate multiple people and various activities. However, the size of the room also depends on personal preferences and needs.


Family rooms are designed to be more versatile and functional than formal living rooms. They are often equipped with comfortable seating, entertainment systems, and storage solutions. This allows for a variety of activities, such as watching television, playing games, reading books, or simply spending time together as a family.


Formal living rooms are usually located near the main entrance of the house, which makes them more visible and less private. On the other hand, family rooms are often situated in the back of the house or in a separate area, providing more privacy and seclusion.


Since formal living rooms are primarily used for entertaining guests and showcasing aesthetic appeal, they tend to have more formal and elegant decor. Family rooms, on the other hand, are typically decorated in a more casual and comfortable style, with an emphasis on practicality and durability.

Ultimately, the choice between a formal living room and a family room depends on personal preferences, lifestyle, and the needs of the household. Both rooms have their own advantages and can be designed to reflect the homeowner’s individual style and taste.

Family Room vs Living Room Here s the Difference

The average living room size in America is 12’ x 18’, or 216 square feet. The average family room size varies by location and is often smaller than the living room.

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Other terms used to describe living spaces include den, parlor, and sitting room.

A den is a small, private, informal living space that can serve the same purpose as a family room or be used as an office, gaming space, home library, or playroom.

Parlor is an old-fashioned term for a living room or formal sitting room. It originated in upper-class Victorian-style homes in the 1800s, also known as “receiving rooms.” Homeowners would greet guests in their parlor.

The front room is another term for the living room or parlor and refers to the room at the front of the house where these formal spaces are located.

A great room is a large open space that combines several rooms, such as the living room, dining room, kitchen, or study. Great rooms have high ceilings and are a feature of open-concept homes.

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