Wondering What To Do With A Formal Living Room? See Our Transformation

I’ve been thrilled at the response on Instagram to our front room reveal, so I also wanted to share a blog post! When we moved into our new house, I had no idea what to do with a formal living room. Trust me, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest brainstorming ideas. We didn’t have an unlimited budget, and I’m super happy with how it turned out with the money we spent.

The Before 

The previous owners of our house used the front room as a space for their kids. I loved the concept but didn’t want all of Nora’s disaster of a playroom to be the first thing people saw walking into our house. We also contemplated making it another home office, but we would need to spend significant money enclosing the space. After that, a formal living room was the only thing that made sense to me. I think of furniture you’re not allowed to send on when I hear “formal living room” — anyone else?! That wasn’t the vibe I wanted, so we got to work on a space that felt cozy without sacrificing elegance.

First, our painter covered all the yellow with Hunter Green by Benjamin Moore. All the green paint options were overwhelming, but I’m so glad this option won. We also hired a professional to remove the carpet and replace it with vinyl flooring. We got our flooring from Floor and Decor. It was then time for my favorite part — decorating the room! Rifle Paper Co. and Loloi Rugs gifted me the gorgeous Palais Luxembourg Black Printed Rug. I decided to center all of my decor choices around it.

What To Do With A Formal Living Room

At this point, I felt the room was coming together but missing something. I decided to get a quote for wall paneling on the back wall in hopes that it would tie everything together. Full disclosure: It was a more expensive project than I expected. We paid $250 for labor, which is a great deal — but the wood prices were higher than I expected. It ended up being about $250 for wood as well. Add in paint costs (about $70), and my one accent wall was pricey. No regrets, though — it’s my favorite part of the room.

Here’s the final result! I’m so thrilled with how it looks. I’ve linked everything on my Instagram shop page, but I will also share a quick product list here. The floor lamp was a HomeGoods find, and the vintage record player was purchased secondhand.

Rug: Palais Luxembourg Black Printed Rug from Rifle Paper Co.
Couch: Maimz Sofa from Ashley HomeStore

Ceiling Light: Leyla Natural Fiber 3 Tier Pendant Shade from World Market

Plant: Fake Monstera Plant in Cement Stand from Afloral

Bar Cart: Gold VASAGLE Bar Cart from Amazon

Bar Glassware: Crate & Barrel and Amazon


Leave a Comment


  1. Cathy wrote:

    Stunning transformation! Elegant, livable and simple at the same time.

    Your Lilly Pulitzer print guide is a great resource!

    Posted 11.20.22 Reply
  2. Sleep Center wrote:

    Appreciate the insightful suggestions on what to do with a formal living room! Thanks for sharing these practical and inspiring ideas, from creating a cozy reading nook to incorporating multifunctional furniture. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 6.21.23 Reply