Differences Between Living Rooms & Family Rooms

Most everyone knows the purpose of a kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom. However, that isn’t always clear when it comes to living rooms and family rooms. In fact, many people use these terms interchangeably. However, there are a few distinct differences between these two spaces. While some homes include both a living room and a family room, smaller or less formal homes may only have one.

Read on to learn how to distinguish between the two rooms and the best uses for each.


Living rooms tend to be more formal than family rooms and this distinction often impacts the type of furniture and décor in each space. While both rooms may feature a sofa, loveseat, and chairs, you are unlikely to find the same style and fabrics in a formal living room as you would in a family room. Living room furniture is often selected for its appearance while comfort is typically a more important feature when selecting furniture for a family room.

Furniture placement often differs as well. In a living room, the sofas, coffee table, and end tables are typically placed towards the center of the room to create more of a conversation area. Conversely, furniture in a family room is positioned closer to the walls to leave more space in the center of the room.


Typically, a living room is located toward the front of a home for a convenient spot to welcome guests. Additionally, a living room is located adjacent to a dining room so it can serve as an ideal space for family and friends to gather for special occasions. A family room, on the other hand, can be located anywhere, including a finished basement or converted bedroom (though they are traditionally located towards the back of a home).


Living rooms are typically quiet spaces that offer a place to read a book or engage in a deep conversation. You are unlikely to find a television, gaming consoles, or board games in a formal living room. On the other hand, family rooms are often designed around media consumption – a space for the family to enjoy time together and stay comfortable. They may feature a large screen TV, speakers, and a gaming console. Family rooms can also be an ideal space to relax and read a book or play a board game.

Break the Rules

As popular as open floor plans are, it can be difficult to distinguish between a living room and a family room. Ultimately, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to the living room vs. family room debate. Only you get to dictate how to use any given space in your home. As you decorate your home, think about the layout and home furnishings that will best meet the needs of all the members of your household. Whether your home’s floor plan includes just one small living room, a large communal space, or both, making the space work for you and your household is all that matters.

Time to reimagine your space? Pann Home Services offers a wide variety of remodeling and carpentry services to help bring your vision to life. Whether it’s a brand-new kitchen, bathroom renovation, or family room addition, we’re ready to assist with projects big and small. Contact us today for more information or a design consultation.