14 Formal Living Room Ideas (That Aren’t Boring or Stuffy)

January 4, 2024

Formal living rooms may bring to mind boring and maybe a bit stuffy rooms. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. You can still have a formal living room but add elements that keep it from being boring. Here are a few formal living room ideas that aren’t boring or stuffy to try in your custom home:

living room1. Keep it Monochromatic

If you’re looking for a colorful formal living room, try keeping everything monochromatic. The monochromatic style helps create a cohesive feel to your living room but the color keeps it from being boring. It’s a popular interior design trend to try that offers satisfying results.

For example, if you love green, try painting the walls, ceiling, and trim in light to medium shades of green. Accent with a dark green rug and dark green furniture. Your living room will feel cozy and colorful.

2. Choose Fun or Bold Patterns

living room with book case, couch, footrest, and armchairAnother easy way to keep your formal living room from feeling stuffy is to pick patterns that are playful and fun. If you’re wondering how to incorporate bold patterns into your custom home decor, it can be best to start small. Pick one pattern and add it to your living room. If you like it, incorporate more.

Doing this adds some laid-back and casual vibes to your living room. Pairing these fun patterns with traditional elements like crown molding and archways is a great way to achieve that lived-in feeling. This is one of the tips for decorating with plaid that can work well with other patterns.

farmhouse living room with fireplace3. Anchor Your Space With a Rug

Another way to spice up your living room is to design around a rug. Rugs add texture and warmth, and add a pattern or color to your room. You can pick a classic design or choose something quirky or funky.

Once you have your rug picked out you can design around the color or pattern. The rug can anchor your foyer decor and keep things feeling cohesive. Plus, rugs can help define spaces in an open-concept floor plan. Even if you don’t have an open-concept home, it’s still nice to define some space in a formal living room.

living room with a fireplace4. Layer Your Lighting

Layering lighting is something you should be doing throughout your home, but especially in areas like living rooms. Getting the lighting wrong is one of the most common living room design mistakes.

Instead, layering lighting helps you control exactly just the right level of light making your living room feel well-lit anytime. Plus, the right level of light can keep things from feeling boring or stuffy. This is why layering lighting is a popular home lighting trend to incorporate into your home.

living room with fireplace piano and viola in a case5. Pick Fun Upholstery

If you’re looking for something to brighten up your living room, consider choosing a fun upholstery pattern. Traditional doesn’t always have to mean boring, in fact, some traditional upholstery has some really fun and unique patterns. Bold, colorful furniture is one of the living room design trends that can help you enhance the look and feel of your formal living room.

6. Get Abstract

If you’re looking for art, consider going the abstract route. Pairing abstract art with a formal living room helps create a much more quirky and fun atmosphere. You can either lean into the aesthetic and decorate with a more modern flare or still have some traditional elements.

living room with built-in bookcases and stone fireplace7. Make a Statement With a Chandelier

There are many lighting options to choose from, and a chandelier is always a good way to make a statement. You can pick a traditional crystal chandelier if you want to stick to traditional or Victorian decor. Victorian decor is often over-the-top and big chandeliers make a statement!

If you prefer a modern design aesthetic, there are plenty of modern chandeliers to choose from. Or, if you like both styles, combine them! Big chandeliers are a popular modern Victorian decor idea.

living room with fireplace8. Add an Accent Wall

Another way to keep your formal living room from feeling boring is to try an accent wall. This doesn’t need to be just paint, it can be wallpaper or a wood accent wall. Using custom accent walls is a great way to add texture, color, and light to your formal living room.

9. Paint Your Fireplace For a Pop of Color

If you have a fireplace, one of the formal living room ideas is to make it a colorful focal point of your living room. Paint the fireplace a color that either contrasts or complements your color palette. This can brighten up your living room and a bold color keeps the room from feeling boring or stuffy.

If you’re not comfortable repainting your fireplace (or it’s not possible due to the style), there are some creative fireplace decor ideas to try. These ideas can still make your fireplace stand out and add some flair to your room. A gallery art wall above the fireplace will draw the eye to that area.

10. Accent With Modern Art

Incorporating some modern art into your formal living room is a great way to keep things from feeling too boring or stuffy. Pair a few pieces of art that speak to you with colorful accent pillows or drapes. A funky chandelier can also add some necessary lighting while adding to the modern vibe.

living room with fireplace11. Highlight Greenery

A great way to breathe life into a space is by layering in plenty of plants. Plants add pops of color and dimension. Both of these benefits are great ways to keep a space from feeling too stuffy. Incorporating plants is a cool biophilic design trend to try in any area of your home, not just your living room.

12. Utilize Lounge-Friendly Furniture

Another way to keep a formal living room from feeling too stuffy is to encourage comfort. Incorporate furniture that invites lounging. Sofas with reclining features, ottomans to rest feet, as well as plenty of throw pillows, encourage guests or family to get cozy and feel at home. This is one of the formal living room ideas that can help you introduce some casual comfort while maintaining an elegant atmosphere.

living room with fireplace, shelves, couch, two armchairs, and coffee table13. Make Storage Stylish

If your living room is prone to clutter, incorporate some storage options but make it decor, too. Having stylish organization options is a great way to get multiple uses out of furniture. Look for ottomans or bench seats with built-in storage.

Also, don’t be afraid to use bookshelves or other shelves as decor possibilities, too. There are some helpful tips to style a bookshelf that incorporates books and other decor items to create an interesting yet functional storage solution.

detail of couch and glass coffee table in living room14. Go Thrifting

If you want an eclectic living room that’s far from boring, try checking out your local thrift shops or antique stores. Thrift stores and antique shops offer unique items that you might not be able to find anywhere else. Buying and decorating with vintage furniture can help you get a unique look and create the atmosphere you want in your formal living room.

If your aim is to achieve an eclectic feel in your living room, don’t get too caught up in trying to match everything. If you want a little bit of cohesiveness, think about sticking to a few colors in the same color family or furniture styles that are similar in look.

Build Your Dream Home With CHG

These are just a few formal living room ideas to keep your space from feeling boring. If your current home just isn’t cutting it no matter how much you decorate, consider investing in a custom home that is designed and built to your style and needs. If you’re ready to start bringing your dream home to life, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!