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Where Has The Formal Living Room Gone?

The formal living room — The room in the house we only use once or twice a year and reserve for formal gatherings or special occasions. The room mom made you remove your shoes to walk in or forbid you to play in. The one we’re not quite sure we still need in today’s busy world.

Actually, for many years we have been seeing a decrease in homebuyers requesting this formality in their homes and instead utilizing the space for a larger great room where the living and working areas blend together creating a more practical layout for families and their everyday lives. Dating back to 1992, at the International Geographical Congress, an architectural geographer, Artimus Keiffer, estimated that the formal living room and dining room would soon disappear from American homes and be replaced with family entertainment rooms. We seem to be living that prediction.

This trend and the demand for more efficient home designs and layouts has come about as our lifestyles have become busier. With many families juggling two full time jobs, kids in school and in sports, the request for living areas that can be utilized for a variety of tasks is on the rise. It’s the space where mom or dad can prepare a meal with the kids at the counter doing their homework. It’s where you can do conference calls during the day and in the same space, curl up with a book at night. As Wireless technology and mobile devices become the norm, we no longer have the need to segment or delegate our spaces so formally. Creating comfortable spaces in our custom homes that serve multiple purposes is now the key and is exactly what buyers want.

It has been estimated that 20 – 25 percent of today’s workforce telecommutes with 70% working away from their offices for at least one day a week . As this percentage continues to grow, so will the demand for more flexible home designs. Instead of formal living rooms, we’re now building spacious first floor offices in our custom homes, with direct exterior access so business guests won’t interrupt the flow of everyday life.

We’ve also seen a change in the way we gather which is less formal than in prior years. In today’s modern homes, the kitchen has become a focal point and the heart of the home. Guests often join their hosts in this area as they are preparing meals which has nudged home designers to create open and accessible kitchens with adjacent and less formal dining areas for meals.

As the formal living room disappears, so does the piano that was perched in the corner and the boxed in dining room designated for special occasions and holidays. We’re now making room for home theaters, craft rooms and studios, and we’re seeing a big demand for covered livable porches, which expands a homes’ square footage and extends everyday life to the outdoors.

As new technologies create changes in everyday lifestyles and as family dynamics change, our home designs will continue to transform to accommodate them. At Paquin Design Build we’re working hard to stay in front of today’s custom home design demands. As we have always done, we will continue to offer you the most innovative, up to date designs, materials and products available on the market. Visit our website to view our latest home designs at

Paquin Design Build

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