Is the Formal Living Room Dead or Dying?
Taking off on a question in the Kitchen Forum about the death or dying of formal dining rooms, I wonder the same about formal living rooms.
The reason I ask is because we're thinking about converting our formal LR to a formal DR, and expanding our kitchen to take in our present formal dining room space.
Here's what we now have (viewing the front of the house from the outside, or from the street): Starting from the left front corner of the house, we have a 12' W x 13' D formal DR; to its right is a 20' W x 14' D formal LR; and to the right of the LR is the 7' W x 10' D entry foyer. These are all separated by some walls with open passageways (no doors). In other words, as you enter the foyer, you can see into the formal LR to your left through a 5' W open passageway, and then into the formal DR 20' away through another 5' W open passageway.
Directly behind the formal DR is the 12' W x 18' D kitchen. There is a wall separating the formal DR & kitchen with a 3' W passageway (no door). Directly behind the formal LR (and adjacent to the kitchen) is a 21' W x 14' D den/family room, with 3' W passageways (no doors) between the den/family room and kitchen (on that end) and the den/family room and foyer (on the other end). There is also a 12' W x 13' D sunroom behind one end of the den. These areas comprise about 1/2 of the total square footage of the house, with the foyer roughly at the midpoint.
At this point, I'll point out a few things: The house is a basement rancher (garage and big den with a fireplace and 1/2 bath in the basement) built in 1973 and is all brick (so exterior expansion is not an option given our budget for what is basically a kitchen remodeling project); we are a couple in our early 50's without children or grandchildren; we plan (as plans go, of course) to stay in this house for the rest of our functional days; and we are planning this remodel with the main objective being the creation of spaces in which we can entertain other adults, either for casual parties or more formal dining events.
Also, I'll point out we have lived in this house for about 15 years; have never in that time had any furniture in the formal DR or formal LR (sad, maybe, but true); and we use the den/family room (with a fireplace, picture window with a view to the back yard, adjacent sunroom, and separated from the front of the house and the street by the formal LR) as our main living area.
Now, our plan: We want to enlarge the kitchen to incorporate the present formal DR space. The result would be a 12' W x 31' D kitchen (with an island, peninsula, and some seating and/or casual/breakfast eating area at either or both ends) and the elimination of the present formal DR. Then, we plan to convert the formal LR to a formal DR, thereby eliminating the formal LR. I should point out here that we envision filling the 21' W x 14' D "new" formal DR with a DR table that can seat 12, a china cabinet/hutch, sideboard, etc., so filling that space should not be a problem. Also, if resale should ever be an issue, we believe this "new" formal DR could easily be used as a formal LR if desired (although, of course, at the loss of a formal DR).
Sorry for the length of this post...I got carried away a bit and likely gave you way too much information...but I would like to hear opinions about doing away with a formal LR when one has ample other living areas.