A major difference between a great room and a living room is the size. However, it’s hard to list the average size of a great room because that depends on the size of the house. The square footage of a great room should be in proportion with the rest of the home while still providing plenty of room for friends and family to convene and enjoy each other’s company.
Although a living room should also be sized to the rest of the house, when it comes to great room vs. living room, the great room will always be larger.
Whether you’re building or buying, the type of “primary living space” you choose for the interior of your new home is a major decision. The basic structure of western homes hasn’t changed much over the years – walls attached to a roof and floors make an effective shelter – but the layout of the rooms inside is constantly changing styles.
In the past, one of the main reasons for partitioning houses into separate rooms was to help with temperature regulation. Smaller rooms heat up more quickly because the walls contain the heat, and when a room was no longer being used, the source of heat would be removed or shut off to focus on occupied areas of the house. But with today’s more efficient and effective heating and cooling systems, dividing a house up is no longer necessary, which frees up our options when it comes to home floor plans.
With all of these options, how do you decide what you want your living space to look like? Many prefer the open floor plan that allows for a great room, but others enjoy having a more formal room to use when company is visiting – a living room.
First of all, what’s the difference between the two? And what kind of furniture is best for either option? Whether you’re thinking about adding a great room to your house, or just needing design ideas for a living room, here’s a quick guide to get you started.
Living Room Vs. Great Room
As mentioned before, the primary difference between the two is the level of casualness. Living rooms tend to be more formal and separate, with nicer, more stylish furniture and decor. They are generally for hosting important or less familiar guests. They’re considered a luxury because they’re meant to be a space that is always clean and ready for company – many times homeowners don’t allow kids or pets in them.
In contrast, great rooms are part of an open floor plan by design. They are generally more casual and meant to be used every day. The furniture is comfortable and inviting, the TV is often located here. A lot of times a great room flows off of the kitchen or dining room, allowing people to be in either “room” and still be part of the same space.
What is the Difference Between a Den and Family Room?
As the style of the modern day home continues to change, certain rooms and their specific names or labels are being swapped with one another or being misused—making things a little confusing. Now that you know the difference between a living room vs. great room, why not learn what differentiates a den and a family room?
What is a Den?
A den is a term that is used to describe a room in the home where hobbies and interests can be pursued in private. The standard size of a den is usually pretty small and rarely exceeds more than about 14 x 16 feet. The reason for the compact size of this room is its solitary purpose, where individuals can go to study or engage in a hobby without myriad distractions that would otherwise surround them in a different part of the house.
A few popular examples of a den would be a home office, a small study or library, a craft room, an art studio, or any other type of space where interests can be enjoyed in a private setting. If you’re the type of person who likes to retire with a good book or spend time alone building models, creating art, or other indoor hobbies, then a den is for you.
What is a Family Room?
It’s easy to guess the purpose of a family room given its name. A family room is a more open, communal space where the family can spend time with one another. These areas are typically far less formal than a living room or even a great room, and are used to provide a place of relaxation and entertainment for the family members who live in the home.
The furniture you choose to place in your family room should be comfortable and spacious. A deep-seated sectional and other furniture choices that provide ample seating are ideal for large families. The family room can provide a combination of entertainment and activities, such as a large TV or projector for movie marathons, a pool table, air hockey, or other indoor games and equipment, and shelves of DVDs and board games. A nice big coffee table also makes for a great addition, providing plenty of room for snacks, drinks, and games.
The objective of a family room is to create a space where the whole family can come together. So if you’re wondering what to put in your family room, focus on what your family enjoys doing with each other.
How Big is a Family Room?
The size of the family room also depends on the size of the family that lives in the home and the home itself. Because this area is intended to provide a communal place of enjoyment and relaxation where the whole family can feel comfortable, these rooms are usually designed to be quite spacious and large in proportion to the rest of the house.
To provide an open space, family rooms should have high ceilings and ample room for seating and entertainment. A good standard size for a family room is about 12 x 18 feet, which can comfortably fit a family of six to ten depending on furniture selections. While this is a good average to work with, feel free to customize your floor plan to your liking and your own family’s size and needs.If you feel that you’re working with limited space in your family room, there are a few affordable changes that you can make to help the area feel more open and comfortable. Brighten up a cramped, basement family room with sufficient lighting—and not the harsh artificial kind. Swap out that old, oversized, lumpy couch with high-legged furniture and limit the amount of end tables, coffee tables, ottomans, or other furniture pieces to reduce stuffiness. And lastly, you can make a huge difference by redesigning the room with a light and breezy color scheme.
Choosing the Right Furniture
It’s important to choose the right type of seating for your space. In a living room, you may want to steer clear of large items such as sectionals, as you are generally working with less square footage and a large sectional would shrink the room instantly. Instead, focus on small sofas and arm chairs. Furniture sets with high legs are great for helping the room feel more open and less stuffy. Use Google or Pinterest to get other design ideas for a living room.
When you’re choosing furniture for a great room, on the other hand, sectionals can actually come in handy for defining spatial boundaries. The back of a couch is a clear border between the kitchen and the family room, for example. A deep seated sectional tends to add to the coziness of a room, which is exactly what you want in a great room. Or if you have an open floor plan, but still a relatively small amount of square footage that you’re working with, look for a high-legged sectional to keep the room feeling open.
With complementary furniture, you can transform your great room or living room into an inviting space.