Transform an Unused Formal Living Room into a Functional Family Office

My client Laura came to me with a dilemma. She was moving in to a new house, and didn't know what to do with the very traditional and formal front room. Her family is busy, and all of them have work to do- which usually would just get piled on the kitchen table! Two teenage daughters and two working parents adds up to quite a bit of homework, laptops, and paperwork to organize!

We dug into the design challenge of transforming the traditional, formal "sitting room" in the front of the house into a (hard working) functional family office that is bright, welcoming, organized, and inspires creativity!

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The original room, like many formal sitting rooms, is directly off the front door and leads into the dining room. There are great windows facing the front yard along the long wall. Laura shared photos of the space with me, as well as photos of items she was considering using for the room after they moved in.

*SIDENOTE: Planning a room design before moving in to a new home can save you so much time and headache when it's actually time to move! You will have a plan and a place for things before you unpack, and will get to start enjoying the space that much sooner.*

The original room

This formal front room was being used as a formal living room and piano room before Laura and her family bought the house. With great lighting, nice hardwood floors, and a neutral paint color- furniture placement and functional pieces will make the greatest impact for the new homeowners. 

Laura's priorities for the room were to create 1) a welcoming space for the whole family, 2) an office workspace for her to use when she wants to work on her business closer to the family in evenings/weekends, and 3) a great space for her older children to work on homework (that is NOT the kitchen table!).  AND- to do all of this in a fresh style that reflects the energy of their active home.

Using existing items

Since the family was moving, Laura had plenty of flexibility when deciding which items to use in this room, and which things would need to be purchased new to complete the new design! 

 This cozy chair for reading and lounging would stay in the space.

This cozy chair for reading and lounging would stay in the space.

 This farmhouse style table with a bench was not needed for the dining room, and provides great workspace for the entire family.

This farmhouse style table with a bench was not needed for the dining room, and provides great workspace for the entire family.

 These desks are the perfect size for a homework station for busy students. 

These desks are the perfect size for a homework station for busy students. 

MoodBoard and Inspiration

When I'm starting a new client design project, I love using moodboard collages to get things rolling. Moodboards are a great tool to create a shared "language" through visuals that helps my client and me have productive conversations about the design of the space. 

For this office, Laura let me know that her favorite sources for her home are Pottery Barn, World Market, and (of course!) Target. She is drawn to cool greens and blues, and wanted the space to be inspiring and uplifting. 

The home has great hardwood floors, so the neutral furniture and interesting patterns of rugs and textiles would really create the personality of the room. 

I used Laura's photos of pieces we would use in the space to mix and match them with the new design ideas.

Floorplan and Furniture Layout

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This room needed to serve several functions. By using furniture to divide the room into smaller areas, the large space feels like more intimate work areas that have a defined purpose. Rugs also help define separate zones in the space.

I suggested using the corner of the room that is just inside the foyer as a sitting area to welcome guests into the home. Then, repurposing the dining table as a large workspace along the far wall prevents the large piece from crowding the room, and keeps walkways clear.  

The Big Reveal

 View from the from entrance, looking back into the dining room.

View from the from entrance, looking back into the dining room.

 The addition of a sofa and window treatments makes the room even more inviting.

The addition of a sofa and window treatments makes the room even more inviting.

 The blue chair and a floor lamp create a cozy corner for reading or studying.

The blue chair and a floor lamp create a cozy corner for reading or studying.

 Wouldn't you just love to do homework in this room?!?

Wouldn't you just love to do homework in this room?!?

What does Laura have to say about her new office?

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I LOVE how the room came out.  It is totally functional - we are all using it!
I truly enjoyed working with Alyssa in designing our front room - which was traditionally used as a formal living room.  As a family who spends most of their time in the kitchen and family room - I did not want to have a formal living room that would never get used.  I explained to Alyssa that I wanted a room that was completely functional for my family.  A room to read, do homework, work on projects or play a game or just sit and relax or talk.  Alyssa nailed the design!!  I was so excited with what she came up with.  She completely took into consideration everything I was looking for.  She incorporated furniture I already had.  She just "got it and me!"  She is so easy to work with, responsive, full of energy and ideas.  Working with each other from a distance  -  was no issue at all.  Probably even faster and easier than someone I would have had to meet with in person. With technology today - it totally worked for us.  I highly recommend Alyssa.  I cannot wait to do my next room with her!

Until next time, mamas-

xoxo,

Alyssa