Although family rooms and finished basements have become the preferred areas for entertaining these days, many homes still have areas set aside for formal living rooms. If the idea of decorating a space that may only get used once or twice a year doesn't appeal to you, here are two things you can do to make the space more functional.
Adult Beverage Station
For people who entertain frequently or who just enjoy a good drink, turning the formal living room into an adult beverage station may be the best use of the space. Since the area typically sits near the front door of the home and across (or next to) the formal dining room, it makes it convenient for you and your guests to grab a drink before heading to other parts of the home and to refresh their drinks while eating dinner. If the area is large enough, you can even put in a butler station to hold extra supplies.
The other benefit of converting your formal living room into a wet bar is to minimize clutter in the kitchen. It can be immensely frustrating to have people traipsing through the kitchen grabbing drinks when you're still trying to get the food ready. Putting the bar in another area of the home will cut down on the kitchen traffic.
While you can have a wet bar and counters built in, it may be better to opt for a portable bar set if you're planning on selling the home in the near future. This will make it easier to convert the space back into a formal living room that future homebuyers may prefer.
Most homeowners prefer to put their game rooms in the basement, simply because there's more space to accommodate their needs and preferences. If your home doesn't have a basement or you're using the area for something else, you can still have the game room you desire. Simply put it in the formal living room area.
Formal living rooms tend to have a decent amount of space, so you should be able to put in a table and chairs for people to sit as well as shelves to house the various table games you own. And since the formal living room tends to be on the same level as the kitchen, it'll be easier to grab snacks and drinks for the players, not to mention the fact that the room will have windows that let in lots of natural light or let you enjoy the view while you bankrupt everyone else at Monopoly.
If you prefer not to hassle with a formal living room area, there are lots of homes that don't have this feature. Contact a real estate agent for assistance with finding the right house for you and your family.