The Cleavers would be upset: the National Association of Home Builders purports that living rooms will become obsolete by 2015. The NAHB believes that “the living room will either vanish or merge with other spaces in the home.”
While it’s hard to believe that living rooms will ever truly vanish, modern lifestyles certainly don’t rely on formal living rooms for receiving and entertaining guests anymore. The living room is already merging with other rooms; the Great Room, which rose in popularity in the ’90s, combines the formal living room and family room (and sometimes dining room) into one large space.
Modern entertaining is a much more relaxed event, and this is surely a contributing factor to the demise of the formal living room. The kitchen and its adjacent rooms have become an important part of entertaining in the home as guests often join the host in the kitchen. It makes sense that home owners expect spaces that were formerly only utilized on holidays and special occasions to serve multiple purposes. Otherwise, it’s just another room to clean (at least that’s my take on it).