The look of elegant living room furniture gives a formal feeling in your home. This doesn't mean that you can't actually live in your living room. You just need to find a balance between your family and the design style that you like.
Add in rich colors. This is an easy way to decorate with formal living room furniture. You can still get the same practical couch that you are planning on just change its color. This means that you'll be able to get a fabric that is durable for your family such as a microsuede or leather but it will also have an expensive look to it. You could go with a deep chocolate brown if you want to play with neutral colors that still have personality. It will also help if your furniture has exposed wood legs to add more of an elegant touch to it. Remember that if the legs of your furniture are showing that you should also coordinate with any other trim or accent furniture in your room.
Formal living room furniture can still be comfortable. It doesn't just have to remind you of your grandmother's parlor. Instead, find overstuffed pieces with silk like fabrics. Some of these fabrics may even be easy to clean so you can still put your feet up. This is great if you have a family room/living room combination because you can get a rich look and still have usable space.
You might want to decorate with your existing furniture but purchase new pieces to get rid of the casual feeling on a budget. Then it might be tempting to bring in some accent chairs. These might be the pieces that the kids aren't allowed on so they can be decorated with an upholstered fabric to bring in pattern and formality to the room. Then you can really get back to the couch with throw pillows and blankets so everything coordinates and matches but still has a lot of interest to the space.
When you decorate with formal living room furniture you need to find a balance so the room doesn't seem too stuffy. This may be as simple as bringing in a pair of china vases shaped like dogs or lions for just a small touch of whimsy in your space. You can also give more of casual feeling to the room just by choosing a wall color that coordinates with your furniture for a subtle effect. This is as simple as choosing a soft robin eggs blue which has more of a natural feeling that will balance the elegant touches of your furniture.
Elegant living room furniture is all about the details. You should find furniture that have something a little special to it. This might be curved arms and backs or accent pieces. You can mix up the fabrics on your sofa and love seat so they look totally different but the pieces coordinate together. It also helps to focus in on metallic details, preferably in a gold which will be the height of luxury. Intricate carving or gold leafing really adds more of an elegant rich look to the piece. Glass coffee tables will also seem more elegant than more casual ottomans.