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Interior Design

How to Create a Functional, Stylish Family Room

Interior design principles suggest that using inviting colors, smart furniture choices and easy organization solutions will fill a family room with style, comfort and function.

A well-designed family room can truly be the heart of the household—and is a must for casual home entertaining or movie night. But too often, the family room ends up feeling like either a formal parlor—stiff and uninviting—or a free-for-all kids’ playroom. Strike a balance by picking up some of these ideas for attractive, functional family rooms that look good and work hard for the families who live there. That way, you won’t have to cringe when a potential buyer on a home tour asks to pop into the family room—and you can even ask if they want to sit down and get comfortable while they envision their own future movie nights or informal family gatherings in the space.


Family room fusion

Balance family-friendly with sophistication by including plenty of color and chic patterns in your family room. Bright hues appeal to kids and adults alike, and a mix of patterns will give the space a designer vibe. Consider including outdoor fabrics, which are durable, or slipcovers, which are washable.






Furniture smarts

Open living spaces can promote family togetherness: Mom and Dad can work in the kitchen while kids hang out in the living area or do homework at the dining table. Keep these distinct areas unified by using the same colors throughout, while using furniture placement to divide the activity zones. This technique can even make a small kitchen look bigger—never a bad thing!





Family-friendly storage

Keep children’s items within easy reach. Use chests that can double as coffee tables for storing toys. Designate lower shelves for kids’ books and baskets for toys







Wash & wear

With washable slipcovers, your furniture will always look as good as new, no matter what spill or accident comes their way. Simply wash and replace, and no one will know that your 4-year-old spilled grape juice all over the cream-colored couch.







Employ a stool (or two!)

Add stools for a chic
way to keep extra seating on hand without visually weighing down a room. A matching set faces a sofa in this family room, completing the seating circle while leaving the view open to the space’s focal point—a fireplace bookended by two recessed shelving niches.






Embrace translucent silhouettes

Use transparent furnishings and accessories to provide functionality without visual weight. Two table lamps deliver needed task lighting to this family room, yet the glass bases virtually disappear, allowing the eye to focus on the kaleidoscope of patterned pillows instead. Plexiglass tables and consoles can offer the same hardworking see-through style.



Walkways & pathways

Pay attention to walking areas and traffic flow when placing furniture in your family room. Give kids plenty of space to play, and make it simple to get from room to room. In this family room, the sofa is placed away from the wall, making it easy to access the door and move through the space without cutting through the main conversation area.



Seating for all

Create a flexible family room by using a seating arrangement that is anchored by main pieces but still has plenty of corners and open spaces to pull up extra chairs. Here, chairs from the dining space can be easily placed next to the corners of the love seat for additional seating, while the pouf provides yet another seating source

101175451_300TV storage

Solve the problem of the black box by hiding your TV inside an armoire. Armoires can hide bulky tube TVs just as easily as flat panel TVs, along with the accompanying devices and DVDs. Plus, you can incorporate an armoire that suits your style and melds with the look of your space.

101349680_300Space to breathe

There’s something comforting about sitting in a room lined with books, but an overstuffed bookshelf can read as cluttered rather than cozy. The key to a shelving unit that attracts the eye: breathing room between objects. Follow the lead of this family room and arrange books on half of each shelf only. Use the other half to display collected treasures or framed pictures. Use books stacked horizontally to give petite objects a boost.