According to the Random House dictionary, the term “family room” originated in the 1850s and is defined as a room in a house used as a center for family activities. As the busiest room and a gathering spot in your house for those you love, you must consider the function of this room when looking for family room decorating ideas. No matter what your decorating style, whether it is traditional, modern, country, or contemporary, it is function and comfort which will set the tone for the family room and the time you spend there. It is a room for children and adults alike and a room in which you spend much of your time when at home. There is a huge potential for the room to be clutter and unbalanced, but with careful consideration of the room’s purpose and the family’s style, a successful design can be accomplished.
Decorating Ideas – Family Room: Focal Point
Figure out what you would like to be your focal point. How do you use the room? If your family room is used primarily for watching movies then making your entertainment unit your focal point would be appropriate. You could even go so far as to use a media room or movie theme when decorating your family room. Themes are a great family room decorating idea.
If your family likes to play board games, construct puzzles or just chat then make sure you have an area for that – a generous coffee table would be appropriate for this purpose. Your fireplace might then be the focal point for your room and the furniture should be placed accordingly. If the room will be used for different purposes at the same time, for instance, games and movie watching, try to define a separate area for game playing so the two groups can utilize the room at the same time.
Decorating Ideas – Family Room: Storage
The likelihood of having toys, electronic gaming equipment, books, DVDs, and music all in the same room is high. Make sure you have adequate storage to keep clutter to a minimum. Custom built-ins are fantastic but if your budget does not afford this, look to prefabricated entertainment units and book cases. Often less expensive units are predominantly constructed with open shelves. Think about using baskets on the shelves. Not only will it keep you organized it will keep your shelves looking tidy and clean so as to not distract from the decorative treasures you have chosen to represent your family and it’s style. If you would like to add an unexpected twist to your décor, try painting the back wall of the shelving units a bright colour or different colours for each shelf. This family room decorating idea is sure to bring life to the room and the colourful back drop will create lovely vignettes for displaying your family treasures and decorative items.
Decorating Ideas – Family Room: Artwork
One of my favourite family room decorating ideas is to provide your children with a place to display their art work. Designate a shelf or an area of a wall to your child’s art work. You could paint a rectangle on the wall in a contrasting colour to define the space and allow your children to decide which pieces they will show. The artwork can be changed as often as they see fit. Let your children curate their own gallery. It gives them their own display area and allows you to keep the rest of your walls and appliances relatively free and clear of paper clutter.
Pictures of your family are lovely and an easy way to add warmth to your family room. Whether you chose to line your mantel with snaps of family, place pictures in on shelves or hang a rogues gallery, you should try to include family pictures in your décor. If, however, you are short on wall space and that flat screen TV is your focal point why not load a USB key with family photos and show as slide show on your TV. This is a great option to display pictures even while entertaining.
Decorating Ideas – Family Room: Seating
This is not a place for pristine white furniture or formal seating. Don’t misunderstand; white furniture can be used in a family room, but odds are it only work if you are either very neat and/or have no children. This is a place for family time and comfort. When decorating a family room you must keep this in mind be aware of how you will use the room and who will be using it (and yes Uncle Mike is just as likely to spill the red wine as little Bobby is to spill the grape juice). Keeping that in mind, leather seating is a great option as spills are easily wiped up and it is quite durable. If you prefer upholstered furniture consider using slip covers if you have young children. Aside from protecting your upholstery, using slip covers also gives you the opportunity to freshen up the look of a room when seasons change. You could use a lighter slip cover for spring and summer and change to deeper tones for fall and winter.
When thinking about furniture, think big. The suggestion is not that you crowd your space but rather get the biggest comfy pieces you can while working within the scale of the room. Let’s face it, whether you are watching a romantic chick flick by yourself, while eating ice-cream straight out of the carton, or watching a suspenseful thriller while cuddling with your spouse and kids, you will want large, comfy furniture so you can either spread out or cuddle close without hanging off the edge of the sofa. Note: Do not skimp on furniture here. While you might think that buying cheap/inexpensive furniture will do fine here, think again. This room is likely to get the most wear, tear and traffic of any of the rooms in your house so quality is a must. You don’t have to be extravagant but opt for quality or you will be replacing that furniture sooner that you wish.
Decorating a family room can present many challenges with the plethora of activities planned for the space as well as the cast of characters involved. Just as in any family, you must find balance. Carefully considering the main functions of the room and creating a focal point are the first steps. Use your imagination and let your family inspire you when defining your style for this busy room. Any family room decorating ideas which showcase your family while maintaining a comfortable place to gather are sure create a successful space.