The family room is where the best conversations happen. Where movie night and popcorn go together. And where relaxing and rejuvenating are on the daily to-do list. Since it’s a casual space, however, it’s easy for the family room to become a hodge-podge of leftover furniture and decorating ideas. Make time to design the right atmosphere, and you’ll be rewarded with a place that sets the stage for memories.
Take a second look at your family room. Does it have these five things that every family room needs?
1. An inviting seating area. This isn’t the place for antique wooden chairs that make you sit up straight. Enjoy your downtime by choosing cushioned sofas and overstuffed armchairs. You can combine a sofa with two armchairs or a loveseat or bring in an oversized sectional, but be sure to include a cocktail table or ottoman that will encourage snacking, games and putting up your feet. Create a sense of intimacy by placing furnishings relatively close together, but be sure to provide a nice flow for traffic. If you have a focal point in your room – such as a fireplace or media center – group your seating area around it.
2. A media center. Family rooms are for watching movies, televisions or the video you shot on vacation. Be sure you have a place for viewing them all. A media center will let you set up a television and any other components you need. Measure your space, your television and your electronics before you pick the perfect console. Many media centers also provide storage for DVDs, CDs, and video game equipment. In a variety of styles, it’s easy to find a unit that fits your décor.
3. Light! Every room deserves good lighting, and that should include a mix of task, ambient and overhead lights. Start with overhead fixtures, which are often already built in, then add more lights like you would add layers. Consider a floor lamp near your reading chair or sofa. And incorporate ambient, or mood, lighting in corners to create an inviting space at night.
4. A rug. A family room should be comfortable and that means choosing furnishings and accents that provide soft finishes. By using a rug, you’ll add warmth and you can define certain areas. Rugs also inject color and pattern to a space. Finally, rugs – especially those with patterns – can hide the stains and spills that often happen when the family gathers.
5. Something fun. The family room isn’t the place to be formal; it should include a sense of fun. Add a casual element by including candid family photos. Choose bright or bold patterns for your rug, throw pillows or wall paint. Or set up a chess set or Scrabble board and encourage impromptu games. This is the room for your family’s personality to shine. Go for it!