Even though spring officially begins in a month, we still have several more weeks of cold weather to endure. So I say let's embrace it and make the most of our family room! This is where memories are made! It's those little moments that happen while playing a game, watching a movie or just dancing around.
Whether you have a dedicated family room, or a living room that serves as your family headquarters, it's key to make this space the best that it can be. It should be super flexible, because our needs change season by season, year by year. To that end, here are my must-have family room items.
Usually a sofa is what's called for here. Comfort and durability are critical. Be sure to test drive your sofa and try to get the fabric stain guarded (or slipcovers also work)! To complement the sofa (and to add more seating) a nice comfy chair (or two) and ottoman are nice to have. Or you could always add a second sofa or love seat. Whatever you do, make sure you create a conversation area. There's nothing more uncomfortable than a room that only has a sofa for seating. It forces everyone to sit in a row. Not conducive to interaction! A favorite source for seating? Crate and Barrel. The quality is great for the price!
Poufs are nice for extra seating and they provide a nice place to put your feet.
Many clients ask whether they should get a sectional. I think some rooms are made for sectionals and some are NOT. It really depends on the layout of the space (including windows and doorways), and the size. Sectionals are tricky because they limit you and can overwhelm a room. I like sectionals in a room where there's a natural corner - a perfect place for an L shaped sofa. Or, sectionals can work in very large room. Just consider traffic flow. You don't want to set up road blocks. Below is an example of a sectional done right!
If we're going to make memories, the family room needs to have lots of games, books and toys handy. But everything should have a place, so storage is key. Here are some of my favorite storage pieces...
Oh how I love cube storage. The one below is from Land of Nod. You can outfit each compartment with a basket to maximize storage, or you can have some open for display and some with storage. Another favorite cube storage system is Ikea's Kallax.
A great storage basket that can serve as a coffee table from Ikea!
What's a family space without a TV? These days, many people are wall mounting their TVs but I have to tell you a pet peeve of mine when it comes to this: wall mounted with nothing underneath to ground it. It looks like a big, black, floating rectangle. Very unsettling. Put something under the TV. And whatever piece you use, it should be wider than the TV. Here's an example of a wall mounted TV anchored by a cool midcentury console.
Here's a super fun TV console made from salvaged pine.
No matter how young or old you are, whether you are single, with young kids or empty nesters, music is key! In my family room, I have a record player for when we want to feel like we're back in the 80s, and a Sonos speaker if we're in the mood for more something more current (or steaming radio from all around the world!).
I like to have something out for my family and guests to pick up and play with little effort. It might be backgammon, a puzzle or darts (magnetic please!) Even a stack of UNO cards or a basket filled with Trivial Pursuit questions.
A Quiet Corner
If you're lucky enough to have enough space to dedicate a corner to quiet reading, go for it. Critical here is a light for reading (either floor lamp or a table with a lamp). Whatever you do, don't rely on overhead lighting for reading.
If you have the room, I think it's always nice to have an activity table in a family room. It's great for doing homework, eating dinner in front of the TV, playing Legos or working on a puzzle. You could do round, square or rectangular depending on the space. Here's one that comes with three different leg heights so it's adjustable and super flexible depending on your needs!
That sums up what I think are the key ingredients to a fun and functional family room. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time,
I'm all about sharing ideas in home design, gardening and living so we can love our homes. I'm joined by my dog, Boomer, who is always by my side.