Are You Lucky Enough to Have a Family Room?
If you are lucky enough to have a family room, then you are lucky enough! And even if you don’t have one, and you use your living room or another bonus room as such, here are some great ideas to maximize your space!
In the days of old, some homes had sitting rooms, parlors, “keeping rooms” or “hearth rooms.” When is the last time you toured a model home and saw one of those? I thought so.
Some homes today have a formal living room (which is rarely used, except for parties or for the Christmas tree.) And in addition, a family room is the room where the real action takes place. Most times, it is adjacent to or connected to the kitchen, so that snacks and drinks are readily accessible.
How Do You Use the Space?
Your first step in maximizing and organizing this space is to decide how the space is used:
A gathering spot for the family to watch Netflix and enjoy a bowl of popcorn
It’s a Vacation Rental/AirBnB or VRBO and will be the place your guests gather to unwind at the end of a busy day of sightseeing or skiing
It becomes a guest room during the holidays
A playroom for your toddlers
It’s where your kids practice the piano
A place for your morning coffee and catching up on the daily news or emails
The spot for your teenagers to hang out and play video games or board games
The perfect place for doing your daily yoga routine
It has a cozy corner, perfect for curling up with a good mystery
It’s where you entertain your bridge club, or to have some friends over to watch the big game
Your room’s purpose(s) will determine what you need to have stored, how much lighting you will need, and the need for recliners, sofa beds, and other specialty types of furniture.
Write down all they ways this room will be used, and create a list of any furniture you may need.
Plan the Space
Take a sheet of paper and make a rough map of the room. Include windows, doors, electrical outlets, fireplace, and heating/air conditioning. Now, add in the overhead lighting.
Using the information you gathered above when deciding on the room’s activities, sketch in the areas for the various activities. A pub table here for games; the piano goes there; a seating arrangement goes here; the entertainment area needs to go over there. Do you need an area rug?
Do you have too much furniture in the room already? Remove it. Do you need to purchase a comfortable pull out sofa and a large storage ottoman that can double as a coffee table while storing your chunky knit afghan?
Do you need a folding card table, as well as a place to store it? Do you need cubbies for the kids’ toys, or would love to have some bookcases on either side of the fireplace to create a mini office?
It’s time to make that shopping list for the room, along with a budget you are comfortable with. Do you want IKEA shelves and furniture, or are you more of a Pottery Barn person? Start pricing things out so you can create a realistic budget.
And don’t forget about using items that you already own in other parts of the house. Would it make more sense to have that old dresser in the basement to be re-purposed as a console in the family room, to store your board games?
For a truly curated look, you can also try consignment stores that carry higher-end furniture and accessories. You might find the perfect wine table to put next to your favorite reading chair. Add a lamp, and you have your cozy reading corner!
Hopefully, you have enlisted the input of your family in planning the room (yes, even your toddler, because they will be more apt to clean up their toys if you ask them what colors the cubbies should be.)
Begin with some online research, including Craigslist or Facebook groups that list furniture for sale. You can do this affordably.
And remember, this will be one of the most used rooms in the house, so things will get used and abused (shoes on coffee tables and dogs on furniture.) And you won’t fret when things get a little abused and you haven’t paid a king’s ransom for them.
If there is a section of the room where you want to treat yourself (say, that reading nook), go ahead and buy something new and beautiful. You will most likely be the only one using it, and it will be gently used.
Add in some durable accent pillows (I like to use pillow inserts and indoor outdoor pillow covers—they wear like iron and are washable.)
Finally, add in some artwork or some of your own photography (including family photos), and you are well on your way to creating a beautiful, relaxing, and organized family room.
Creating the Family Room that your family and guests will love is not a complicated process.
You just need to use the space wisely (think in terms of a Kindergarten classroom) with enough storage options to keep things tidy and organized.
How do you use your family room?
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