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8 Family Room Decorating Ideas From The ExpertsBuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

Reading Time: 4 minutes Amanda Greaves Planning an interior design for a family room; where do you start? Here are 8 pointers directly from expert interior designers to help you take the first step. *** Whether you gather together to watch the big game or have a quiet night of family […]

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Amanda Greaves_tidecrest

Amanda Greaves

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Planning an interior design for a family room; where do you start? Here are 8 pointers directly from expert interior designers to help you take the first step.


Whether you gather together to watch the big game or have a quiet night of family fun, the family room is where you spend the most time gathering with friends and loved ones. It is where you make memories that all will cherish for years to come.

With a room that is used so often, and is the hub of your daily life, you want to make sure it is both beautiful and well-suited to your family’s lifestyle. We know it can be overwhelming and sometimes intimidating to think about making over your living room. Do you hire a designer, or do it yourself? Where do you start? To ease your mind and get you inspired, we’ve gathered some expert tips from some of the top designers in Dallas and Boston.

1. Be realistic

ruthie_decrenew interiorsRuthie Staalsen 
Any design project does not look as easy as it does on HGTV. Be realistic about the design process. It will interrupt family life and will be an inconvenience. Try to choose a time where life is not as hectic for your family, if there is such a time?

Big projects can be stressful and you can expect that there WILL be delays and hiccups. However, remodeling or decorating a family or living room CAN and SHOULD be fun! Hire a designer that can calm you in the storm and has a team that makes the process an enjoyable one.

2. Prepare a budget

Elizabeth Benedict_K8B3844Elizabeth Benedict
When undertaking any design project, you should have a very clear sense of your budget and what the scope is. So often clients do not understand the costs associated not only with what it takes to fill a space, but also the value of hiring a professional to put together the space.

If you look at a living room that you love on sites like Houzz or Pinterest, you can get a sense for what it takes to fill that room. This is a great way to start a shopping list for your space and also give your designer some ideas of what you’re looking for by way of style.

3. Understand the space

Amanda Greaves 
When redesigning the main living areas of your home, one must consider how these areas are utilized on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. I would ask how they use the spaces, whether they be casual, formal, or a combination of both, and design around that. “Family” takes on a new definition these days to include household pets (dogs, cats, birds, fish, etc.), and we want to ensure what we select for finishes and furnishings take into consideration all of the members of the family, and how they use the spaces.

I ask questions to find out what my clients are looking for, because often they don’t know – they just know they want something different. These questions are based on lifestyles, organization techniques, current living situations, and perceived notions of what they want. They can answer these questions with honesty, by showing me images of what they are hoping to accomplish, and sharing their ideas and fears, to ensure I understand what they are looking to do.

4. Collect photos of living rooms you love

Barbara_AAA_6105Barbara Gilbert
The best way for a client to relate their desires to an interior designer is to share pictures of living rooms/family rooms they love. If there is something in the photo they dislike they should be explicit about that too. It’s important for both spouses to create idea books independent of one another so the designer can find a “happy medium” for both!

5. Create a layout

Abbe_IMG_8919Abbe Fenimore
First, it is important to understand who will be using the room and how the room will be used. Creating a layout and space plan that allows you to move around the space easily and have access to the TV and extra seating is always a priority in a busy family room.

Upholster your furniture in fabrics that will be stain resistant to pets, spills and dirty hands to keep the room looking fresh and clean. Once you have the best layout for the room, layer the space with a rug that ties it all together and use art, pillows and accessories to add color, pattern and texture to the space.

Don’t forget the windows. If your room has a strong glare, make sure to incorporate shades or drapery panels that close to make TV watching easier!

6. Don’t be afraid of color

Baker-12Linda Baker
Be reasonable with budget and give yourself the best chance in the budget to truly accomplish all you want for your space.

Don’t be afraid of color, even if it is in pops of accents. Color can really dramatically change the dynamics of the space and allow you to enjoy it to a much larger degree. Make sure you finish with well appointed accessories. This is the piece of jewelry on your canvas.

7. Add some texture

Tiffany LeBlancTiffany LeBlanc 11 14 livingrm 1
Really think about how you want to use and feel in the room, another consideration is scale of furniture, comfort, ambiance. Does the room need family friendly finishes? We love working with texture, I always look for way to layer in multiple textures Ie. grasscloth wallpaper, sisal rug with an overlay hide rug or hand knotted rug, fur throws.

The best way for a client to relay their desires to us is in the interview process. Walking through their home and seeing what they like and don’t like about their current space always helps to clarify their expectation. We ask a lot of questions to gain an understanding of the clients hopes and dreams. We also use websites like Houzz where a client can save a design board for each room they would like to have designed. Magazine clippings are also another tool we’ve used in the past.

8. Be open to change

kristen_rivoli-living-roomKristen Rivoli
I always ask my clients how they’d like to live in the room, not how they currently use the room because if they’re calling me, they usually are looking for a change to make the room better.

I want to know what activities take place in the room, I also ask what colors they love or don’t want to see so that I can provide the most functional yet beautiful space for them. Doing that requires selecting furniture that’s the right scale and proportion for the space and then incorporating the clients’ personal treasures to make it feel warm & comfortable.

What suggestions do you plan to utilize in your own family room? Do you have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!


Amanda Miller

Amanda Miller’s posts round up the best designers, the best personalities to follow for home improvement, the best ideas for home decor, and more.

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