Steal These 8 Doable Tips From Real Family Rooms

published Dec 18, 2021
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Credit: Monica Chavez

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The family room has taken on a whole new meaning over the last year and a half, and many have probably seen a lotta lot more family time than ever before. That makes it that much more important to have a space that’s homey and happy. And there’s SO much you can do in those four walls to create an inviting environment that just begs for lingering and lounging. We scoured the internet to bring you 8 inspiring spaces that may spark ideas your own family room to make it the kind of place where you want to hang out (whether or not we head into another shelter in place era). 

Take the most iconic design elements from your location — and lean hard into the details

What happens when you lean alllllll the way into a location-specific aesthetic? If you’re blogger Ashley Wilson and you live in a bungalow in Florida, you get the most exuberant, pastel-toned whimsy imaginable. This girly-glam space for the fun-loving family of three is a wonderland of rainbow tones and joyful, Florida-specific touches like flamingos and palm trees. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into a storybook.

The moral of this story? Let your family room (and home!) reflect your family, your location, and your interests, and it will oh so easily become the place where you’re happiest. If you live near the sea, try some light design details like this subtle flamingo wallpaper. Inspired by your Southwest vistas? Lean into warm, sunset tones and mountain-scapes, or even a large blue cactus print. Thematic touches don’t always equal kitsch, we promise! — sometimes it’s just the thing to tie a home to its community. 

See Ashley’s full home tour here.

Let the family room serve multiple functions

Sometimes family rooms do double or triple duty. Shamika of Maximizing Tiny shows just how to squeeze as much functionality as possible out of a small family room that also serves as a dining room (and playroom!) in her super cute (and wee) rental apartment. Prioritizing simplicity and coziness, she created a deliciously livable space for the whole family. The soothing neutrals combine beautifully with some boho touches to give the whole room calm yet artful character.

Shamika says, “Determined to make my space work for me, I did away with the ‘rules’ and did what served my needs.” It’s about knowing what you need to make a space work for your own family — and throwing all rules out the window. 

See Shamika’s full home tour here.

Add seating zones for together-but-independent family time

Family rooms might be the space for everyone to gather, but look, sometimes we still want to be doing our own thing. In this calming room by Turrett Collaborative, seating “zones” give everyone the opportunity to be together and have their own space. Lounge on the cushions flanking the fireplace, pull up a chair for a board game, or kick back on the couches to veg out with Netflix; a room with a variety of seats like this could be the ticket to thriving during, shall we say, extended together time?

If you’re working with a small space and still want to fit in a lot of seating, go for furniture that has clean lines and a neutral scheme. Floor cushions and tufted ottomans can also provide seating without taking up much space — and they can easily be tucked into corners, too.

Speaking of seating: multi-tiered ottomans are key for flexible storage options

Credit: Greg Powers

This soothing room by Tracy Morris Design is so much more than the sum of its calming, neutral-hued parts. They’ve maximized their seating space while keeping the room balanced. Clever touches like those chairs on swivels mean family members can participate from all angles, and the large ottoman can double as a coffee table or extra seating. Check out the big trays under the ottoman too — those can easily transform into extra tabletops for family movie nights. And because everything is done in neutral tones, the room looks cohesive and provides a serene backdrop for the toys that will inevitably take over.

An epic library can come together with the help of IKEA — really!

Credit: Monica Chavez

This is one of those picture-says-a-thousand-words scenes … literally. The two-story home library in the family room of blogger Monica Chavez is a testament to prioritizing your dream for your home. For her, that meant buying a house where an epic library would be possible, and dedicating two years to building it. The result is (no surprise) her favorite room in the house, a TV-free zone where the family gathers, plays, and of course reads. It doesn’t have to be a wall-to-wall feature like this; we just love seeing how rewarding it is to commit to making a dream reality. If you want the look of built-ins, try the ever popular IKEA Billy bookcase hack for an affordable, relatively quick statement wall (or corner).

See Monica’s full home tour here.

Keep the toys contained with a cool, low credenza

This lovely, fresh, white room from Curated Nest is a good reminder that families gather to, you know, be together. Whether that’s on movie night with a large screen TV, or to spread out on the comfy rug with toys, it’s key to have a place that invites activities. That doesn’t mean, however, that you want to see all the bits and bobs that come along, so we love the stylish credenza with the out-of-sight toy storage. The low height of the credenza also allows the room to feel more open and welcoming. (Also, how wonderful is that sense of being almost outside thanks to the window-lined walls!?) We’re definitely stealing the hidden storage idea. Add a bit of greenery and a cozy throw, and you’re set for a weeknight in.

Colorful textiles not only look inviting — they hide stains!

Becca Crawford and her family live in this gorgeous brownstone with high ceilings and the most charming pre-war details. The afternoon light just streams into their family room, which is filled with toys and texture, from the tan sheepskin throw to Kilim throw pillows and sweet rocking horse. About her love of pattern, Becca says, “Textiles are an obsession of mine, and I’m drawn to wild color and interesting patterns. However, I like to temper it with white walls and lots of neutrals to keep the overall vibe bright and airy.” She strikes this balance perfect in this family room that feels stylish and so utterly, delightfully lived in.

The best thing about tons of pattern and texture? It hides a multitude of sins, like crayon streaks or wear-and-tear from intense fort-building. About her post-child style, Becca says, “I now care less about what everything looks like in our apartment, and more about the feelings our apartment evokes. I want our home to feel playful, relaxed, and happy.”

See Becca’s full home tour here.

Think vintage rugs for stress-free cleaning

When families include dogs, like the two in my house, all hardwood all the time isn’t the best move. Neither is buying new rugs to worry about (if you have dogs you know where they go anytime they have upset tummies!). The solution in our family room? A well-worn vintage rug that came with bare spots and signs of love already baked in. In a Victorian like this, it would be easy for the former parlor to look too formal, so the old rug makes the room friendlier … and more dog-and-kid-friendly. Think pre-loved for instant atmosphere (and less fretting).